Strøm's Borch takes Absolut Invite title

Adam Borch of Strøm has won Pernod Ricard Denmark’s Absolut Invite with his cocktail Amber Coast.

The national final took place at Tribeca in Copenhagen on Monday evening.

A twist on a Vodka Martini, Borch’s drink was made with Absolut Elyx, bitters made from amber, seaweed tincture, sea salt and Cocchi Americano served over frozen pebbles, garnished with samphire and “amber mist” and served on a slate coaster.

Borch (far left of photo), a first time winner, said the “coast” theme of his cocktail drew on the terroir of the region of the Swedish coast where Elyx is produced.

Judges – UK/Denmark drinks consultant Nick Strangeway, Éric Fossard of Paris bar Le Coq, Per Hermansson, director of strategy at The Absolut Company and Hamish Smith, deputy editor of Drinks International – agreed the drink showcased Elyx well, while adding an extra dimension to a Martini, not least in the creativity of its presentation.

Borch said: “Amber Coast aims to take the drinker to the coast of a Nordic country. The terroir flavours include sea salt solution, umami flavours of the seaweed tincture and bitter crispness from the amber bitters. All this combined with the smoothness from the Elyx and sweetness from the Cocchi Americano. As many Martinis, its enjoyed with a savoury garnish, in this case samphire, served on frozen rocks to keep the temperature low."

Borch had also scored highly in the knowledge and sensory round in the first phase of the competition and was thus crowned the winner.

Patrick Graser of Lidkoeb, who made the Three-stage Martini - which saw barley, wheat and rye-infused vermouth and Elyx stirred and poured from a copper tea pot, finished with a tincture spray of propolis and green grass and garnished with wild flowers - came second, with judges impressed with the complexity of the martini and the visual impact of the drink.

In third was Martin Palmberg Clausen of Ruby, a member of The World’s 50 Best Bars in 2013. His Elyx, 'hjemmelavet lakrids', apple dessert wine, creole bitters, basil and apple mint leaf cocktail combined with a controlled presentation and a good showing in the earlier knowledge and sensory saw him complete the medal positions.

Of the 16 contestants that took part in the contest, the top two travel to Åhus for the global Absolut Invite final.

Judges also enjoyed Carsten Brakner’s vodka, parsley syrup and Fernet Branca cocktail, Slow Starter, but felt it did not showcase the base spirit sufficiently to be a winner.

While Peter-Emil Ruud Nordland’s ‘Nordland’ cocktail was very close to being the best drink of the event, thought judges, but could have been improved by the addition of a homemade, not branded elderflower liqueur.

Judge Fossard said: "I was told the Danish bar scene is moving the way of the Nordic food scene – from this competition you can tell it is going that way. All the ingredients used are local."

Strangeway added: “There were only a few of the sixteen drinks that I wouldn’t drink if given to me in a bar – I would pay to drink 75% of them."