In addition to making your drink, part of a bartender's job is to tell stories. With a brief stint as a professional basketball player as well as a bartending career that has taken him from Munich to New York City and then on to London and Hong Kong, you can bet Cihan Anadologlu has more than a few to share. This and his drink making skills have served him well, earning him a position as Executive Head Bartender at the world-famous Schumann's Bar in Munich. In 2016 he blazed his own trail with Circle Bar by Cihan Anadologlu. Within ten short months of being open, this members-only bar garnered attention from MIxology Magazine, earning a place in its "Top Five New European Bars" list. Drinks International also listed Circle in its "Top 100" list. The bar has also received accolades for it's unique and innovative design. From November 14-18, Anadologlu will be plying his trade at 1515 West Chophouse & Bar in Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai hosts mixologist Cihan Anadologlu as part of its ongoing Celebrity Bar Series. He'll also be hosting a cocktail masterclass at 3pm on November 15. We caught up with Cihan Anadologlu to talk about the craft cocktail business.
Why did you become a bartender?
To make a long story short, I was a professional basketball player. I quit, and I didn't know what to do, so I moved to live with my aunt in NYC and started learning hospitality. Both of my parents were chefs at this time, so me and my brother knew already a lot about flavors, drinks, and food.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
When I serve a drink and it puts a smile on someone's face.
What sparks the inspiration to create a cocktail? What things do you have to take into consideration to turn that inspiration into a drink?
You have to see a cocktail as more than just a beverage. Each creation is a piece of art and you have to inspire yourself from everywhere and everything in the world. It can be nature, art, history, buildings, etc. I try to come up with new drinks every day, and 90 percent of them go into the garbage until I find the right proportions.
What is your favorite drink to make? Your least favorite?
I dont have a favorite or a least favorite. I do what I love to do, and if I don´t like something, I don´t do it. You cant do something perfect if you actually don´t like to do it. One of the main reasons I am succesfull is that I strive every day for perfection.
What inspired you to open your own bar?
It is every bartenders dream to own a bar. When I met my partners for the first time, I knew they were the right people to work with.
What bartender stereotype do you hate?
I don´t hate. It's lost energy if you hate something. I just don´t care. And I never think about other bartenders. Everybody can do his job as he likes.
What has been your favorite bar to work in?
My own, of course!
What makes a successful bar?
If you don´t put your own interests above the customers.
What is the craziest thing that ever happened in a bar while you were bartending?
When Kevin Spacey and Will Smith walked in. There are so many stories about that night. If I could, I would write a whole book about it.
Are there differences between the bar scenes of Hong Kong, London, and Germany?
There were, but nowadays the world is connected so much via the internet and social media that everyone knows what everyone else is doing at the other end of the world. Still, London is the capital of the bar world. Asia is amazing, though, and becoming my favorite.
What do you think are essential traits a bartender should have?
Every bartender is different, but communication skills are very important. Creativity, too.
Describe your ideal customer.
When he doesn't dance on the bar. All other ones are easy to handle.
What signature drink or drinks are you most proud of?
The ones that my customers love most: all of them.
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