30 different types of spirits and just as many liqueurs | © Edith Danzer
  • Cuisine

Exquisite drops

Finest distillates and gin from Saalbach Hinterglemm

He goes by the nickname “Dr. Vogelbeere” (Dr. Rowanberry) and has made a big name for himself with his luxury distillery in the last few years. Bartl Enn is a creative and passionate distiller whose career began with a high-proof idea.

Upon entering the little distillery in Hinterglemm at Hasenbachweg, I am received by Christmassy aromas and the scent of alcohol. The copper distillation machine, which immediately catches the eye when coming in, is simmering ahead. Obviously, Bartl Enn is busy producing a new, exquisite drop. Countless of gold medals across his wall prove that the spirits and liqueurs made in the Enn house also fare well with the taste buds of international critics and judges.

The scent of Christmas

The distiller laughs when I ask him why it smells of Christmas and says, “We’re in the final stages of the production of our new Christmas trilogy. Baked apple, vanilla crescent cream liqueur and chocolaty, nutty festive liqueur. This is how fine distillate enthusiasts get even more excited about Christmas.” Next to these specialities, Bartl Enn impresses with an incredible number of 30 different types of spirits and just as many liqueurs. From domestic classics such as “Vogelbeere” (rowanberry) or “Enzian” (Gentian) to “Dr. Guyot-Birne” (Dr. Guyot Pear, he received the most awards for this particular schnapps), “Alter Apfel” (Old Apple), “Pistazie” (Pistachio) or the “TEH- Kräuterbitter” (TEH Herbal Bitter) with 40 different domestic herbs.

 

It all began with a high-proof idea

But back to the rowanberry and the idea that got everything started. Bartl Enn likes to tell this story and he begins to pour some rowanberry schnapps into the beautifully crafted glasses. “Just about two decades ago, my friends and I went on a skiing trip. On top of the summit, and whilst celebrating our climb with a little schnapps, we realised that we could very well distil this kind of rowanberry schnapps ourselves. I experimented with it a little and by 1985, I had distilled my first schnapps with domestic rowanberries – in 1997, I opened my own distillery. What started out as a crazy idea became a hobby, the hobby turned into a profession. Today my wife Monika and I work in the distillery and our niece Sylvia Kofler has also been supporting us starting this year,” he says. Responding to my question regarding the secret of the excellent quality of his spirits, the passionate distiller says, “We only use hand-picked fruit of the best quality. And we also try to stay creative.” This creativity can be witnesses in their most recent high-proof products. A six-year-old rum made from sugar beets from Indonesia and Paraguay. A clear nutcracker liqueur without cream or the “Kriecherl” made from wild plums.

Gin made in Glemmtal

Bartl Enn has created a particular masterpiece with his own distilled gin. Known locally as Wacholderschnaps or the favourite drink of the Queen-Mum, gin is currently undergoing an absolute renaissance and has become the ultimate scene drink. Even before trying it, I can detect a clear juniper note. The different aromas help the “Enn-Gin” acquire its balanced flavour, and whilst I still ponder which other ingredients might have been added to the pure gin, the spirit distiller already begins to tell me, “Cranberry is the main ingredient in my gin. Early on, I experimented with 120 different ingredients and herbs, and I ultimately ended up choosing the 44 most harmonious of them and combined them with alcohol in order to produce my first batch. Among other ingredients, the gin also contains ginger, lemongrass and pepper.”

 

You say gin and I say tonic!

Gin is usually served in combination with tonic as a long drink, which is why the creative distiller did not hesitate to make his own tonic as well. “I gave the development of the tonic over to my niece. After plenty of research, Sylvia created our new tonic syrup from eleven different ingredients, which is then simply combined with carbonated water before use. But there are also small volumes with prepared blends for long drinks.”

However, high-proof beverages are not the only things produced in the Enn house, because I soon notice little bottles with labels saying “drinking vinegar”. “That’s something very healthy,” says Bartl Enn and explains, “a sip of apple vinegar in the morning on an empty stomach has always been a popular home remedy. It has antibacterial properties, stimulates circulation and also helps with weight loss. We have four different types of especially mild drinking vinegar on offer – date, pineapple, apple and elderflower. Of course, you can also use it as a salad dressing, but you should really be enjoying it sip by sip!” Then a group of visitors enters the distillery, most likely also looking forward to enjoying something “sip by sip”. They are there to sample products before stocking up on high-proof souvenirs from Saalbach Hinterglemm. Bartl Enn is happily available for sampling during the distillery’s opening hours from 08:00 am to 6:00 pm.

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