The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Laura Schacht’s La Caoba

Laura Schacht represented Switzerland at the World Class Bartender of the Year final, 2013

Getting high up in Zurich need not involve funiculars to snow capped peaks, or working in financial management, but a trip to Clouds bar at the top of Switzerland’s tallest building. The venue has particular specialities in rums and gins (it even has its own Swiss-distilled Clouds Gin), and along with its sister brasserie and restaurant, run by Spanish chef David Martinez Salvany and freshly drizzled with a Michelin star, occupies the 35th floor of Prime Tower. Thus Clouds promises exceptional Helvetian views, more up and down than sideways, replete with cuckoo clock barns and sensible savings banks. While the restaurant gets the sunrise and lake vista, the bar has the sunset, and makes the most of it with the soaring windows.

The Bartender

Laura Schacht, 24, originally hails from Hamburg, but has spent the last four years in Zurich, working at Monkey Bar Fumoir and Tao’s before moving to Clouds two years ago. She credits Mario Kappes from Le Lion in her hometown for inspiring her to be a bartender and Mike Meinke in Berlin for teaching her the basics. Laura takes a very seasonal and regional approach to her creations, going as far as drying wild flowers herself to mix in with her drinks. Often starting out with what’s best at market, her only credo is to keep things simple.

The Drink

La Caoba is typical of Laura’s drinks: ‘When I make drinks I have a sense of colour in mind, and when I smell or taste something often a colour appears,’ she explains. ‘When I try Zacapa I see this rich sumptuous woody hue, and “la caoba” is Spanish for mahogany.’

Around this she gathers Port and locally distilled cherry brandy on her colour mood board and a rye bread infusion, which blends deep-fried pumpernickel with Ron Zacapa (infused for 24 hours before freezing and filtration).

The Technique

Ron Zacapa XO • 40ml
Ruby Port • 20ml
Deep-fried rye bread infusion • 7ml
Dettling wild cherry brandy • 5ml
Simple sugar syrup • 5ml
Contains 19 grams of alcohol per serve

Stir all the ingredients on ice. Serve in a simple tumbler on an ice-rock or ice-ball.

It’s a drink for a cold winter evening with a good friend and a log fire; if you’re in Clouds get there before sunset and grab a table by the window and enjoy with pralinés of rye bread, foie gras or Port-soaked figs.

Here the colours of dusk are echoed by a bar and a huge backboard in burnished copper and the sinking sun is reflected in glossy black walls – enjoy the spectacle with this delicious sundowner.

Images by Tony Perez

Laura’s Insider’s Guide to Zurich

Place to stay
Kafi Schnaps

Place to eat
Clouds restaurant

Place to relax
Werdinsel in summer

Place to lounge
Maison Blunt

Place to Dance

Place to shop

Place to visit
Schauspielhaus Theatre

Place to see
Cycle around Lake Zurich