David Penker, world class bar manager for 26 ° EAST in Vienna has been serving the finest and best cocktails in the city. With outstanding experience in the industry, Penker also found himself finding great inspiration for his mixes from cooking. His recent creation “First Aid” took the Diageo World Class Competition by storm.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. When and why did you decide to work as a bartender and what do you love most about your job?
I made my diploma as a restaurant specialist, but then I followed my family’s tradition and started working for the Austrian Armed Forces. After four years I decided to go back to my original profession and become a bartender to make people smile. Because that’s what I love most about my job: Putting a smile on my guests’ faces and making their evenings unforgettable.
2. What was your funniest moment as a bartender?
That’s impossible to say because I had so many funny and crazy moments in my life behind the counter – and you know, I have to be discreet with my guests’ secrets. 😉
3. What is your favourite drink and why? What is your last creation?
My favourite drink is an “Old Fashioned”, but made with a Single Malt Whisky from the Isle of Skye instead of Bourbon. I’m very proud of my latest creation, the “First Aid”, which I created for the Diageo World Class Competition.
Image: David Penker
4. What is the best bar you have ever been and why?
The best bar for me is the “Nightfly’s” in Vienna. I go there very often because it is classy and at the same time modern, but always authentic.
5. Where do you get your inspirations from? Is there a person and why?
I get the best inspirations while I’m cooking; when I’m experimenting with flavours and how they go together. And right before I fall asleep I sometimes get really good ideas.
6. What is your advice for someone who wants to work as a bartender?
My advice to colleagues is that they should never lose ground and get out of touch with reality just because of successful crazy nightlife. Sports, cooking and meeting friends are an important balance.
7. Whiskey or Gin?
Neither Whiskey, nor Gin, but Single Malt Whisky!
Image: David Penker