Bols with Balls


Are cocktails the way to sell brandy, I wonder? Certainly the Brandy Foundation has been giving the concept a good tonk with their urban brandy route which has cocktails popping up in some of the hippest locations in Cape Town. Oude Molen disagree and have pulled out of the Foundation and will be marketing their Joe Barry and Oude Molen spirits the traditional way. Neat or with a splash of water.

Cocktails were certainly flavour of last month when Rusty Cerven, the reigning Bols Around The World 2013 Champion Bar Tender fronted up at the House of Machines in Shortmarket Street. Rusty is the second most famous Bratislavan after CC Schlonka who entertained tasters at the Concours Mondial last year. I was shouted down by my fellow judges for suggesting that CC was the most successful ladyboy this side of Bangkok.

photo 80 Bols with Balls

If anyone is going to call you the best bar tender in the world, Bols has the cred to do it as they were the world’s first brand of distilled spirits, dating back to 1575. Lucas Bols seems to be the man and after you’ve promised the Bols website that you’re old enough to drink, you find out that Lucas was born in 1652, the very year Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape.

Lucas “managed to turn Bols into an international brand and greatly expanded the range of liqueurs. The herbs and spices of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) played an important role in this development and Lucas was a major shareholder in the VOC.”

He started producing his first genever in 1664 when he was 12 years old. Which makes asking your date of birth to enter their site a bit hypocritical. 29 year old Rusty won a prize of choosing four cities to visit and he chose Sydney, Tokyo, Rio and Cape Town. Confirming that while he may indeed be best barkeep on the planet, when it comes to exotic destinations, he has a lot to learn.

Still his cocktails (popular with ladyboys for obvious reasons) sound brill with my favourite his butter washed KWV brandy – presumably the 15 year old which was voted best brandy in the world in London last year. Handy for Rusty as his day job is at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair. Butter washing is mixing melted un-salted butter and brandy together. Placed in the fridge, the congealed butter is skimmed off leaving butter washed brandy which tastes smooth and… buttery.

Perhaps if Rusty had poured the Oude Molen marketing manager a butter washed Ladismith (most popular brandy for ladiboys) they’d still be in the Foundation. Or at least wearing foundation.