‘An Alchemist’s Idea of Heaven’
Dr Stravinsky is a speakeasy bar tucked away down one of the labyrinthine alleyways of the El Born district in the Old Town of Barcelona.
Run by co-owner and bar manager Antonio Naranjo it has only been open for 18 months but has already earned a reputation as a world-class cocktail bar.
More botanical gin bar than a traditional cocktail bar Dr Stravinsky is well placed in the cultural El Born. There are bars, restaurants, jazz clubs, museums, flamenco and street entertainers aplenty to keep you occupied 24/7.
Born in Havana, Antonio has Cuban pedigree. His great-grandfather worked in Old Havana as a ‘cantinero’.
Himkok incidentally means homemade. And today this has resonance in Dr Stravinsky where 70% of the cocktail ingredients are homemade by Antonio.
“Passionate about flavour” he infuses gin, distilled in Madrid with four botanicals: juniper, coriander, angelica root and anise, with a variety of ingredients to extract some exciting flavours which he combines in his cocktails with homemade syrups. The syrups are all made in-house from fresh Catalan herbs.
Dr Stravinsky has the appearance of an alchemist’s idea of heaven. Jars of backlit botanicals line one wall and there is plenty of distilling equipment and flasks on display.
OK, so you know it isn’t for real and the real stuff goes on behind the scenes. But the whole décor is done very well. The effect is welcoming and cosy and somehow familiar.
There is plenty of distilling equipment and flasks on display
Antonio and his team effortlessly make you feel at home while performing amazing feats of mixology behind the bar.
Antonio on the right
I was lucky enough to visit there recently where Antonio served me 3 distinctive cocktails. All so excellent it was hard to choose a favourite.
The first was his signature cocktail Camp Nou, named after the FC Barcelona stadium. A bright vibrant green the Camp Nou is a gin sour. Made with gin, fresh syrup of dill, coriander and basil, lime and Manzanilla sherry it had a zingy freshness.
Next, was Schumann’s , sweet and herbal with a gin base, yuzu sake, Becherovka herbal liqueur, Jun (a fermented product of green tea and honey) and a cider and spices syrup. And if all that sounds a little complicated the delivery in an earthenware cup was simplicity itself and reinforced the botanical credentials of this herbaceous cocktail.
Truffle Dry Martini
Truffle Dry martini
Finally, after the sweet and the sour came the Umami: the Truffle Dry Martini, made with truffle infused gin and dry vermouth. This was served the traditional way in a cocktail glass with a single olive. (If a rather gigantic one, Spanish olives are huge!). But the flavour was anything but traditional. Savoury and memorable, if you like truffles you will love the Truffle Martini.
You can find Dr Stravinsky on Carrer dels Mirallers, 5, 08003 Barcelona.
Open every evening from 7 pm.
Expect to pay around 10 euros for a cocktail.