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Interview with owner and head bartender André Pintz
When “Cocktail“ with Tom Cruise is on the television do your eyes light up and is a well-mixed drink the perfect start for you to a relaxed evening after work or a wild party night? Then there’s one place in Leipzig that you shouldn’t ignore – the Imperii, right on Brühl 72. Since August 2015, André Pintz has been shaking up Leipzig’s bar scene from behind its counter. If you order a cocktail here not only do you get a drink but also the story that goes with it and the best ingredients guaranteed, including house-made liqueurs and syrups. This should come as no surprise, as a true artist is at work here. André Pintz has a true passion for bartending and has held his own on the international market in numerous competitions. It’s good for Leipzig that he loves this city and that he wants to share his passion for exceptional drinks with its residents and guests.
In our interview, André reveals what makes for a good drink and where he likes to be out and about in Leipzig when he’s not behind the bar.
André, can you describe your concept for us please?
André: Well, on the one hand, the Imperii is classic and traditional but, on the other hand, it’s also experimental and innovative. Above all when it comes to drinks. We take classic drinks and, to a certain extent, we try to capture their essence and integrate it into our style. We don’t want to create those typical cocktails with little umbrellas but, instead, to work with especially subtle aromas which make drinking an experience. In our bar you should calmly focus on the drinks and their stories and, above all, enjoy them. We want you to escape from the everyday and dip into a small world. Our food concept is similar – we work a lot with regional and fresh products, we experiment and we follow our own individual course.
In what sort of price category are you in?
André: A drink costs between € 8 and € 12. Apart from the classic cocktails, we exclusively offer our proprietary creations.
What fascinates you about mixing cocktails?
André: It all started quite by chance. I ended up behind the bar completely spontaneously and I quickly acquired a liking for it because it’s lovely that you can create something completely new from different elements. I never wanted to mix standard drinks – I always wanted to develop my own. For example, we make all our syrups and many of the liqueurs ourselves and we see how the taste changes – that is the exciting thing.
It’s the same as when you cook – you need a certain amount of passion and the willingness to experiment. And a cook that doesn’t have these qualities would be better off not cooking. It’s exactly the same behind the bar. You can work according to recipes but you’re only able add refinements if you also have the right feeling for this.
What path did you personally take?
André: I went to the bartending schools in Leipzig, Rostock und Amsterdam and, pretty quickly, took part in various competitions. These included all sorts, from small, regional championships and industry competitions right up to world class level. I made it to German finals several times and, in an international competition, even to a world final. Through this I was able to expand my network and my knowledge considerably. I’ve seen a lot throughout Europe and I’ve lived and worked outside of Germany. In this way your understanding simply grows – what do other countries and other cultures do and what’s happening in the world? How can you turn your drinks into something special? I then wanted to bring this experience to Leipzig.
Will you be taking part in competitions again in 2017?
André: No, in 2017, I’ll be completely out of it as far as competitions are concerned because other exciting projects await me this year. (he grins)
Last year, the “Salon Lebemann“ took place at the Imperii for the first time. What exactly was that?
André: Purely by chance, we met a Berlin-based fashion designer – Martin Fröhlich. He designs bow ties and jackets, among other things, and he approached us because he had already been playing with the idea of creating his own fashion cocktail. We realised this for him and, likewise, celebrated this at our bar with an appropriate event in 1920s style. There will definitely be a follow-up to this in 2017.
Where do you personally like to be out and about in Leipzig?
André: I love going to the zoo because it’s right around the corner and it’s a fantastic place to wind down. But I also like simply strolling through the city – particularly on Sundays.
Imperii, Brühl 72, 04109 Leipzig
Monday to Saturday 4 pm to 2 am