Behind the Bar Snap Shot

In Budapest, a Bar Where Cocktails and Music Play for Each Other

A new bar in a new Budapest hotel wants to cover all its bases, whether those be musical or cocktail.

“We all experience and consume music just as we do food: to nourish our bodies and souls,” explains bar manager Tibor Kupcsik about the inspiration for the new Aria hotel’s drink menu.

He notes that he and Kornél Magyar, the hotel’s musical director, “exchange ideas and work together to create a flavor profile,” one that is conveyed with words that are also used to describe music. “There is a reason people talk about their ‘taste in music.’”

Aria’s cocktail program is divided into four musical themes.

Let the Music Play On

The hotel—which opened in spring 2015—has a cocktail program divided into four themes. “Classical and opera have such a rich history in this part of the world, but jazz and contemporary music cover so much of what has happened around the world since those forms began,” explains Magyar. “Anyone who is looking for a specific type of music in Budapest can find it.”

Magyar, raised in a family of musicians, was discovered on LinkedIn and pursued for his diverse background, having worked with the Danubia Symphony Orchestra Obuda and the Modern Art Orchestra, a jazz big band in Budapest.

The Gardener cocktail, made with Hungarian fruit brandy as its base.Â.

Into the Glass

The bar manager, Kupcsik, created the menu not surprisingly while listening to music. “Composers and musicians create melodies and harmonies that satisfy our ears in the same way chefs and bartenders create food and drinks to satisfy taste buds.”

The idea to have musically inspired drinks came from Aria’s sister property in New York, the Library Hotel, which serves literary-inspired cocktails. Champagne was chosen as the base for the Aria Royal cocktail, as Kupcsik finds the same timeless notes in Champagne as in classic music. The cocktail contains Cherry Herring, fresh sour cherries, tangerine and Taittinger Brut. “Champagne has the characteristic and elegance of operas. Like melodies, the bubbles get into one’s head so easily.”

Next came a New Orleans–inspired drink created when the bar staff was talking about jazz and its origins. One of the most Hungarian-driven cocktail inspirations is the The Gardener, with Hungarian fruit brandy as its base. “We wanted to have a cocktail option that reflects our passion for Hungarian gastronomy and pálinka,” the country’s famed fruit brandy.

Aria Hotel

Budapest, Hercegprímás 5, 1051 Hungary

+36 1 445 4055