We have been hearing about Jigger’s – The Noble Drug Store for quite some time now from our friends at Villa Bardon who have a restaurant around the corner from this place. By the way, if you haven’t been to Villa Bardon, then make sure to pay a visit when you are in Gent, Belgium. More about that in another blog.
So it was indeed great that I finally discovered one of Gent’s best kept secrets last Wednesday. Without knowing this secret, you will walk past this splendid cocktail bar and not notice it. But if you look out for the stuffed fox which is the the window, then you are bound not to miss it.
It opens early so if you are just visiting the city, then head there for an aperitif at around 5pm when it opens. Later, you need to make a reservation. You will have to ring the doorbell and then the cocktail barmen will come to open the door, take your jackets and give you a table or if you are lucky place you in front of the bar where you can watch the barmen making their splendid creations of cocktails.
One of the owners of Jigger’s was not there when I visited. It is, however, no wonder that he has won the “Best Cocktail Maker of the Benelux” for the second year in a row.
The cocktails on the menu, which changes very regularly, are incredibly creative using ingredients which you would not imagine in a cocktail. When I was there I tried a Gin, Soda, Sorrel and Aceto Balsamico cocktail which worked perfectly.
As you walk in they offer you a glass of water and then give you a big diary with the week’s cocktails. You can look at the cocktails that have been served in the past and may also try to order them though it depends on what is in season and the ingredients they have available. They are very flexible and can serve cocktails on demand, including the classics.
The atmosphere is American 20’s and the inspiration comes from the American prohibition which was named “The Noble Experiment” by the America government and where alcohol was prohibited.
At the Cocktail Spirits Awards 2013 the bar was named one of the 50 best cocktail bars of Europe underlining the quality of the experience and cocktails Jigger’s offers
By the way, if you smell a smokey flavour while sitting at the bar, it is because they are making a cocktail with a special kind of Chinese tea. The story we were told by one of the cocktail makers is that in the past, the tea was precious in China and to avoid robbers stealing the tea from houses, people used to hide it in chimneys were it got the smokey smell. They use it as a condiment to a Pernod and Lemon Juice cocktail. It is the next on my list when I visit next hopefully some time soon.
Verdict: Unmissable. Make sure you book unless you are going there for an aperitif. Be daring and don’t go for your classic cocktail favourite.
Address: Jiggers can be found in Oudburg 16, Gent and is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 5pm till 1am and Friday and Saturday from 5pm till 2.30pm.