Bram D. Berthelsen, the resident cocktail maestro at Karowa 31, takes a break to pour the Insider a well-earned summer drink…
Cheers, you’ve fixed us a Polish Garden – what’s that then…
Not only is it perfect for the season, it’s something everyone can make at home: elderflower grows wild everywhere, cucumbers are juicier than ever, and we all have a bottle of vodka sitting in the freezer. You just need to put all those to use to make this refreshing summer beverage!
Where does Poland stand in the world of cocktails?
You need to remember the Polish cocktail industry only really started no more than three years ago, so anything new is exciting. We’re not there yet, but we’re growing up fast and strong! Right now we’re seeing lots of speakeasy bars, intimate dive bars, craft cocktails and molecular mixology. Meanwhile, London and the States are moving more into premixing in labs or big kitchens to create unique flavors.
What do Poles hate in cocktails?
Aside from a fly? I’d say too much ice. I guess they think they’ll get more alcohol is there is less ice, but actually the more ice the drink has then the better it is – the drink becomes colder, the ice melts slower and the drink stays good for longer. You know, putting less ice in the glass doesn’t mean we’ll pour more liquid in it, that’d just mess up the recipe…
First rule when creating a cocktail?
Keep it interesting and fun. A tasty drink is a tasty drink, but what about how it looks or smells? If you do something no-one has done before then it becomes more than another cocktail…
Favorite cocktail story?
The Gimlet has a great background. As well as being a kind of hand-held drill used on sailing ships, the Gimlet is one of the oldest naval drinks around. Basically, in the 1860s Mr. Laughlin Rose created a lime cordial now known as Rose’s Lime. It didn’t require refrigeration and this made it invaluable to Royal Navy sailors at risk from contracting scurvy on long voyages. Over time the sailors began adding their daily ration of gin into it, thereby creating the Gimlet in the process.
I’ve got a hangover – what are you prescribing?
Some sort of exercise and a Red Eye – that’s a Bloody Mary with beer and a whole egg!
40ml apple juice
20ml lemon juice
20ml elderflower cordial
(or 1 tsp of sugar)
2 slices of cucumber
(0.5 cm thick)
8 mint leaves
• Add the cucumber to any long glass and muddle. If you don’t have a muddler just use the back of a long wooden spoon to release the juice from the cucumber
• Then take the mint in your hand and bruise the leaves by giving them a light clap, and drop them into the glass
• Add the rest of the ingredients and fill your glass with ice
• Use a long spoon to stir everything together, or just take another glass and pour the liquid back and forth between the two glasses
• Finish by garnishing your cocktail with a sprig of mint and a slice of cucumber and enjoy the nectar through a straw!