I only met Cihan recently at Munich’s iconic Schumann’s Bar, which was opened in 1982 by international bartending and fashion icon Charles Schumann. I was taken aback by the overtly warm hospitality of all the staff, from the owner – who is always a presence on the floor, behind the bar and in the kitchen – down to all the bartenders. Cihan is the current head bartender at this venerable establishment and so I invited to him to answer a few of my silly questions below.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST BAR YOU EVER WORKED IN? TELL US ABOUT IT
After my career of becoming a professional basketball player ended, I decided to move to New York to start doing an apprenticeship at the Four Seasons Hotel for a few months. My first department was the bar and up until now that passion has never stopped. After a hospitality education at the Mandarin Oriental Group and management trainee programs, I started bartending at some places in London and Hong Kong. I started my career when I was 18 years old. It was really not easy for me to be as a young guy in these huge cities trying to learn bartending but I had great mentors and good teachers who made me what I am today.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW? WHAT’S NEW & EXCITING IN THE DRINKS WORLD OF CIHAN ANADOLOGLU?
It’s now been almost three and half years since I became the head bartender at Schumann’s. Right now I have several projects I am working on. I am creating new recipes for spirits companies and also I am working with Michelin star chefs around the world on a new style of cocktails. Recently I did the Amazonas Daiquiri (pictured below) using ants which [chef] Alex Atala from the famous DOM Restaurant in Sao Paolo brought me. Also I will continue my program of guest bartending around the world and there are exciting new venues which everybody will see next year. Also my first book is getting published next year and it is not about recipes.
WHO ARE THREE OF THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE INFLUENCED & INSPIRED YOU ALONG THE WAY? WHY?
First of course it was Charles Schumann. He has given me so much inspiration and energy that I can work every single day on new ideas and travel around the world. He has a unique style of leading the bar. Also he is a 73 years old boxer so it keeps us fit using the kitchen as the boxing ring.
Mauro Mahjoub is the owner of the Mauro’s Negroni Club here in Munich and a good friend who has given me so many details about the important aspects of bartending and introduced me to so many people around the world. He is a legend and a walking encyclopedia of cocktails.
Christophe Mares was one of my General Managers at the Mandarin Oriental Group. I remember one night when the bar was full and he came to the back office took his suit off and started cleaning the glasses. I will never forget him. Now he is one of the highest paid CEOs in a luxury hotel group.
WHAT DO YOU DRINK WHEN . . . .?
Before dinner: Jacques Selosse Champagne or Nikka whiskey on the rocks
You finish a long shift: Geranium gin and Fever Tree tonic
On a lazy Sunday afternoon: Ice cold bottle of a local craft beer, like Crew Republic
When you’re in a contemplative mood: Glenmorangie Signet
When you can’t be bothered deciding: Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned
When the sun is beating down: Hennessy Highball
When it’s snowing and you’re lighting the fire: Café Brulot
When you have to answer silly interview questions: Japanese green tea
WHAT’S YOUR ‘GO-TO’:
Digestif: Hennessy XO
Beer: Local craft beer
Shot: Del Maguey Chichicapa
Mixed drink: Daiquiri
Guilty pleasure: Swimming Pool 2.0 (3 cl rhum agricole, 3 cl Zubrowka vodka, 3 cl reduced coconut water, 6 cl calpis, 2 dashes black walnut bitters, fresh pineapple, served with a blue Curacao ‘chip’)
WHAT WAS THE LAST AMAZING COCKTAIL THAT BLEW YOUR MIND? WHO WAS THE GUILTY BARTENDER?
When I had dinner at DOM Restaurant in Sao Paolo, the head bartender gave me a cocktail pairing instead of the usual wine pairing. His name is Jean Ponce and the “3 kind of Negroni” variation and also the “Caipirinha” blew me a away in terms of taste and technique. Incredible.
NAME 3 OF YOUR FAVOURITE BARS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD AND WHY?
Employees Only, New York City
Our brother’s bar. I love this place. Simply amazing.
Artesian Bar, London
The whole team blows you up if you visit this place.
Le Lion, Hamburg
You come as a guest, you leave as a friend.
YOUR HOUSE IS BURNING DOWN. WHAT’S THE ONE BOTTLE YOU GRAB? WHO DO YOU SHARE IT WITH?
Sazerac 18 year rye.
WHAT’S THE BEST BAR IN YOUR CITY:
To unwind after work: Bar Tabacco
Where you can be anonymous: Bar Reichenbach
For high end cocktails: Le Fleur du Mal
For cheap booze and cheaper women: Maybe there are some but I never entered them.
For great bar food: Bar Tabacco (famous for their steaks)
For live music: Pusser´s New York Bar
For a booze related ‘business’ meeting: Jahreszeiten Bar
To take your in-laws: Zephyr Bar
Where you can forget to pay your tab and still be allowed back: Goldene Bar
Where you’ll always find off-duty bartenders: Bar Gabanyi
WHAT DOES YOUR LOCAL BAR INDUSTRY NEED MORE OF?
Bartenders needs to collaborate more together. Also we must include the press and media much more into our projects like the chefs are doing, so people understand more about our profession and see bartending in another way.
AND LESS OF?
I would say cocktail competitions. It is nice to have some – but it is getting more and more every year and every month. Bartenders needs to focus on their guests not on competitions.
WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE FANTASY DRINKING HOLIDAY DESTINATION (that you’ve yet to go on)?
It sounds very weird but I would love to see the tea plantations in Japan and beside that I would love to visit the monastery of Chartreuse and Dom Perignon.
WHO IS SOMEONE TO KEEP AN EYE ON IN THE WORLD OF BARTENDING RIGHT NOW?
In Germany, Austria and Switzerland I would say there are many upcoming young talented bartenders like Marian Krause (Spirits), Lukas Motejzik (Zephyr), Reinhard Pohorec (Austria), Simon Brandmayer (Switzerland) and Andre Pintz (Jägermeister Study) to keep an eye on. All of them have won competitions, they are super cool and very down to earth and are working hard every day at their job as a bartender.
IN WHAT BAR DO YOU FEEL MOST AT HOME AND WHY?
Definetely Bar Tobacco in Munich. This is another generation of bartenders and you feel that when you enter the bar. The atmosphere is like feeling at home and the drinks are simple and perfect. Also the food is amazing and they treat everybody with the same high quality. All of the staff are former Schumann´s bartenders a long time ago.