July 29, 2011 / 1:11 PM / 8 years ago

The Spirited Traveller: The art of drinking in Zurich

(Reuters.com) - Although Zurich is best known as a banking centre, it also has long been home to a thriving art scene. And both influences extend to the local cocktail-scape, from the clientele in the bars and restaurants along the Paradeplatz, to well-chosen art collections on the walls in certain venues.

A cocktail is shown at the art deco Kronenhalle Bar in Zurich. REUTERS/Handout

I had heard from a handful of seasoned transcontinental bar-hoppers that Widder Bar should always be the first stop for whistle-wetting in Zurich. So I was pleased to finally make the acquaintance of Markus Blattner, “Barchef” of Widder Bar, for additional recommendations.

In the heart of Zurich’s Old Town, Widder Bar within the Widder Hotel (<http://www.widderhotel.ch>) is widely recognised as the place for jazz and whiskey - as well as any other libation you can imagine. Well-made classic aperitifs and Champagne cocktails are abundant, but a visitor would be advised to take in the bar’s fanciful inspirations such as the Hellboy (Islay single malt, Frangelico, chilli-honey syrup) or the Garden & Tonic (gin, fresh mint, cucumber, Maraschino, celery bitters, tonic water).

Blattner also recommends Kronenhalle Bar (<http://www.kronenhalle.com>) at Kronenhalle restaurant, which dates back to 1862 and is renowned for its legendary art collection. With the likes of Picasso, Miro, Chagall and Matisse decorating the walls, Kronenhalle was a popular haunt for actors, painters and writers. The Art Deco bar - some say a work of art in itself - furnished with ornate brass lamps designed by the Giacometti brothers, is a place to enjoy a drink and contemplate one’s next masterpiece. The cocktail list runs to the standards, but look for a handful of originals like the Kronenhalle Spezial (gin, Cointreau, apricot brandy and grapefruit juice).

Meanwhile, Onyx Bar ( <http://www.zurich.park.hyatt.ch>), located on the ground floor of the Park Hyatt Zurich, is a convenient meeting place for business travellers. Access to cocktails, wine, and cigars at the angular stone bar surely will make for a more artful meeting than a session in a stuffy conference room.

RECIPE: Nachtvogel, courtesy of Markus Blattner

(The name of this original drink served at Widder Bar means “nightbird”)

2 cl Black Bottle Scotch (smoky Islay Blend) (about 2/3 ounce)

1 cl Ruby Port (about 1/3 ounce)

1 cl Sugar Syrup (about 1/3 ounce)

2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

1 dl Champagne (about 3 1/3 ounces)

Stir all the ingredients, except the Champagne, on ice. Pour into red wineglass, add the Champagne and serve.

Kara Newman is the author of "Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails," available here Editing by Peter Myers

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