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.