The Cocktail Gadabout #89



  • WGB – Ruby: I was lucky enough to visit the famous Ruby on their 10th anniversary, meaning they had put together an anniversary cocktail menu. The cocktails were what you would expect at a bar that started it all in Scandinavia. The service was exemplary and professional without being pretentious. The bar room is simple but beautiful in the way only ancient European rooms can be. The basement, however, is the place to be at Ruby. Very low ceilings, dim lighting and sumptuous leather furniture in which to sit back and relax. A very special bar.
  • Duck and Cover: Hmm. I was so floored by the feel of this basement bar in a residential neighbourhood, I don’t even know how to put it into words. The owner apparently made a bunch of money in the Danish military and slowly collected the furniture for the bar. The result is a place that literally feels like someone’s apartment, and in a very good, Scandinavian way. The small bar was impressive and my wet martini made with Cocchi was simple but exquisite. It instantly became one of my all-time favourites. Please do not go to Copenhagen without visiting Duck and Cover.
  • Strom: Another basement bar but very different than Duck and Cover. Strom has been a bar in one form or another for over one hundred years, and it feels that way. Brightly lit for a basement bar, the place has that vintage patina that makes one feel instantly welcome. It’s the bar the Copenhagen bartenders call home. Mikael Nilsson was my bartender and is the owner of this great spot.
  • Helium: This is the Copenhagen bar you go to when you’re on a date and you want to dress up a bit. A really beautiful spot, very elegant, dark and bound to impress. The bartenders and cocktails were great, especially their casked Vesper. The Lillet mellowed in the cask and somehow transformed the drink into something soft and inviting. Really incredible.
  • The Barking Dog: The basements of the very old Danish buildings of Copenhagen just scream out to house bars. The Barking Dog was no exception. Very popular among the cocktailing elite in the city, I found it to be good but not as good as those mentioned above.
  • Lidkoeb: A sister bar to Ruby, Lidkoeb thrives as an outdoor bar in a beautiful part of the city. I had one drink, which was fine, and then moved on. Really beautiful spot though.
  • Bronnum: Another sister bar to Ruby, Bronnum feels like the bar in the lobby of a grand old European train station. My thyme-imbued Champagne cocktail was quite incredible, as was the friendly service. Well worth a visit.
  • The Library Bar at The Plaza Hotel: I’m a sucker for hotel bars, and this just might be one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Gabled ceilings and twenty-five feet of old books, old art and old design make The Library Bar is very special. Though I was expecting mediocre cocktails from what I’d heard, the grappa-based Franco I ordered was quite incredible.
  • Curfew: Not one of the bartenders in Copenhagen recommended I try Curfew, despite it being the busiest of the bars I visited. Apparently the owner and head bartender has rubbed the rest of the city’s cocktail scene the wrong way with self-serving hyperbole. Anyway, it was packed and bustling and actually quite fun. The room was stunning, with an amazing attention to detail. The bartenders were very friendly and the vintage drink I had, The Vancouver, was excellent. I’d definitely go back.
  • Gensyn
  • Gilt
  • Atze Peng
  • Balderdash
  • Dispensary

Malmo, Sweden

  • Care Of: I was very fortunate to visit C/O the night Stefan was behind the bar. The Nordic Connection he made for me was without question the best drink I had on my trip. As a Linie Akvavit-based sidecar, I was blown away. The sidecar syrup he used as the sweet in the drink was astonishing. Such a great drink. I think the world will be hearing more of this place in the future.
  • MJ’s: A brand new bar in a newly renovated hotel in Malmo is a stunning hotel bar worth a visit. They appeared to be just getting their cocktail program off the ground when I went but it’s worth it just to sit at the bar and have a glass of Champagne.
  • Renaissance Hotel Bar

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