Meet Pusser’s Rum Bartender on Deck Mario Ippen
Mario Ippen of the Lemon Lounge in Bremen, Germany
Tell us about yourself. What’s your background, and how did you end up as a bartender/mixologist?
I was born and raised in Bremen/North Germany. Today I reached the age of 42. As I was 16 years old I started working in a discotheque as a student assistant – collecting bottles from the floor. I was always working in Bars and Clubs since then, part time when I was in school and during my university times. The staff was always like a big family to me. Being a good host brings a lot of joy to me. In 2001, in the age of 25, I founded the Lemon Lounge – with a huge success till today and I hope it will go on like this…
If you don’t find me in my bar accidentally – I enjoy time with my 12 year old daughter alone or together with my girlfriend who is fittingly to the barjob a pharmacist. And I love to do sports.
What’s your favorite Pusser’s Rum cocktail, and what is the recipe for making it?
Absolutely clear – Pusser’s Painkiller! This drink is a historical cocktail monument. Our guests join this drink around the globe, especially in the Caribbean.
We get a lot of positive response for our Pusser’s Painkiller – which you can call, in contrast to the south located Caribbean, the “Nordic art of Pusser’s Painkiller”.
Instead of coconut cream we use simple coconut syrup – and only a dash of it. This is very important as it should not be sweet – it should taste like the smell of the Caribbean beach. Being so, also the juices are very important. They mustn’t be sweetened and a 100% pure fruit. In the beginning we had smaller mugs than in general use. We decided to reduce the total amount of ingredients.
60 ml Pusser’s Rum 40%
4 ml Monin coconut sirup
40 ml orange juice 100% no sugar added
80 ml pineapple juice 100% no sugar added
freshly grated nutmeg on top
We prefer the old WMF Parisian Shaker for the painkiller.
6 icecubes and all liquid ingredients.
Shake well for about 10 sec.
Pour into the mug with the “dirty” ice.
Freshly grated nutmeg on top of this lovely foam.
Doing it this way, you will have a wonderful full bodied rum cocktail with the significant taste of Pusser´s Rum. A dry sweetness and an exotic note. The low amount of juice keeps you thirsty for the next order.
For the upcoming wintertime we have a special hot Pusser´s Drink:
60 ml Pusser´s Rum Gun Powder proof
150 ml hot apple juice
Homemade gingerbread sirup
Homemade vanilla ice – spiced butter
Heat the Pusser´s with the apple juice and syrup. (We do this with the milk-foaming spout of our coffeemaker)
Fill the hot liquid into a clay jug.
Add the vanilla ice -spiced butter on top. The guests get a spoon to stir to perfection.
2 gram star anise
4 gram pimento
4 gram cinnamon
2 gram tonka bean
0,5 gram cardamom seeds
cooked with 500 ml water for 10 minutes than add slowly 500 gram sugar.
Let it cool down. Fill in squeeze bottle.
Vanilla ice – spiced – butter:
Melt 250 gram butter slowly
20 gram cardamom
3 pcs clove
20 gram cinnamon
2 gram black pepper
A pinch of salt in it.
Then mix in 100 gram vanilla ice cream.
Fill it directly in small 20 ml container and freeze after it cooled down for a while.
Please tell us about your personal connection to rum. Why choose rum over another spirit?
Rum was always the most important spirit in a cocktail bar. All the world famous drinks where made with rum. You can drink rum neat or as a cocktail in every season – whether it is cold or hot outside. It fits (in) every situation and daytime.
The Pusser’s Rum got to me in the end of 2002.
We earned the title “Best German Bar for 2003”. No one less than the Magazine Playboy decided that. Their was a huge party in the P1 discotheque in Munich. Twelve bunnys have received me at the entrance. Especially Kerstin and Claudia have taken care for me the whole evening.
After the official part I decided to take a walk around the bar scene in Munich. So I met Bill Deck in the Pusser’s Bar and his son David. Bill introduced me as an old friend – I was bewildered, being sure I have never been there before. But Bill saw me on stage of the P1, and he had a good face recognition.
That night, Bill told me everything about Pusser’s Rum and the Painkiller and a lot more…
Back in Bremen I was really on fire to introduce the Painkiller to our guests. And it worked very good. Today you would say it went “viral”.
What do you think the future holds for the rum industry?
Honestly, as a bartender I don´t really care. We don´t want another “Gin Craze” for Rum or other spirits. Rum is already very important. I think the industry will feature more spiced, sweetened and easy rums to reach younger consumers.
The rum industry in general should take care about worldwide laws. There are to many brands which sell bad rums with a lot of sugar and who knows what else inside. Not seldom these rums are preferred from the consumers. Without a declaration of additives and the real age the “honest” rums will have a hard time to push through on the market.
What inspires you creatively when it comes to making drinks?
To get creative with drinks is like a manic phase of a depressive maverick. All collected influences and ideas explode in one moment. To develop, cook or dry ingredients, merge them to something new is a big joy, a great moment of being a bartender. Don´t care about money, don´t care about guests, don´t care about time – just be creative like an artist. After a couple of hours I come out of my kitchen being totally satisfied.
Please share your greatest achievement in relation to the spirits industry.
20 years my friends. Too many. At present the Cocktail & Spirit classes featured by the industry seems to be the best win-win-win situation. Means industry-guest-bar take advantage.We sell about 2000 tickets for workshops to our guests each year. They come and learn about making good drinks, using best spirits and other ingredients. We started that in 2010. A Whiskey producer featured the main class. Today we are known as the Whisky Sour – Missionary.
The last three years my bar team and me organised the stand for a big spirit distributor on the Bar Convent Berlin aka BCB. That was a great experience too.
The Lemon Lounge take care about the cocktail history and all the classic drinks not to forget. Best example: The Pusser’s Painkiller. We introduced that drink to our city.
What is an interesting fact about yourself? Any special talents or hobbies?
Talk to me, I´ll be honest to you. No cheating but also no spare. In La Bodeguita on Cuba, the musicians ask me to buy a CD from them. I said no, I don’t like your music. In that case you find yourself in hairy situation.
My hobby is the bar and everything about spirits and bar history. I still love sports, Karate the very most. Despite the heavy night work in the bar I was honored with the black belt. So, if you are around, let´s spend time in my dojo in the back of my house and have a drink later in the Lemon Lounge.
How can people learn more about you?
Become a Facebook friend @ Mario Ippen or visit our website: www.lemonlounge.de
To contact me, the best way is by e-mail: email@example.com (also for reservations)
If you don’t live in my hometown, send me the address of your bar, distillery, shop or whatever. I like to travel and visit other bars and distilleries to learn more people to share our passion with each other.