”A Bartender´s beauty is in his moves, in the way he struts his stuff, in the field of rhythms that is set up in the orchestrated hatching of a large order of Drinks.” Cihan Anadologlu
It seems that the UAE is a popular place for visiting International chefs and mixologists to demonstrate their talents to welcoming and attentive audiences. The latest creative mover and shaker to take up temporary residence on our shores was Cihan Anadologlu, master mixologist to the stars.
After showcasing his cocktails at The Balcony Bar in the Shangri-la, Dubai, Anadologlu made his way down the E11 to Abu Dhabi to exhibit his skills at the fabulous P&C bar at the Shangri-La here in the capital. P&C, the two-storey standalone restaurant and bar is always a favourite of mine, a haunt that myself and the other half return to regularly. The open air rooftop gin bar and chic lounge is trendy yet comfortable, the views from the low level white leather seating are stunning, it’s a great place to take visitors at night to see views across the Khor Maqta waterfront and the Sheikh Grand Mosque lit up in all its glory. The purple glow around the centralised circular bar adds to the contemporary feel (not ideal for taking good photos though), a cool venue that attracts different DJs and the party crowd every night of the week.
I was invited to meet the man himself and sample some of his innovative, some may say extraordinary creations. As a consultant for Shangri-La Hotels, Anadologlu refashions his creations to embrace his location and local culture so we enjoyed some Arabian inspired beverages, starting the evening with the Abu Dhabi Mule, vodka mixed with piquant homemade ginger beer, date champagne, dehydrated fruit and celery served in dainty lead crystal stemmed glasses.
The second cocktail to tickle our tastebuds was the Fly To Arabia, a blend of cognac, port, red wine, Arabic coffee, vanilla and chocolate served in an authentic long wooden handled copper Turkish Coffee pot topped with burnt coffee beans, not only did it look amazing but it’s aroma and strong flavours were incredible, reminiscent of a shot of espresso, certainly different to anything else I had ever tasted.
Next up was a Sexy Coloda, Anadologlu’s take on the original Pina Colada but his version combined the standard rum with brown butter, banana, milk, marone, coconut and sea salt, this was my favourite cocktail of the night, strong and salty with a real banana flavour, just delicious but not a crowd favourite around the table. We also tried a Cigars & Drinks a combination of mezcal, plum, apple, honey topped with grilled citrus fruit and pieces of cigar garnished with a dripping wooden honey swizzle stick, an unusual pairing that was just a tad too smoky in flavour for me.
There were two additional cocktails, Old Arab (rye whiskey, sesame, bitters, dates, orange blossom and absinthe) and Dessert Arabic Style (gin, rum, cacao beans, amaro, tonka beans, cream and maple syrup) which we didn’t try due to time constraints. The cocktails were accompanied by gourmet tapas (Pica-Pica) from the P&C Mediterranean inspired menu designed by Spanish two Michelin starred chef Sergi Arola that included asparagus tips with mayo, mini Spanish omelettes topped with tiny quail egg yolks, seafood paella and a delicious fruity cheesecake served in small glass jars.
The internationally renowned and media savvy Anadologlu has a reputation for crafting exotic and complex cocktails. His attention to detail was obvious in every concoction we sampled, each ingredient had been dried, mixed, stirred, drizzled or even set alight by Anadologlu himself. We were informed that on arrival in the capital he confined himself to kitchen for six hours preparing his garnishes and mixers, including the already homemade ginger beer. Unusually for a mixologist he was dressed in embroidered chef whites, more testimony to his dedication to his creations and the preparation that goes into them. He was flamboyant and passionate in his preparation style, it was exciting to watch his flair in creating his masterpieces and of course taste the finished drinks.
Anadologlu has over fifteen years bartending experience gained working in establishments in New York, Hong Kong and London and as head barman of the well-respected Schumann’s Bar in Munich, Germany for four years where he gained various awards and titles. In 2013 he won the prestigious Barcardi Grey Goose Global 10 competition at the home of Grey Goose in Cognac, France beating thirteen other international bartenders for the title. His prize was designing the signature cocktail for the illustrious Oscars Ceremony in 2014, flying to LA for the event and receiving an engraved titanium cocktail shaker. His aromatic American Cherie, a fusion of Grey Goose Vodka, fresh pressed lime juice, green grapes, dried lavender and honey syrup garnished with dried lavender was enjoyed by the A-list celebrities at the acclaimed Hollywood event.
Anadologlu is a busy and charismatic man, as well as his role as a member of various international organisations such as the committee who decide the World’s 50 Best Bars, he is a consultant to the Shangri-la hotel chain showcasing his unique art of mixology on a global scale, has appeared on TV and radio, worked with many prestigious brands including Prada, Chanel and Maserati and more recently fulfilled a dream, opening his own first bar in Munich, Circle by Cihan Anadologlu.
In creating Circle, Anadologlu has pushed the boundaries of the regular bar and the mixology experience it offers. As the first members-only bar in Munich he presents his vision and passion, an exclusive opportunity to be part of something extraordinary but it comes at a cost with annual memberships starting at nine hundred euros and rising to a whopping twenty-five thousand euros. This intimate bar of just thirty-five seats (if it’s full, members are refused entry) has a strict policy of no standing, no shots, no deferring from the menu and attention to detail is everything even down to the meticulous crushing of ice from a block instead of using regular cubes. In his travels around the globe Anadologlu was continually impressed by the imagination and innovation of female bartenders he encountered, so he recruited them to work with him at Circle, adding to the overall glamour and buzz of the venue.
He proudly shared photos of his Circle Bar mixology creations with us, his very own S*x on the Beach with vodka, verjus (pressed unripe grapes), bitters, an edible beach, cocktail umbrella and pomegranate filled contraceptive (I kid you not, check his Instagram). The Grasshopper, a mix of gin, fermented herbs and cacao that has a real gin-soaked grasshopper atop and Earth, one of the Four Elements cocktails, a visual forest delight that embraces gin, pine needles, shiitake, truffle, vermouth and barolo wine.Anadologlu may have only been in the capital for a few days but he certainly made an impact, the good news for those who missed him on this visit is that his future plans include opening a bar in the UAE. If anyone is in London this summer they can check out his new bar opening in Marylebone, I’ve added it to my to-do list as long as it’s not members only of course.
Location: First floor above P&C by Sergi Arola restaurant, Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri
Telephone: 02 509 8777
Operating Hours: Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday: 6pm – 3am, Wednesday and Thursday: 6pm – 3am, Friday: 4pm – 3am
I was invited to this event. All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. First photo and Circle logo photo used courtesy of www.cihananadologlu.com