• Laura Hujanen

Bartender of the month: Sebastian Krunderup

Sebastian Krunderup is a Copenhagen based bartender, who is passionate about locality and seasonality. When you browse through his accounts in the social media, you can't miss that passion. His Instagram is filled with photos of foraged ingredients, Danish design and architecture. Sebastian likes to use local traditions and environment as a starting point for his drinks.

His drink Grilled Chestnut made it into the Drink Nordic book, and it is inspired by the sugar browned chestnut that used to be a staple in the Danish Christmas table.

– Back in the 19th century the upper class would have sugar browned chestnut with duck, deer etc, but since chestnuts was considered a fine dining deriving from the French cuisine, only the upper class could afford it. That meant the working class had to look for alternatives, which of course was the potato, Sebastian tells.

We interviewed Sebastian in Duck & Cover. Let’s see what are his views on Nordic drinks.

What inspires you?

People, obviously. How they perceive flavours. For me it’s the conversation what people expect before and what they think after that are really interesting. Playing with senses, like when for an example you see a red drink you expect something sweet, but when there’s no colour it is really hard to tell what’s coming.

In your own work as a bartender, what would you describe as specifically Nordic?

When you’ve been in the industry for a few years you start to get a grasp on what your style is. One thing is your own style but also the style of your colleagues and the place that you work in. I think one thing is to find that or at least start being aware of it. You also have to be in the place you work at least a year to experience the whole circle of the seasons. This also depends a bit whether or not it’s primarily a classic bar or a bit more Nordic inspired as we are. But what I think we do here in Duck & Cover is we try to push the limit a little bit on when it comes to working with ingredients. Acidity is a very good subject to talk about here because we don’t grow citrus here, so we try to use berries, like gooseberries or seabuckthorn. I think there’s a new phenomenon that is digging into what’s actually local and can be found right around the specific bar, exclusively. I think we’re doing an ok job at that.

When it comes to service, I think that generally here in Denmark people in the service industry people are very open minded and friendly. In Duck & Cover the atmosphere is very homely and cozy. I think that the most amazing thing here is people bringing in their parents and grandparents because it reminds them of their home growing up.

Acidity is a very good subject to talk about here because we don’t grow citrus here, so we try to use berries, like gooseberries or seabuckthorn.

In your opinion, what should be done to make Nordic bartending more visible globally?

We are very humble about our craft, and I think you have to stay true to that to some extent. But, I think we underestimate how much visitors from abroad appreciate what we do, much thanks to the food scene. So again, I think it’s just about staying true to your bar and dragging people over to come there.

I think we underestimate how much visitors from abroad appreciate what we do.

What types of products do you hope to get from local producers?

We do a bit of foraging here, but it’s time consuming and not very efficient. One thing that I’ve really found interesting lately is booze that focuses on one specific ingredient and tries to enhance that flavour. Also, we are lacking the connection between producers and the bars. We kind of have an idea of what we could need, but the producers have no idea. The big hurdle for us is the volumes that we need though, since it can vary largely and overall we need very little. But it could also be a potential PR opportunity for producers.

Grilled Chestnut by Sebastian Krunderup is one of the drinks in Drink Nordic book

How does the locality show in the ways of drinking here in Denmark?

Depends on the generations. Young people want to know what they’re having, they don’t mind asking and don’t mind trying new stuff.

Has something changed recently in the local drink scene?

There’s more micro-producers, so the locals are much more aware of those products. But it does not necessarily mean they go for them. They might rather just go for something familiar.

What’s the number one thing in drinks in Copenhagen right now?

Passion & know-how. It’s the manner how people take drinks so seriously and put their passion into that work. Fermentation is pretty big too, probably because of Noma’s fermentation book.