Consumatorium Reviews: Craft Bars in Copenhagen, Denmark

1105 Cocktail Bar in CopenhagenFollowing up on our Stockholm bar review last week, the Consumatorium team continued our Northern European tour and headed to Copenhagen, Denmark. There, we found two things that threw us for a loop. One, everything was shockingly expensive and, two, craft cocktails were available everywhere we turned. Or, should I say, really expensive craft cocktails were available everywhere we turned? We decided that if we were going to spend wads of Danish Kroner, we were going to do it at only the best bars in town. Like we say here at the Consumatorium, life is short, don’t waste time on the cheap stuff. Actually, we don’t say that, but it sounds appropriate in this case.

Old Fashioned at 1105

After doing some checking, it appeared that the in crowd was visiting 1105, a small cocktail bar tucked away in what is little more than an alley. We were a bit skeptical because there was almost no one there when we arrived. It turned out that this was great because we got to have a conversation with the very cool bartender about the craft cocktail scene in the City. He made drinks for two of the team using herbs and leaves from plants at the bar, allowing us to try the green foliage while he made the drinks. Since the menu had an Old Fashioned as the first drink listed, I asked for one and it was terrific.

I followed that up with a Sazerac, also prominently listed on the bar menu. I felt a bit strange ordering quintessentially American cocktails in a Danish bar, but the bartender offered that my choices were the basis of most drinks and that’s why he considered them specialties of the house. I like the way they thinks.

We asked the bartender what other bars he would recommend we try. He told us that while his bar was clearly the best, the number two bar in town was Ruby. What he didn’t tell us was that Ruby is, essentially, a speakeasy. We walked by it a couple of times before we even realized it was there.

Ruby Door

You enter Ruby through a door that appears to be the Embassy of some third world country. There is an inner door with  all of the advertising that exists for the place – four inch letters glued to a painted door. We sheepishly poked our heads in and found a terrific space for sitting, talking and consuming great cocktails.

We tried a variety of drinks from their menu, but my favorite was the Rapscallion. The bartender called it their take on a Manhattan, although I found nothing like a Manhattan about it. It combined Talisker Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Pedro Ximenez Sweet Sherry with a Pastis (licorice rinse). The peaty, smokey taste of the Scotch overwhelms the senses at first, which I didn’t like. I also thought the pastis was completely drowned out, which was disappointing to me. After a few sips though, the drink came alive and was fabulous. Very different and totally enjoyable. I didn’t ask the bartender for the specific proportions, so I’ll work o this more and report back with a recipe.

Rapscallion at RubyWhile Ruby and 1105 were outstanding bars, even average bars in Copenhagen were familiar with classic, craft cocktails. Almost all the bars and restaurants we visited knew what a Sazerac was and understood that 7-Up was not an ingredient in an Old Fashioned. It’s too bad that’s not true for most American establishments.

Daiquiri

After I wrote the post on the Whiskey Sour, and having learned a bit more about the Sour family, I decided to dive into the Daiquiri. It’s a classic cocktail, of course, invented early in the 20th century. The Daiquiri is apparently the namesake of a beach and mine in Cuba where a mining engineer allegedly first mixed the concoction. The drink gained greatly in popularity during World War II, due to wartime policies that made whiskey supplies short and rum easy to obtain.

The IBA standard Daiquiri  with a 9:5:3 ratio.

The IBA standard Daiquiri with a 9:5:3 ratio.

It is a simple cocktail to make. Squeeze a lime and pour some light rum, the lime juice, and simple syrup into a shaker filled with ice, and shake aggressively. Strain it into a very cold cocktail glass and garnish with a twist, wedge, half-moon, or circle of lime. The drink has a history of being served over ice, with shaved ice, or even as a frozen Daiquiri with crushed ice, so at a minimum there should be some ice chips floating on top.

