The young Belgian barman David Lebeer trained at The Pharmacy in Knokke-Heist, with the Van Ongevalle family, before taking over The Cobbler bar, inside the magnificent hotel The Post, in Ghent. This was the ultimate accolade for one of the most talked-about young talents on the Belgian-Dutch cocktail scene. Interview by Peyo Lissarrague.
– (he cuts off) I’m a big fan! I like to drink it neat and in cocktails! Its roundness, silky texture, richness… it’s really delicious. Generally speaking, I have always enjoyed brown spirits and Cognac is without a doubt one of the most fascinating. The way it is made – vineyard practices, double distillation, etc. – result in a truly outstanding product.
How do you use it?
– In all kinds of cocktails and especially in the great classics such as the Horse’s Neck. Mixing with Ginger Ale enhances its freshness and delicate aromas and flavours. I also like to take traditional tried-and-tested recipes and add my own touch, particularly when it comes to Cognac. Ran Van Ongevalle taught me to experiment as much as possible, to always nurture my inspiration. Nowadays, I go all out with my ideas. At The Cobbler, we offer the Follow-Up, a Cognac-based Cosmopolitan!
I heard that you also took part in a competition dedicated to the Sidecar?
– We were a group of bartenders from all over the world! The Sidecar is a classic drink which I am very fond of. In mixology, combining Cognac and citrus fruit forms a basis which you can then play around with. Personally, I like to experiment with many different ingredients that contribute floral or bitter notes.