BEVERAGE MANAGER AT STRANGER HIGHLIGHTS GIN CLASSICS
As a little boy he dreamt of being a football player. Today Leo Lahti is playing at one of the highest levels bartendering in Sweden as Beverage Manager at multiply awarded Stranger in Gothenburg. During the Scandinavian Finals of Hernö Gin Cocktail Awards 2018 he was creating gin classics in the bar.
– My approach to bartending is very simple, less is more and that is what I will try to showcase. Cocktails should be fun and complex but not complicated, he explains.
Leo Lahti has always loved food and a high tempo. So it’s not a huge surprise that he ended up behind the bar. And especially at Stranger, a very unique place with a lively energy which makes it almost impossible to have a bad time here.
– My driving force is to make people happy. The best part of my job is the fact that you can have a huge impact on somebodys day. You can really help them turn a bad day around or make a good night even better!, says Leo with emphasis.
GIN CLASSICS AT HERNÖ GIN COCKTAIL AWARD
During the Scandinavian Finals of Hernö Gin Cocktail Award in Härnösand, on 3 February 2018, Leo was creating gin classics for the guests. Leos definition of gin classics are cocktails that will live forever, no matter which way the trends are going.
– I’ve always loved working with the classics and since gin was the spirit of choice during the golden age of cocktails it makes sense to talk about gin classics, tells Leo.
At the Hernö Gin event Leo worked in the bar together with two of his favourite bartenders in Sweden, Tom Surma and Robert Sandqvist.
– I felt very honoured to be working next to them. At the global final of Hernö Gin Cocktail Award the year before, Robert made a Piña Colada with Hernö Gin that was extremely delicious so if I wasn’t working behind the bar I would have been there drinking Piña Coladas instead, laughs Leo.
BLOWN AWAY BY NATURE’S BEAUTY
Leo took part of the International Finals of Hernö Gin Cocktail Awards 2017. Arriving to Skule and The High Coast of Sweden without any expectations what so ever he was blown away.
– The nature was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and the people at Hernö were so extremely welcoming and hospitable, tells Leo.
– Since I’ve basically never been in a forest before I figured it would be easy and did absolutely no research. That was a mistake. This is a cocktail competetion like no other, it’s harder than the rest. And it is also much more fun, he continues.
His plan was to use lingonberries, but they were not ripe enough, so he had to add ten times more honey. It turned out good though.
– A memory I will cherish from the competition is when the team from Hong Kong saw raspberries in the wild for the first time, that was really special, remembers Leo.
IN LOVE WITH A VERY SPECIAL CAT FROM HERNÖ
Leos very first meeting with Hernö Gin was a very special cat: Old Tom, and he fell instantly in love with the floral honey notes. Since then it has been his go to when people say that they don’t like gin and it always works.
– Everything is special with Hernö Gin! The quality of the product, the connection to its roots, the team behind it and so on, Leo sums up.
USEFUL ADVICES WHEN MAKING GIN CLASSICS
• They are delicious.
• They are easy to make.
• Don’t be afraid to experiment to find the formulas that works for you.
• Don’t overcomplicate.
• Use high quality products.
• Don’t skimp on the ice.
50/50 MARTINI HERNÖ
30 ml Hernö Old Tom
30 ml high quality dry vermouth (Dolin is Leos preference)
2 dashes Orange Bitters
• Stir with ice.
• Strain into a chilled coupette.
• Garnish with a lemon twist.
Cocktail creator: Leo Lahti.