Orania Berlin - Interview with bar manager Laura Driftmann
In the creative heart of Kreuzberg on Oranienplatz it is: the Orania Berlin.It is a hotel characterized by relaxed luxury and casual elegance. It is equipped with an excellent restaurant where you can enjoy the signature dish, the XBerg-Duck. Meanwhile, guests can listen to concerts by major artists. Who shouldn't be missing: the bar manager Laura Driftmann. Laura has something to offer for all tastes. Be it fine wines, local beers or sophisticated drinks. We asked Laura how she got behind the bar, what the Orania.Bar and how their non-alcoholic drinks are created.
Laori: What has your life been like so far? What have you done so far?
Laura: That wasn't planned at all. When I was at school, I never knew I would work at the bar. I have always worked in the catering industry, be it at parties or in the ice cream parlor. I then graduated from high school and started learning to be a hotel manager because I always wanted to do something with people. I always wanted to go to Berlin and then started my training at ADLON in 2011 and during the training the passion and interest arose and the decision to say that I would do this now.
Laori: The bar scene is rather male-dominated. Have you ever felt this during your work?
Laura: Of course you notice it! I've also worked a lot with men, but more and more women are coming. There are many female bartenders, especially in Berlin. I prefer working with women because they have a different way of working, but in the end it's the mix that counts!
Laori: Tell us about the concept. What does it matter?
Laura: The great thing about the Orania concept is that everything is open. The bar, restaurant and reception have no walls. This area is super open and you can see everything from all sides. It feels like a huge living room: you can eat something or have an aperitif at the bar. Listen to the music or sit by the fireplace and look out what's happening outside the door or just sit at the bar and enjoy everything that's going on.
Laori: What role do non-alcoholic drinks play for you?
Laura: A very big one now! Two years ago I wouldn't have presented it like that. I had a different opinion then. For me it was juice and syrup mixed together. Non-alcoholic spirits haven't been around that long either. There is now no longer any difference between alcoholic or non-alcoholic cocktails. Both in the creation of the drinks and in the quality. It's also really fun to sell because there are now products that are easy to mix, have a story and are fun to work with.
Laori: How do you create non-alcoholic drinks? What do you draw inspiration from?
Laura: Generally about food or eating out and cooking. Also from traveling, when you see something or read something somewhere and then I just try out what I like. I'm just trying to recreate that or go in that direction. I like it simple, but still round, complex and delicious. I don't like to go too far and end up making it too complicated. Because when it's full, it falls on your feet.
Laori: If I came to your bar and I was alcohol-free: Which 3 drinks would you recommend to me?
1. LA`CRØRI: Laori Juniper No 1, Crodino, lemon, soda water
2. Verjuice Spritz: Verjuice, fresh lemon, a little honey and soda water
3. Seedlip Sour: Seedlip, lemon, agave syrup, egg white
Laori: You have a lot to do with alcohol professionally. How do you manage to have a healthy relationship with alcohol?
Laura: Separate professional and private life! Work is work and at the end of the day you can toast. Just draw a small boundary.
Laori: What are the big advantages of non-alcoholic drinks from your point of view?
Laura: If I'm driving, make an appointment the next day or take medication, then you don’t have to think about “Can I do that now?” You can simply drink it without thinking about it and drink as much as you want and still have all the freedom and still have a wide range of tastes. You can enjoy and consume something as complex as someone who drinks something alcoholic.
Laori: Does alcohol-free have a chance of becoming the new vegan?
Laura: Well, I definitely think that alcohol-free is becoming more and more popular - alternatively also low-ABV - because a lot of people work, have appointments and therefore weigh things up. The demand is there, but I can hardly imagine whether non-alcoholic will replace alcohol. I think it's good if it's at ground level. Then you have the choice! The goal is that it has the same rating and that it elicits the same reaction from the bartender when you order with or without. It is important that this is treated equally, without eyes being rolled or stupid sayings being made, and that one is free to choose one or the other.
Are you thirsty?
Then try our Laori Lemon - the non-alcoholic cocktail with bitter lemon. It's quick to mix and impresses with its citrusy freshness. You can find the recipe here.
Cover photo: Dennis Dorwarth