I did some experimenting with ratios. Note that I used Bacardi throughout, and keep in mind that I have only recently acquired some taste for sour/citrus cocktails. The IBA recipe is 9:5:3:

  • 1.5 oz light rum
  • 0.83 oz lime juice
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup

This is a great cocktail, surely sour but not painfully so. Of course, it’s annoying to make it this way because you have to measure somewhere between 3/4 oz and 1 oz on the lime juice. Thus, an easy way to adjust it is to go up to a full ounce if you like it more sour, or down to 3/4 if you like it less sour.

Next, I tried the famous David Embury Sour ratio of 8:2:1 (2 oz rum, 0.5 oz lime juice, 0.25 oz simple syrup). This drink was more subtle and interesting, though less refreshing. I’d recommend this in cooler weather; I definitely enjoyed it.

A Daiquiri mixed with the Embury sour ratio of 8:2:1.

A Daiquiri mixed with the Embury sour ratio of 8:2:1.

Then I decided to go more to extremes. I mixed what we might call a Sweet Daiquiri, in an 8:2:2 ratio (i.e., more like our three ingredient cocktails). This drink went down easily, and naturally it is considerably less sour. It might be missing the point, though – a Daiquiri is supposed to be sour. Probably if you’re going to add that much sweetness, it’s worth switching to a sweet liqueur and inventing something altogether new.

Finally, I mixed the rum and lime juice in a 50/50 mixture. This was prodigiously tart and character-building. If you adore sour flavors and lime in particular, mix yourself one of these and shake it until it is very cold. But I can’t recommend it for a cocktail party – your guests will not be able to converse due to their concave cheeks.

Spring is here; for your first barbecue of the season, you would be well served to mix up a pitcher of Daiquiris before dinner.

Consumatorium Reviews: Pharmarium in Stockholm, Sweden

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For most of our readers, Stockholm is not part of the usual pub crawl circuit. That, however, doesn’t keep the Consumatorium team from covering all the bases for our international and traveling followers. And what better bar for us to cover than the … [Continue reading]

Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour is a classic cocktail that you've probably never really had.

There are five distinct components of the sense of taste: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savory. The cocktail repertoire covers all of these in various ways. Today we're going to talk about sours and, in particular, the Whiskey sour. The Sour family … [Continue reading]

Cocktail a la Louisiane – The Best Classic Drink You’ve Never Heard Of

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This drink is more commonly known as the a la Louisiane or just la Louisiane these days. That is, of course, if you can find a bartender who has even heard of it. When a friend recently took me to Tavern Road, the terrific craft bar in Boston, the … [Continue reading]

A Pair of Green Cocktails for St. Patrick’s Day

St Patricks Day Green Drinks

I set out to create a drink for St. Patrick's Day with the following goals. It's main ingredient had to be Irish and the final product had to be green. As it turns out, the green part is a bit challenging. I tried Green Chartreuse, but the amount … [Continue reading]

King Cole Cocktail

King Cole

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while might recall the amaro comparo we did a while back, Amari Throwdown. In it I stated that Fernet-Branca was, "awful . . . just awful." So you might be surprised that I'm posting about a drink … [Continue reading]

Dog Sled Accident

My own version with high-rye bourbon and Amaro Chiocharo

Bourbon and Amaro. That's it. I could end this blog post here, and you could probably figure it out, and it will be good. But if I did that I probably wouldn't be earning my keep. I first tried this drink at my friend John's ski condo - he always … [Continue reading]

Barrel Aging Cocktails – Part II

Barrel Aging Cocktails

Note: This is the second part of a series on aging cocktails in oak barrels. You can find the first part here. A few months ago, I started the process of aging cocktails in barrels. That's not just the spirits themselves, but the entire mixed … [Continue reading]

Mi Amore

Mi Amore

If the French 75 that we posted about yesterday isn’t your valentine’s thing, you may want to offer up this rose-red, sweet cocktail that we came up with. The Mi Amore or My Love. A perfect gift to give if you forgot to get flowers on the way home … [Continue reading]

Valentine’s Day Cocktail – The French 75

French 75 Cocktail

Here at The Consumatorium, we've been on a roll mixing drinks dominated by Rye and Bourbon. In our defense, it's been damned cold outside, Polar Vortex and all, and we needed a little help getting warmed up. But Valentine's Day is just around the … [Continue reading]

1,001 Cocktail Ideas: Improvising with Three Ingredients

The New Orange is a great example of a three ingredient cocktail.

