Bartender Q&A with Maurice Aalbers of The Gyros Club
How did you get into bartending?
Well, since I was 15 years old I've worked in hospitality. I thought I wanted to work in restaurants for a short period; the more I learned about the hospitality, the more I started to like it. So when I was 17 years old I started to do a business study course for restaurants and horeca. When I finished the studying, I only really was interested in mixology and bartending. I really wanted to learn everything about spirits and making cocktails. When I was 20 years old I decided to do a bartender study in Thailand for a month (EBS). Since than I never wanted to do anything else. Have you always had an interest in cocktails and mixology, or did that come as a result of working in bars? In the beginning it was way different than it is now. I went to Curacao and Mallorca and worked in cocktail bars and beach clubs. That was more making simple classic cocktails and more based on quantity. But from the moment I worked with Dimi Mourtzakis, I really started learning about ‘mixology’ and next level bartending. I've worked with him for the past three years – I think I will never stop learning from Dimi. What are your thoughts on how the cocktail scene in The Hague has grown over the past couple of years? Since The Five Points opened in The Hague, there have been more cocktail bars in starting up in The Hague. Before it was all mediocre kind of bars, or classic cocktail menus in restaurants. Some hotel bars were okay but people like me don't go to a hotel to drink a cocktail. Now we have plenty of professional cocktail bars. I hope there will be even more cocktail bars opening in the city with more like a party atmosphere, rather than speakeasy. Who are your cocktail/bartending heroes? I really like Japanese-style cocktail bartenders. Kayama-san is my all time favorite. With his way of making cocktails and the decoration of his bar. Its amazing. If you could only choose one liquor type then what would it be and why? That's a tough one. I really am a rum drinker but I can never refuse a good mezcal or tequila. Even cognac is in my top three. If i really have to choose, it will be Diplomatico Reserva Exclusivia rum. What is your personal all-time favourite cocktail, and why?
I have eight cocktails that are really close favorites. It really depends how I feel at the time. But my all-time favourite is a Mint Julep made with a good bourbon. Why? Because I like bourbon in combination with the mint. This kind of cocktail is heaven to me. Can you share a really simple cocktail recipe that people can make at home using ingredients from the supermarket or local liquor store?
That will be a home made Paloma cocktail. You will need: 30 ml of Mezcal 30 ml of Italicus 1 fresh pomelo Half a lime 10 ml of simple syrop Pinch of salt Shake it and strain over ice!
The Gyros Club, Grote Markt 1, 2511 BG Den Haag | 070 212 4285 | www.thegyrosclub.nl