This mixologist maestro knows his way around the Belgian beer catalogue and isn’t afraid to put his reputation on the line promising to convert you to his world of Chambord inspired cocktails. Pierre talks to us about what makes Brussels so special, why The Hotel is the only choice for cocktails in the city, and how to always get the barman’s attention when you’re trying to order a drink.
I learnt under Nicolas Everrard (a previous Best Barman in Belgium winner, and creator of some of the city’s most loved cocktails) and he helped me fall in love with this profession. My goal under Nicolas, and still today at The Bar is to be the best barman in the city and create cocktails that convert even the most sceptical drinker.
As the European capital, it attracts a lot of visitors and has a mix of many different cultures in a small city. While many people only think of Brussels as a business and government destination, it has global appeal, so working and living here is an opportunity to meet people from all around the world.
When people think of beer, Belgium is one of the first places that comes to mind. (So much so that UNESCO officially inscribed Belgian Beer Culture on their list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity and with almost 1500 types of beer produced in the country, many with their own unique glasses, it’s no surprise). There are so many different variations, from light summery easy-drinking to dark potent ones that you’ll remember (or maybe not) the morning after. More recently, Belgium has become more famous for their love of whisky as well as distilling and blending to create world-class drinks.
More than anything it is the quality of service, that’s what is most important. We share our passion in every glass. I love what I do, and customers can feel it when they get their first sip. And while I specialise in cocktail creations, The Bar has added a selection of hand-picked beers to the menu, making it, in my opinion, the most valuable bar in the city for a complete Belgian bar experience.
It has to be Chambord. At only 16% it is not as potent as many liqueurs but offers a depth of flavour that makes it very easy to mix. Some customers come in unconvinced about Chambord, but even if you swear you don’t like it, I can change your mind by mixing the best cocktail you’ve ever tasted.
A VIEW FROM THE TOP
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Spending so much time with cocktails at The Bar, means I tend to choose the simpler one-ingredient drinks when I go home. And my one rule of drinking is, I never drink alone. A glass of rum, two ice cubes and conversations with my girlfriend, is the best kind of at-home drinking.
Despite what the name suggests, The Black Russian is actually a classic Belgian cocktail. Created in 1949, it’s a strong mix of vodka and coffee liqueur on the rocks. One of my personal favourites though is Red Sky. A mix of whisky, Chambord, port, violet syrup, cranberry juice and lemon zest. Visit us at The Bar see how it’s prepared by its creator and you’ll definitely come back again.
Smile! Not only will it help you get noticed, but it makes the bar team happy to see smiling customers.