For my second visit to the Schöneberg cocktail scene (find my report of the first here), my friend suggested Salut, an exclamation-mark adorned place I must have walked by a hundred times on my way to her house from Nollendorfplatz. Now Salut takes its commitment to nostalgia very seriously, opting, instead of a simple door or even the fancier doorbell situation familiar from many a speakeasy-type bar (such as the nearby Green Door), for an old-school knocker instead. Upon knocking, a little light flashed inside and the door opened to a waistcoated young man who gave us the pick of the two Jugendstilized rooms. It was still early, around 9pm, so there were just a few people at the bar, and we chose one of the big leather couches on the far end of the other room; the rest of the dim-lit bar would slowly fill up as we downed our first and second cocktails, reaching a bubbly kind of state by 11pm.
The cocktail menu, when the handsome waiter passed them out, we found to be not as dizzyingly extensive as it often is in other places. Instead there’s a very enticing gin/tonic pairing section (though for me that will have to wait until warmer winds roll in) and plenty of unfamiliar, quirky drinks featuring ingredients prepared in-house—a saffron-flavored gin, for instance, livens up their “Kashmir” variation on the classic martini. Even the more traditional or overly familiar drinks sometimes had optional twists and tweaks; I personally really enjoyed the whiskey sour prepared with a smokier whiskey and mixed with egg white, like a frothy French cigarette. On the whole, drinks were on the sweet side, but I’m sure that I can ask them to make mine a little drier next time; the bartenders were even flexible enough to whip up a lavender gimlet my friend had been dreaming about ever since she had them when they were a special menu item aeons ago. I snuck a sip, and it tasted like summer.