Himkok is like Disneyland for any working bartender. The magic begins within the award-winning venue’s “distillery bar” on the bottom flooring, probably the most revolutionary of the three ideas housed contained in the huge Nineteenth-century warehouse in Oslo, Norway. Because the title suggests, the distillery bar is the place Himkok’s personal microdistillery is proudly on show, positioned in clear view behind a glass wall for visitors to watch as they drink. With a small hybrid nonetheless, the Himkok group crafts their very own Nordic aquavit, vodka and gin, that are utilized in a variety of cocktails.
Not solely does Himkok make the vast majority of the spirits for its drinks—about 80 %—in-house, but it surely additionally produces all the clear ice for every of its busy bars. Within the ice manufacturing room, which is match with a completely functioning Clinebell machine (a industrial ice maker), these on the bar employees hand-cut 300-pound blocks with numerous saws and ice instruments for service.
By means of the seasonal “cider backyard” terrace bar and up a few flights of stairs sits the “taptail bar”—the high-volume area with a variety of cocktails on draft—with an sudden unbiased barber store catering to bartenders and different locals nestled into the again of the room. Up another flight of stairs is Himkok’s analysis and improvement lab, which is supplied with the most effective of bartending expertise, from a centrifuge to a rotary evaporator and past. The lab is the center of Himkok’s artistic engine. To grasp Himkok is to grasp its terribly strong setup, the nexus for cocktails which are simply as spectacular because the area.
Although Himkok employs a variety of revolutionary methods to change and improve its drinks, it’s all in service of “staying true to the encircling nature and native accessibility,” says Paul Aguilar, head of analysis and improvement. As a lot because the bar group pushes the boundaries in its recipe improvement course of, every drink is designed to nonetheless be approachable to any drinker. The most recent menu makes use of acquainted Scandinavian produce to evoke recollections of conventional Norwegian dishes and candy treats, such because the Bun: a lush, clarified cocktail impressed by a Norwegian pastry known as skolebrød, made with fat-washed bourbon, coconut flakes and butter.
Himkok’s Beetroot cocktail, which is served on the distillery bar, takes a extra summary method. The recipe, created by bar supervisor Maroš Dzurus, originated from a want to develop a Martini that showcases the earthy and vibrant flavors of the basis greens (recognized merely as beets within the U.S. and Canada), a staple in Norwegian delicacies.
On the base of the drink is a distillate produced from beetroot juice, Himkok vodka and a contact of chipotle chile, distilled below vacuum. The consequence is an ideal stability of earthiness and spice, and it’s crystal-clear due to the rotary evaporator.
Subsequent, the bar creates a reindeer moss discount. Reindeer moss, often known as reindeer lichen, is often discovered within the Arctic and has an earthy, mushroom-like taste profile. To make the discount, Himkok combines the reindeer moss with sugar and Chablis, heating the combination till it has cooked down right into a syrup. This part “enhances the pure sweetness of the beetroot, whereas additionally including a refreshing and balanced aspect to the cocktail,” says Aguilar. The moss’s influence is a refined one, but it surely amplifies the earthiness of the bottom spirit and highlights one other ingredient native to Norway.
To spherical out the Beetroot, fino sherry replaces the Martini’s typical dry vermouth for a extra saline character, and a contact of mezcal and white wine vinegar add depth and stability. As for the garnish, the cocktail will get a slice of pickled beetroot sunk to the underside of the Martini, which lends a tanginess that pairs effectively with the vegetal, refined sweetness of the drink.
The Beetroot, very similar to Himkok itself, is the fruits of in depth analysis and a mixture of hardworking components all layered collectively. “It embodies the essence of Himkok,” says Aguilar. “Every part of the cocktail was rigorously chosen to enhance the subsequent.”