cocktail entrepreneur

Ricardo Sporkslede

It’s a timeless subject in practically every culture that’s touched our globe. It’s been at the center of social occasions for thousands of years, from the story of Jesus transforming water into wine to Don Draper’s famous brown bottle pour before noon. Even actress Betty Davis once said, “There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.” The act of imbibing alone or with friends is something profoundly cultural. What we choose to drink can become our signature, how we celebrate momentous occasions with lively or tearful toasts, whether we choose a refined gin or whiskey, cocktails find themselves at the heart of many affairs to remember.

Ricardo Sporkslede knows this all too well. His desire to elevate the social experience through libations is how he became one of Holland’s most well-known bartenders. Sporkslede is not only what some would call a mixologist, but a bartender with a passion to advance the profession of catering cocktails. In 2002 he opened The Fabulous Shaker Boys, and they have successfully poured their way to the top as the leader in international hospitality and bartending, catering more than 400 events annually.

citizen Ricardo says:

Let’s do it.

When it comes to how particular people are about their drink-of-choice, it only makes sense to learn from the best. In fact, Sporkslede designs the cocktail menus of all citizenM hotels, and his expert mixologists from The Fabulous Shaker Boys carefully train each Ambassador to shake the best cocktails. Is it surprising this is one of the most important parts of training citizenM Ambassadors undergo? You certainly wouldn’t want to be served a ‘Sazerac’ when you ordered a ‘Dark and Stormy’, both of which excellent dark liquor selections, yet rum and cognac are so different on the palate.

In the past year Sporkslede opened The Butcher within the Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam. What appears to be an upscale butcher shop is actually a very swanky burger bar, voted best burger in Amsterdam by Time Out Magazine. Now, wait. What happened to the cocktail entrepreneur? Why a burger bar? Because we’re not just talking burgers here. To the untrained eye it’s impossible to know there’s a hidden cocktail bar just steps from the front door, where the sophistication and flash of The Fabulous Shaker Boys is hard at work. You’ll find Sporkslede’s passion for bartending—his candid appreciation for the art of liquor as a religion or lifestyle—in his very own speakeasy.

Next time you feel like being wowed at the bar, reserve an evening at The Butcher for a bite. We can’t exactly tell you how to get in (you’ll receive code words upon booking), but we can tell you it will be an affair to remember.