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What Mies Van Der Rohe Liked Best

October 30th, 2023

God is in the details.

Mies van der Rohe

It has been written before that Mies van der Rohe insisted on only having three essentials in life: cigars, expensive suits, and martinis. When asked the question of ‘what he liked best’ he offered a similar list too: the martinis and cigars remained — the suits were overlooked, however, for his collection of collages by Kurt Schwitters. The specific Schwitters mention aside, both lists are of course lacking in all important detail.

From various biographies and sources, his cigars, quite naturally, seem to have been Cuban – possibly Dunhill-selection Montecristos. When it came to his suits, Mies taste it seems was just as refined — he apparently had a preference for Knize. On the subject of martinis, according, I think, to Lora Marx, his standard martini, at least in later life, was actually an onion garnished Gibson made with Seagram’s gin (for obvious reasons). Try as I might I haven’t been able to find any mention of his choice of vermouth or ratio. What is recalled however is how many he’d drink:

The bar at The Grill in New York City’s Seagram Building. Photo via The New York Times.

“Mies loved well-irrigated gatherings with colleagues and students. His prowess as a drinker was massive, as famously remembered as the identity of his favorite drink, the martini, a passion he cultivated in the United States.

Lora Marx recalled: “At dinner four martinis were standard. Then he would stop. ‘Remember, he would say, ‘After you have had five martinis you never eat dinner.’”

— Mies van der Rohe, by Franz Schulze and Edward Windhorst

Stylishly Yours,

Gary Harrison

Gary Harrison lives with his wife, five children and Labrador retriever outside of London. Gary has been helping people live better lives for over twenty years: Professionally, he is a leading expert in the field of home-technology, and has been consulted on by globally renowned figures of finance, business and entertainment for the design of many of the world’s most notable homes, hotels and superyachts. Gary’s personal interest in men’s lifestyle has resulted in his writing and photography being featured by publishing notables such as Matt Hranek, Yolanda Edwards and Michael Williams. He can be regularly found dining at The Wolseley, and drinking at Dukes Bar where he has been known to exceed the two martini limit.

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Edited by Rachel Butler

Martini Photograph by Gary Harrison


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