In Movies & TV

Charles Schumann is a dude who knows his cocktails.

5 reasons to drink in "Schumann's Bar Talks" during the MKE Film Festival

In a city with a burgeoning cocktail scene, it's worthwhile to take note when the U.S. premiere of a cocktail-related film comes to town. And, if you have a penchant for well-made tipples, it's also worthwhile to consider a film that features a world-renowned bartender as he explores some of the world's best cocktail bars.

Plus, our own Matt Mueller (who knows a bit about movies), puts the film right at the top of his list of must-sees.

But, if you still need convincing, here are five good reasons to get to the theater and take it all in.

1. Charles Schumann is a cool cocktail dude

He's stylish. And seasoned. And – in Europe and beyond – Charles Schumann's name has become synonymous with cocktails. He's written about them, influenced them and served them at his now-legendary bar, Schumann's in Munich, Germany.

Karl Georg Schumann's career began in Switzerland where he fell in love with the hospitality industry while studying hotel management. From there, he made a name for himself – literally – working in a variety of nightclubs in the South of France, where he became known as "Charles." By the early 1970s, he returned to Germany, where he began tending bar at Harry's New York Bar in Munich. Nearly a decade later, he opened Schumann's American Bar at the Maximilianstrasse 36 in 1982.

On the side, he earned a living as a model, working for the likes of Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons and as the face of Baldessarini, Hugo Boss's luxury menswear line. And you need to do little more than Google his name to find hundreds of dashing images.

2. You might learn something.

Schumann is a man filled with opinions, particularly when it comes to cocktails. His best-selling cocktail book, "The American Bar," – which is both a reference book and collection of anecdotes – has wielded influence among bartenders across the world. And it was, in its time, declared "the drink-mixer's bible" by by The New York Times. It's the sort of thing that's earned Schumann respect and honors, including a 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.

Among other things (like his motto: "Do it completely or not at all; there is nothing in between.") Schumann is known for cocktails like his gimlet, the Gin Dandy, which – even 15 years ago – was made with freshly squeezed lemon juice. However, he's also known for his approach behind the bar, which relies on keen observation and skill in predicting exactly what his customers want to drink.

Schumann's Bar Talks - TRAILER from Autlook Filmsales on Vimeo.

3. It's a global affair

Among the bars visited by Schumann in the film are New York's Dead Rabbit (World's Best Bar 2016), the Victoria Bar in Berlin, the Hemingway Bar in Paris, Floridita in Cuba and the High Five Bar in Tokyo. The film is augmented with bartender interviews, and cinematic flourishes related to the making of cocktails.

4. You can say you saw it first

Milwaukee Film Festival has nabbed the U.S. premiere of the film. So, you can see the movie before all of your cool bartender friends in other more snooty cocktail cities and gloat about it on social media.

5. You can enjoy a cocktail afterward

Milwaukee is still a largely hidden gem for craft cocktails. But, that's OK. We all know what we've got, even if the rest of the world is yet to discover it. And you can revel in that fact while sampling drinks from some of the best bartenders in the city during a post-film event on Sept. 30 called "The Craft of the Cocktail" during which the former laundromat at 1924 E. Kenilworth Pl. is transformed into a cocktail lounge by Relics Vintage Rentals.

During the event, cocktails will be slung by bartenders from Bryant's Cocktail Lounge, Goodkind, Dock18 Cocktail Lab, Boone & Crockett, Badger Liquor, Story Hill BKC, The Jazz Estate, Vermuteria 600 and Sprezzatura.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10 (cash only at the door) and includes drink sampling and appetizers. A cash bar will also be available.

Schumann's Bar Talks screens at the Oriental Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m. and at the Downer Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m.


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