Milk & Honey Stockholm

Sam Ross at work

Thanks to Bartenders’ Choice Awards, the people of Stockholm were treated with a glimpse of NYC when Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy from influential cocktail bar Milk & Honey opened for just one evening in a dark alley in Old Town. The atmosphere was just perfect – dark, candlelit, soft 30s jazz music and just the right amount of people – as their rules don’t allow people standing at the bar or elsewhere. There was no cocktail menu available, you were asked for preferences regarding base spirit and style of drink. As Sam is the inventor of the “modern classic” scotch cocktail Penicillin, I can assure you that many customers wanted to try it from the master himself – and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a perfect smoky scotch sour with a nice sweetness and sting from honey and ginger. I also asked Michael if they could make something “really special”, he disappeared with a smile and returned with an Electric Current Fizz – from Modern American Drinks (George J. Kappeler, 1895).

Electric Current Fizz
Make a Silver Fizz; save the yolk of the egg and serve it in the half-shell, with a little pepper, salt, and vinegar, with the fizz.

Electric Current Fizz

Silver Fizz
A mixing-glass half-full fine ice, the juice of half a lemon, half a tablespoonful fine sugar, the white of one egg, one jigger Tom gin; shake well, strain into a fizz-glass, fill with siphon seltzer. Drink while effervescent.

This evening’s version was somewhat different, as the egg yolk was served in a shot glass with lots of hot sauce in addition to the above spices, but it was indeed “very special” and interesting, maybe not something you’d order on a regular basis, though.

Later on, I thought I’d impress Michael with knowledge about their cocktail menu, so I asked for a Devil’s Share. Surprisingly, he answered that he’d never heard of it. Ashamed as I was, I decided to look it up – and it turned out to be from the London Milk & Honey cocktail menu, recipe by Pete Kendall. It’s actually quite similar to Penicillin, and almost equally delicious. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it for yourselves:

Devil’s Share
2 slices fresh root ginger (thumbnail sized)
2 oz bourbon
¾ oz orange juice
1 oz lemon juice
½ oz maple syrup

Muddle ginger in base of shaker. Add other ingredients, shake with ice and fine strain into ice-filled Old-fashioned glass. Garnish with orange zest twist.

All in all, it was a perfect evening, now I just wish that Milk & Honey will consider opening a permanent bar here in Stockholm.

Michael and Sam doing their thing

Two days later, Sam and Michael did a workshop where they showed us their service system for making everything more time and work efficient. In order to serve every ticket at the same time, they make all drinks simultaneously, using the same jigger by starting with juices, sweeteners and last but not least the spirits. It seemed to work very well, and might save bartenders some time and effort.

They also demonstrated how to be able to make hundreds of drinks just from knowing the base recipe for each cocktail family – sour, collins/fizz, gimlet, rickey, daiquiri, sidecar, highball, caipirinha, smash, martini, manhattan, old fashioned and julep. While this probably wasn’t completely new for the bartenders who attended the workshop, it was at least very entertaining.

Michael and Sam finished everything by telling us about their new bar Atta Boy, which will be located in the current Milk & Honey space once they have found and moved to something bigger. Hopefully, everything will be ready in time for my next trip to NYC – fingers crossed!

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