Berliners do not take their drinking lightly.  A recent week there had us sprawled in our bed at the end of every night, barely able to move.  Fortunately we had company.  Nightly from 12 to 6 a.m., a local TV station aired an unbroken closeup of a dour puppet trapped in a Sartrean void.  His frustrated monologue was in German, so we had no idea who or what he was (a stick of rancid butter?  a moldy sponge?), only that his existential dilemma mirrored our hangover to an alarming degree.

We asked our hosts, Wolfgang and Arta, about him, and learned that he is a loaf of bread named Bernd, and something of a local celebrity.  Relieved that he was not a figment of our alcoholically impaired imagination, we were finally able to focus on other things, namely the German Rum Festival Berlin and Bar Convent Berlin.  Here’s a smattering of what we saw and heard:

Master blender Richard Seale, on distillers who dope their rum with sugar and artificial flavor extracts:  “The rum world is a jungle.  It’s the wild west.  There are no rules.  Anything goes.”

Ian Burrel, at his Pina Colada lecture:  “You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.”

Angus Winchester, on the co-option of Tiki bars by Caribbean rum marketeers:  “Can pirates be part of Tiki?  No.  Can reggae be part of Tiki? No.”

Gary Regan, opening his seminar on New York bars to a packed house:  “Good afternoon, motherfuckers.”

Angus Winchester again:  “Drinking to get drunk is like fucking to get pregnant.”

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re ovulating.


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