Lately I've been posting most of my cocktail activities on Twitter - you can find out what's going on by searching for #consumatorium. And I encourage all of you to use the same hashtag to post your own adventures! I've been mostly playing with … [Continue reading]

Home Made Amaretto-Maraschino Cherries–Or Not

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If you’re still using store bought Maraschino cherries – those unreally bright red, sickly-sweet ones that you used to enjoy with your Shirley Temple when you were a kid – you need to read this article about how much high fructose corn syrup and red … [Continue reading]

Video: How to do an Absinthe Wash

Absinthe Wash Video

Sometimes, you just want the essence of the spirit you’re using in a drink. If you’re just looking for the aromatics of a mixer or to keep a strong-tasting liqueur from overwhelming a drink, just a little goes a long way. Of course, you can just try … [Continue reading]

Consumatorium Reviews: Wine Clubs

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Wine is an important component of the home bartender's repertoire. When hosting a cocktail or dinner party, there will invariably be some guests who prefer wine over hard liquor. Further, though highballs can be appropriate for dinner, generally wine … [Continue reading]

Consumatorium Reviews: Hawaiian Craft Cocktail Culture

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Hook, Line & Sinker at the Four Seasons Wailea I recently visited Maui with my family – everyone’s of drinking age – and we went on a quest to check out bars and restaurants around Weilea, a resort area of Maui. We fully expect to find menus full … [Continue reading]

Ginger Margarita

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Caramba! This is a good one. It is adapted from the recipe booklet that comes with the Domaine de Canton, and if you like a marg you will enjoy this cocktail. At first sniff and sip, I thought it might be another "too much Mezcal" drink, but no. And … [Continue reading]

Monkey Gland

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Continuing with our Classics series, I mixed up a Monkey Gland the other night. It's a fine cocktail, probably more appropriate for spring but that didn't stop me from consuming every last drop. It has its origins in the 1920s, first served at a New … [Continue reading]

Barrel Aging at Home – Part I

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A few months ago, my wife bought me a 2-liter oak barrel used for aging spirits. Who knew such a thing existed on such a small scale? As it turns out, you can get barrels in almost any size you’d like. Small barrels age the wine, spirits or beer … [Continue reading]

Classic Martinez

Martinez

I tried a few times to make a Martinez for our Classics series, and each time I messed up and made the Modern Martinez instead. This is because most recipes now use the modern ratios (much stronger), and you have to look specifically for the classic … [Continue reading]

A Merry Consumatorium Christmas to All

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We hope that all our readers have a terrific Christmas celebration. Please don’t consume too much, but definitely mix a fun drink or two for the holiday.Thanks to Dave and Maureen for the perfect new Christmas tree ornaments! … [Continue reading]

Orange Sazerac

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Yes, it’s true. I’m officially a Sazeracoholic. I love these things. Strong taste, dominated by the base liquor, plus just the right added flavor from the other ingredients to make it completely unique. The flourish required to make it properly is … [Continue reading]

The Last Word

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Never fear, loyal Consumatorium readers, we are not shutting down. No, The Last Word is a prohibition-era cocktail that was rediscovered and popularized about a decade ago. It's tasty and tart, and while the first sip is a little overpowering, it … [Continue reading]

The New Orange

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It is fairly widely known that the southern tip of Manhattan was originally settled by the Dutch and was called New Amsterdam. What is not as well known - and I certainly did not know it until I did the research for naming this cocktail - is that it … [Continue reading]

Today is the 80th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition – Let’s Celebrate!

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The Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, banning the production, transport and sale (but not the private consumption or ownership) of alcoholic beverages was ratified by the requisite 3/4ths of the then 48 states on January 16, 1919. … [Continue reading]