Industry Insiders: Albert Trummer, Apothecary Deluxe

Albert Trummer is the Austrian bar chef and brains behind Chinatown operation Apothéke. With business-minded partner Heather Tierney, Trummer serves his liquid medicine from behind the bar to an eager clientele night after night at the booming corner spot on Doyers Street. While growing up in his family’s restaurant in Austria, Trummer learned his way around the bar and turned his father’s private club into a booming hotspot at the age of 15. He’s since worked for the likes of David Bouley, the Chambers Hotel, Home Bar on Shelter Island, and 60 Thompson. The master mixologist speaks about who does nightlife best, the apothecary premise and his plans for the future. And for a special video clip, he even mixes up his famous flaming inferno beverage for BlackBook’s Cayte Grieve and Eiseley Tauginas.

Who does it right in the business? David Bouley is not just my mentor; he is my idol and the rock star of chefs.

How have you showcased your talent? The biggest event that I did myself was the Music Awards hosted in Miami. I was hired by Louis Vutton/Hennesy. We served 2,000 people in the mansion at the Outkast event. The ordering list was incredible. We made an over 300-gallon special container of mojito for the party. It was empty by the end.

How did you meet Heather Tierney? She had written about me when she worked for Time Out. She had a vision for the place. I always wanted to have a venue with an apothecary concept. In Europe, these places are like Duane Reade. They’re cozy, and you know your pharmacist who writes your prescription. That’s how I feel went we create a drink for someone.

How will you improve the apothecary experience further? My wish list includes creating a healthy alcohol. I’ve been talking to a distiller and doing tests and found that the herbs I use are holistic remedies for some gastro-intestinal problems. It’s a secret formula that I hope to get FDA-approved and produce “Albert’s Remedy.”

Are you looking to open another place? I have many offers. I prefer to be in a hotel, as that’s my background, and they supply the level of facility I require. I’d also like to start the service of having a cocktail butler, where the mixologist goes to your room with assistants, and it is a type of show for the guests. I’d like to have Albert’s Cocktail Theater.

Tell us about Apothéke’s mixologists. Miguel is from Mexico and does Aztec-related drinks, working with Mezcal and tequila. Jack is American and does Savoy-style bourbon drinks. Bourbon is hot right now. Greg is a specialist in Italian bitters. Orson is from Venezuela and brings the Amazon and rain forest.

Any house secrets you can share? I ship the herbs and oils from all over the world, and we soak our limes with sugarcane.

Is the recession affecting you? My grandfather said this is a safe business. Even in this economy, people still eat and drink all the time. People still need entertainment.

Where do you eat and drink? I always go to a Bouley or Daniel Boulud’s restaurant. The food is fantastic, and there are no shortcuts. I also really like Da Silvano, and Smith and Mills takes pride in their drinks.

Are you doing any special events this year? Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday party in July. I’m creating the drink called The Mandela, which is based on African herbs and elderflower. The host is Bill Clinton.

Favorite authors? Ernest Hemingway and Jack London.

What is something people don’t know about you? I think David Copperfield is a great entertainer.

Favorite artist? Salvador Dali.

Is there a city that does nightlife better than New York? I’ve traveled all over the world, and none of them can compete with New York.

Why? The variety of cocktails. The master chefs from around the world work here.

Anything we could do to improve nightlife in New York? It’s missing intimate music clubs that they have in LA. Places where someone like Sting is recording. It’s a great part of the music scene there. New York needs smaller, more sophisticated music venues.
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