Best gin cocktails in Copenhagen
Beefeater Mixldn 2017 Danish finals
These days everyone loves gin and the classic gin based cocktails like the martini, the negroni and the Clover Club.
However gin can be used for much more than the well-known classics and recently our local cocktail pioneers were challenged to bring gin into unchartered territory with inspiration from their own city.
The occasion was the Danish finals of the global Beefeater gin cocktail competition (Mixldn 2017) at bar 7 on the 1st of October. Here Marianna Kozanyiova from Curfew was crowned Danish champion among 12 select bartenders who had all submitted great cocktails for the competition.
We were there to interview the winner and report from the event. Find our interview with Marianna below along with the recipe for her winning cocktail The North Land Reviver and a few other amazing creations from some of the other competitors.
How was it to participate, and what was the most challenging part for you?
Marianna: This was my first cocktail competition. I enjoyed the whole process, from doing the research, through ingredients testing, to writing the final pitch. The most challenging part for me was to see my competitors present amazing cocktails and still stay calm and believe in the cocktail I was representing.
What does it mean for you to have won the Danish finals?
Marianna: I started at Curfew as a bar-back and the owner Humberto Marques offered me the opportunity to become a bartender and taught me everything I know. After several months, I moved up behind the bar and earned the privilege to wear the Curfew shoulder straps. Winning the Danish finals is the next important step for me. I see it as a wonderful recognition and a huge responsibility. It is a privilege to go to London and meet the world’s most experienced gin master distiller Desmond Payne!
How do you find it interesting to work with gin and how did you come up with your winning cocktail?
Marianna: In general the botanicals of gin offer great opportunities for flavor pairing but of course each gin has a unique character. In my cocktail The North Land Reviver, each ingredient was chosen to interact with the characteristic flavor components of the iconic Beefeater London Dry gin.
The North Land Reviver
The Northland Reviver revives the Nordic flavours of the Danish national spirit Akvavit by using its two main flavor components dill and caraway (download our free ebook on aquavit cocktails for more inspiration), along with local sour buckthorn berries. A bit of orange bitters and Lillet Blanc (fortified wine), brings dryness and fruitiness to complement the gin. A spray of absinthe strengthens the herbal flavours and enhances the liquorice notes of the Beefeater London Dry gin.
5cl Beefeater London Dry gin
3cl buckthorn,dill and caraway oxymel*
1,5cl lemon juice
1,5cl Lillet Blanc
2 sprays of absinthe
2 dashes of orange bitters
Pour all ingredients into a shaker, add ice, shake well and double strain into chilled rimmed glass. Garnish: Dry buckthorn powder rim**
*An oxymel is made to preserve flavors like a shrub. The core of oxymel consists of vinegar (oxy = acid), honey (= mel) and herbs whereas a shrub is made with sugar and often made to preserve berries rather than herbs.
Marianna: To make the Oxymel I first blended together vinegar, honey, dill, caraway and buckthorn berries. As a second step, I used a vacuum sealer system to prepare the ingredients for “slow cooking” in a Sous Vide machine at 60 °C for 30 minutes. This process blends all the flavors together and brings out the herbal flavors, so the sour taste of buckthorn berries is not overpowering. Finally I fine strained the oxymel before using it in the cocktail.
**Blend dry frozen buckthorn berries into a powder. Rim the cocktail glass with absinthe and appy the powder.
A comment from the global brand ambassador and head judge
It was a really well thought out drink and her inspiration was clearly seen in the ingredients. The balance and aroma was perfect, Beefeater gin really shone through and the Pernod Absinthe aroma reminded me of my love of the Corpse Reviver No. 2 .
I would absolutely order it in her bar! I look forward to see how she performs at the Global finals!”
– Sumaiyah Connolly, Global Brand Ambassador for Beefeater and Plymouth
For more insights on how Marianna made her way into the cocktail scene of Copenhagen, read our separate post on The North Land Reviver.
A few dilicious runner-up cocktails
Find below some of the delicious runner-up cocktails as well as the Norwegian national winner:
“Eir’s Touch” by Damiano Pezzi from Restaurant Kul
Shake all the ingredients, fine strain into a cocktail glass and top with Licorice & Yoghurt Foam
Garnish: 1 burnt licorice root, 1 pinch licorice flakes, 1 pinch sea salt flakes and 1 Dill sprig.
“A pinch of diversity” by Mikkel Vingård from Blume cocktail bar
Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain over ice in a high ball glass. Garnish with cherries coated in viola dust
“Copenhagen Centuries” by Nicolas Skovgaard from Helium cocktail bar
45 ml. Beefeater London Dry
20 ml. Lillet sous vide with strawberry
7,5 ml Creme de cacao
20 ml. Rhubarb & (Wood) Sorrel Cordial
Stir all ingredients, serve up, spray with “Sorrel mist” (Beefeater Dry + (Garden) Sorrel juice) and garnish with a wood sorrel
“Min by” by Maxime Verrier from The Thief cocktail bar in Oslo (Norwegian winner cocktail)
25ml “Min By” syrup*
7.5ml lime juice
2 dash kombu saline solution
Shake all ingredients with ice, fine strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with strawberry paper**.
*”Min By” syrup:
800g fresh strawberry, 3 leaves kombu seaweed, 15 highly roasted coffee beans, 17% sugar. Put everything in a sous vide bag. Put the bag under water at 80°C for 1 hour, and fine strain.
**Blend the leftover (solid) and place it on a flat sheet in the dehydrator for 8 hours. Then your strawberry paper is ready for use.
The criteria and the prize of the Mixldn 2017 competition
Aside from the generic criteria of appearance, balance and originality the competing bartenders were held accountable to the criteria of whether the cocktail leveraged the characteristic flavor nuances of the chosen Beefeater gin and whether it had a clear conceptual reference to the city it was supposed to represent.
This year’s winner will be invited to London to create and distill his or her own gin. In collaboration with Beefeater Master Distiller Desmond Payne, the global winner will select a range of botanicals to create a limited edition signature blend with the winning cocktail recipe featured on the label.
Most photos in this post are shot by Anders De Lichtenberg. For more on craft cocktails, unique bars and creative bartenders sign up to our monthly newsletter and stay tuned!