The fine spirits in Stefanie Drobits' Neukölln tasting shop awaken the spirit of every fruit and nut used to create them. The pure Austrian schnapps are also marked by subtle taste and a lower alcohol content.
"I have a great memory for tastes and smells – and I don't even have to go around murdering people," says Stefanie Drobits, in a witty nod to Patrick Süskind's novel, 'Perfume.' The large, dark wooden table in her shop displays five different spirits – rowan, blackcurrant, apricot, almond, and hazelnut – portioned in half-liter and liter bottles.
Her most popular is the hazelnut spirit; its flavor is a faithful translation of the aroma, and the bottle comes garnished with a charming illustration to match. With an alcohol content of 35 instead of the standard 40, Stefanie Drobits' spirits are relatively mild. Her aim is to enable people to develop a new relationship with spirits – and put a smile on their face while she's at it. Since 2017, her shop has been selling its wares on Friedelstrasse in Berlin Neukölln.
The spirits themselves are distilled in Germany's Franconia region and Austria. Growing up in Austria in a little village in Burgenland, she had an early education in her region's traditional craft; her first trip to the distillery came when she was still in kindergarten.
As a child, she says, she once took one or two sleepy swigs out the nearest bottle only to discover that it had been filled with wine. But no harm was done. "Maybe it was my own personal origin story," she muses. So why Berlin? After an internship in New York she returned to Vienna to find it was a little smaller than she remembered. Berlin was bigger and represented an untapped market for Austrian craft wines and spirits.
Stefanie Drobits is particularly pleased to see that her tastings often bring multiple generations to the table. She normally offers guests a small meal too, a habit of her hometown hospitality she's brought with her to Berlin. Her own entry into the business of distillation was inspired by a fairy tale. As the story goes, a small girl leaves the home of her grandmother to explore the forest. Hoping to find a prince, the girl instead encounters a menagerie of animals that transform into benevolent spirits. And those are just the type you're likely to find in Stefanie Drobits' shop.
Author: Masha Slawinski
FRÄULEIN BRÖSELS SCHNAPSERWACHEN