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Zermatt: Elli at the Hexenbar is the best barkeeper in Switzerland


Elvira Bachanek (31) received the renowned Swiss Bar Awards “Barkeeper of the Year 2012” title in Zurich at the end of September. The successful barkeeper has been working at the Hexenbar in Zermatt for the last five years.

The qualified hotel manageress, trained in Germany, is charming, speedy and skilful as well as an acclaimed cocktail mixer. And now she’s Switzerland’s best barkeeper. Elvira Bachanek, known as Elli, has reached the very top thanks to her knowledge and skill. She hails from the German island of Usedom in the Baltic Sea and came to Zermatt through a bet. The background: “I was told I would never manage to leave home,” she says. She didn’t take that lying down and shortly afterwards left to work in Zermatt. She first spent three years at the Hotel Ambassador before, via other jobs, arriving on Bahnhofstrasse. Here she has been welcoming and serving guests in the Hexenbar for five years and is one of Zermatt’s most popular barkeepers.

It’s all about regular guests

Despite meeting some problems in Switzerland at the beginning, Elvira Bachanek has managed it. But first she had to get used to the Zermatt dialect. A classic German-Swiss German misunderstanding occurred once – but only once – in the early days, when she served a guest a Fanta (soft drink) because she didn’t understand that he wanted Fendant (wine).

The team and Elli make the Hexenbar. On her return from the Swiss Bar Awards presentation in Zurich, she saw affectionate congratulations written on the glass panels on “her bar”. She is happy in the team, in the hotel, with her boss – and most importantly – with the regular guests. “The great thing in Zermatt is that guests come back year after year. It would hurt me if regular guests didn’t come through the door every year,” she says.

Internet and hard work
The path to the title was long. Elli’s colleagues initially entered her for the award without her knowledge. Then followed an elaborate procedure with several rounds via Internet votes, a test on knowledge of Switzerland and then the final with show cocktail mixing. Elli’s employer sponsored a coach which carried 60 regular guests from Zermatt to Zurich to the final. This made big atmosphere. Eli brought it all together to take the hard-earned first place. The support and the congratulations of her regular guests “were big pleasure”, she says, modestly but delightedly.
The Green Harry recipe
4cl              London Gin No 1, Original Blue Gin
3clBols Kiwi Liqueur
4 clOrange juice
10 clGrapefruit juice
1 dashLemon juice
1 clBlue Curaçao syrup
Beigabe1 cm thick slice of cucumber cut into quarters

Shake all liquids together with ice cubes. Pour into a 5 dl glass. Add cucumber slices.

Elli’s tip: 
“The cucumber slices mean that the alcohol doesn’t taste too strong.” Elli chose the name “The Green Harry” after the most famous wizard, Harry Potter. And green, because that’s the colour of the witches (Hexen) of the Hexenbar.

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