Not that long ago, Copenhagen was synonymous with the traditional Scandinavian spirit aquavit in drinkers’ minds. While you can still find the caraway seed-flavored liquor, it’s now just as easy to get a delicious cocktail.
In fact, some bartending royalty descended on the city for the first Copenhagen Spirits and Cocktails show earlier this year. Liquor.com advisors David Wondrich and Dale DeGroff, plus Angus Winchester, David Kaplan and Alex Day, were among the event’s speakers.
Here are a few of my favorite places to visit in Denmark’s capital.
Gromit Eduardsen is a celebrity behind the stick in Copenhagen and is often credited as the founder of the country’s mixology movement. At 1105, he and his team fix great drinks in large volumes for an attractive crowd. What to Drink: No. 4 (gin, lime juice, honey, cardamom, black pepper)
Bar Rouge looks like your typical boutique hotel bar: minimalist design, chic furniture and dim lighting. But as soon as you open the menu, you realize you’re somewhere special. Choose from a large assortment of classic and original concoctions. What to Drink: Corn N’Oil (Gosling’s Rum, Angostura Bitters, velvet falernum)
While Denmark may be far from tropical, its one and only tiki bar, The Brass Monkey, consistently hits the mark. Not only does it provide wonderful drinks and a taste of sunshine during the long Scandinavian winter, but it also has Denmark’s largest rum collection. What to Drink: Dr Voodoo’s Brew (Brugal Rum infused with safari tea, guava juice, apple juice)
The last thing you’d expect to find inside the more-than-300-year-old Moltke’s Palace is a New York-style speakeasy. The establishment is known for both its old-school elixirs and expert service. But be warned: It’s only open on Friday nights. The rest of the time, it’s used as a mixological classroom. What to Drink: Moltke’s Club (Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac, lemon juice, simple syrup, mint)
If Wes Anderson had a bar, I imagine it would look a lot like Ruby. The sophisticated joint, which consists of several living-room-like settings, is full of memorabilia, photographs and a fantastic collection of vintage bottles. The bartenders are highly skilled and serve experimental and classic tipples. It’s also the only place I know of that plays stand-up comedy on the speakers in the bathroom. What to Drink: Rhubarb & Champagne (Chilean pisco, fresh ginger, house-made rhubarb syrup, Agrapart & Fils Champagne)
Salon 39, Vodroffsvej 39, Frederiksberg, 45 3920 8039:
Throughout the summer, Salon 39 has been paying homage to Havana’s famed El Floridita bar and offering a menu of Cuban classics and cigars. Once the bar returns to normal at the end of the month, you’ll be able to enjoy tasty libations from up-and-coming bartenders such as Terkel Miguel Kleist, Mikael Nilsson and Andreas Nilsson. What to Drink: Eureka (Plymouth Sloe Gin, calvados, Cherry Herring, lemon juice)
Walking into this hidden gem (pictured above), I felt like I had entered a den of iniquity…complete, of course, with well-made cocktails. Fortunately, across the bar was the familiar and welcoming face of Geoffrey Canilao, a veteran of New York’s Employees Only. What to Drink: Drugstore Cowboy (white rum, lemon juice, simple syrup, house-made lemon curd, ginger wine)
Looking for more great watering holes? Check out our bar guide for the best bars in the world.
Simon Ford is an award-winning bartender and director of trade outreach and brand education for Pernod Ricard USA. He is also a Liquor.com advisor.