The Colonial Café, Tirana, Albania

Stéphane, our Beverage Innovation Director in Western Europe & Mediterranean Countries brings you to Albania to discover the Colonial Café.

Albania is a country that is not often talked about which is a pity - especially in the hospitality industry as it is full of creative and dynamic talents. That is the reason why I would like to take you to Tirana, the capital of Albania, and present you an amazing place called “Colonial Café”.

The place is owned and is still managed by Ilir Dushkaj, whom I met and interviewed to share with you his bar experience.

-Hello Ilir can you please tell me few words about you?

- Hello Stephane, my name is Ilir Dushkai, I have been bartending since 2001. I used to work and manage some cocktail bars in Milan.
In 2011, I‘ve decide to come back to Albania. There was a big potential of growth in the cocktail business. After 6 months of market research, I‘ve found the place and opened the Colonial Café.
Tirana needed at this time a real cocktail bar like the ones we can find in London, Paris or Berlin.
It has been really challenging opening a bar in my own country. For the past 4 years, I have opened 3 bars in Albania (2 in Tirana and 1 in Shkodra) and have been a consultant in the opening of 3 other bars in Tirana. 
I also write newspapers articles and I am part of TV Cocktail programmes.

- How do you find the inspiration when you create a drink?

- I love creating my drinks depending on my customers. I‘ve studied Marketing and Chemistry and this helps me a lot. After a short conversation with my customer, I’m able to create the perfect cocktail, that will fit his tastes and mood. The cocktail has to be different every time. After all those years, my customers trust me, and they always want to try new drinks. The problem is when you don’t have new things to show, but thanks to MONIN this never happens.

- Why do you use MONIN ?

- I love MONIN because it is the perfect combination of quality and variety due to its amazing range. This allows me to bring my fantasy and create great cocktails. Like a painter, in creating drinks, you need a big variety of colours to design something great.

What are the cocktails trends in Albania today?

- Summer Colonial (cocktail based on Vodka and Passion Fruit puree) but thanks to MONIN I can be more and more creative, redesign and create new trends. I also like to surprise my customers by serving cocktails in different containers like tea cups, flowers vase or sea shelves.

Rruga Pjeter Bogdani 3 | Sheshi Dugajt e Reja, Tirana 2000, Albania
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