THE ELEPHANT PEOPLE: Robin Van der Kaa
Elephant Gin is a drink crafted by passion – passion for gin and passion for elephants. In this new series, we want to introduce individuals, who are similarly passionate about what they do and who live in pursuit of their goals.
ROBIN VAN DER KAA – Barman, Journalist, Graphic Designer and Gentleman.
Born and raised in Rotterdam, Robin started working in bars when he was 18 years old. “Back then it was just a way to fund my creative projects, graphic design and playing in bands. In those days the Do-It-Yourself ethic was really important… I still believe today, that the attitude of those times was a great way to learn and it was important to do things for passion rather than money.”
After touring all over Europe in several bands, working in many bars and studying Journalism, Robin relocated to Berlin. After initially working purely in graphic design, he decided to get back into the bar scene, accepting a job at the ever popular Neue Odessa Bar. Within a few years, Robin was bar manager at Odessa. “We really did pride ourselves on our cocktails there and strived to make the best drinks possible in such a fast paced busy environment. All the bartenders at Odessa have skills and actually care about what they are doing, even though it is not a super high end cocktail joint.“ In this time he also saw Berlin changing and the demands of the customers evolving. “Years ago Berlin was fairly unsophisticated with its drinking culture. People mostly drank beer or pure spirits. In the last few years that has really changed. People are more educated and ask for boutique brands. When they ask for Gin, they ask specifically for Elephant Gin or similar products (…) and specific mixers, such as boutique tonic waters, because they have learned that their drinks will actually taste better with a finer mixer.“
In the last few months, Robin left Odessa to concentrate more fully on his other work. As editor-in-Chief of Man Got Style, Robin and his team are building a website that is dedicated to quality. “We do stories on everything that is well-made, stylish and has some longevity. Whether that is furniture, clothes, architecture or lifestyle products, we look for things that are made with care, as well as being aesthetically pleasing. Elephant Gin definitely fits to that criteria, small production, hand-made bottles and high level of quality.“
Robin’s awesome graphic design work.
Robin’s Berlin bar tips-
*Neue Odessa Bar
*Buck and Breck
Text and images supplied by Jasper Greig