Friday, 25 October 2013

Cocktail Hour

Gin & Beer @ The Bird & The Churchkey.

Another gin based cocktail this week, and a rather unusual one at that.

As an Englishman gin and beer both are dear to the heart. So the stiff upper lip quivered with excitement on finding out one of Copenhagen's newest bars, The Bird & The Churchkey, had combined the two in their signature cocktail.

Unsurprising then that the founding principle of The Bird is to provide excellent gin and beer. As such it is stocked with over 60 gins, and sports some 40 craft beers. At last count there were 20 types of gin & tonic gracing the menu.

The bar itself resembles a pleasantly down at heel 1930's London gin palace. Located on Gammel Strand, staggering distance from New Utility HQ, it was the work of a moment to nip round the corner to meet up with the The Bird's manager, Christian T√łnnesen, for a re-tasting. (I've had this cocktail before but was too over-refreshed to take notes.)

First mixed by a barman at Cocks & Cows (a Copenhagen burger bar whose premises The Bird took over. Both are owned by Nord Gruppen), the original Gin & Beer used garden variety Kronenberg and dry gin. In addition to tweaking the quantities, Christian switched the cooking lager for Franziskaner Hefe-Weizer, a fruity German wheat beer.

For the gin he plumbed for Bulldog - with a very contemporary un-gin-like flavour profile, it is distilled using juniper, dragon eye (a relative of the lychee), poppy seed and other botanicals. A profile, Christian argues, more suited for use in cocktails.

Assemble the following:
  1. 2cl Bulldog Gin.
  2. 3cl Cherry Heering.
  3. 1cl Simple syrup.
  4. 2cl Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  5. Bottle, Franziskaner Beer. (The Bird have it on draught.)
  6. Ice.
  7. Large brandy glass.
  8. Cocktail shaker.
Pour a dash of the beer and the syrup in to the brandy glass, add ice. Give the gin, Cherry Heering and lemon juice a jolt in a shaker. Strain in to the glass and top with the rest of the beer.

In taste the end result is reminiscent of a strong Belgian fruit beer crossed with a zesty American pale ale. Initially the sweetness of the wheat beer and Cherry Heering are to the fore, with pleasingly sharp lemon & spicy liquorice notes to the finish - the latter coming from the botanicals used in Bulldog gin.

I urge those who love their gin and beer to patronise The Bird & The Churchkey.
An excellent establishment, it is staffed by people with a clear love for what they do. Unusually for Copenhagen the service is very friendly too.
I was particularly impressed that Christian crushes cucumbers each morning to make ice cubes of the juice. Detail is all.
Other recent liquid highlights include a Gabriel Boudier Saffron Gin G&T and a French gin, the name of which I was too squiffy to write down, garnished with grapes.

The Bird's liver threatening proximity means that, if I have not descended in to a gin soaked spiral of vice and destitution, I am sure to feature more from them soon. You can find out more here.

If anyone knows of any more beer based cocktails do get in touch.


  1. Sounds as if the French gin was G'Vine. They make a big play of the fact that it is made from grape spirit rather than grain, and they use vine flowers as a botanical.

  2. Thanks old chap! Management was quite taken with it, so I shall see if I can track down a bottle of it for her. Doing a bit of research yesterday in to other beer cocktails I came across this: Looks interesting, though I suspect tracking down agave nectar in Denmark will be quite a challenge.