Before I could even speak, I adored ketchup. As a picky child, I demanded the condiment be available so I could smother everything (including my Thanksgiving turkey, much to my late grandmother’s chagrin) in the stuff. But getting even me to drink a ketchup cocktail would be a hard sell—that is, it would have been before my trip with Jägermeister to Tür 7 in Vienna, Austria.
Tür 7—which was opened in December 2014 by the "cocktail dreamteam" of Geri Kozbach-Tsai, Glenn Estrada, and Reinhard Pohorec—may be the very first speakeasy in Vienna, but it prides itself on its relaxed feel. The bar fits 40 to 50 people but will only take in 30 at a time, and hopeful visitors must ring the doorbell before being let in; others will be turned away (with suggestions of other good venues in the area). But when you’re in, you’re welcome with open arms—until 4 a.m., two hours later than most bars in the city. The staff calls Tür 7 a “living room bar,” and for good reason: it’s equipped with with a full bath, a lounging room, and a smoking area for those who want a cigarette with their couch cocktail as they munch on house-made rosemary salted popcorn.
The bar doesn’t have a menu—or at least, not the kind of menu you’d expect. The bar has an incredibly small staff and tries to get to know the customer and their unique palette; they’ll whip something up based on their preferences, and customers can write down the drink and name it what they want in the bar book.
But the bartenders don’t only focus on preferences. In fact, if you tell them what you dislike (barring anything allergy-related), they’ll try their hardest to incorporate it into the drink—and you’ll probably like it. That’s because the Tür 7 staff won’t tell you what’s in the drink until after you’ve tried it.
“You can mix everything together as long as you find a link,” Estrada told me when I visited the bar last month. “I make drinks with fish sauce, with ketchup, with mustard, with onion juice.”
Naturally, I perked up at ketchup, and I challenged him to use it in a recipe for me, promising that I’d keep an open mind. He passed the test with flying colors—but the recipe would make any sane person retch. The “Mast Have” contains Jäger, whiskey, ketchup, lime juice, apricot juice, and mustard—but I would have drank three more. It had the perfect mix of sweet and salty, like if a mimosa and a bloody Mary got married.
Feeling uninspired? Dig into your pantry and check out a couple recipes by Estrada himself—one of which incorporates fish sauce!—to shock your family at this year’s Christmas festivities.