Interview with Christian Grevius – Reisen Bar

In my series of interviews with Swedish bartenders, the time has come to introduce Christian Grevius, an award winning purveyor of prohibition style cocktails who currently resides at the renowned hotel bar Reisen in Stockholm’s Old Town – enjoy!

Photo © Thommy Gyllenbielke

What made you pursue a career in bartending?

I started out as a chef, but I missed the part to meet customers in person so I started as a barback and worked my way up.

When and how did you get your first bartender job?

Started as a barback and worked my way up to bartender at Sturehof.

Do you think bartenders get the recognition they deserve?

It has been getting better in the last couple of years.

Where have you worked prior to Reisen, and which place has been most important regarding your knowledge and skills?

Sturehof, Lokal, Imperiet, Och himlen därtill and Reisen. They have all been important regarding my knowledge and skills, each place has taught me different skills.

Can you describe the current cocktail concept at Reisen?

Right now at Reisen we are working with a cocktail menu based on cocktails from 1880 to modern classics.

What’s your favourite and least favourite drink to make and why?

I like to make all cocktails.

Do you have a favourite kind of customer?

Customers who are interested in cocktails, and appreciate the hard work.

What do you like most about your job?

Meeting lots of different people and to be creative behind the bar.

Do you have any special strengths or weaknesses as a bartender?

It’s hard for me to answer, you should ask my colleagues but I think my strength is that I always want to take care of the customers and the weakness is that I can get grumpy with guests who can’t behave.

How do you spend your spare time?

I don’t have any spare time haha, but when I do I like to hang out whith my fiancée.

What do you like to drink when off duty?

Mostly I drink beer and cocktails.

What do you have in your private liquor cabinet?

Almost too much, but the biggest part is bourbon and tequila but also a bottle of Beefeater crown jewel.

What upcoming cocktail trends do you think we can expect in the near future?

It’s a lot of things going on but I think and hope for concept bars.

Which are your favourite bars/bartenders around the world and why?

I have many favourite bars around the world but my latest favourite is Salon 39. I think Salon 39 has it all, they have really succeeded with everything from the environment to the cocktail menu.

In your opinon, how do bars in Stockholm/Sweden compare internationally?

I think we are doing great, but I also think we are going to be better in the future. And the quality is getting better and better so i think the smaller bars have to follow.

What inspires you regarding spirits and cocktails?

Prohibition time, books and my colleagues.

What’s your opinion on cocktail competitions?

The last couple of years I think the liquor companies have shaped up the competitions and I think they are doing a good job, but like 2-3 years ago you couldn’t find a good competition to participate in.

You recently won a Chartreuse cocktail competition, please tell us all about it!

It started out with a competition where each bartender was going to make three different cocktails with Chartreuse. The first one was a Tiki, the second one was a twist on a classic and the third one was our own. All participants were really good so I am really proud to win the competition.

The first price was a trip to the Chartreuse monastery in the French alps, the trip was amazing and really inspiring to see the handcraft behind the spirit combined whith skiing and lots of different kinds of Chartreuse.

Which of your signature drinks and what else in your career are you most proud of so far?

I’m really proud of winning the Chartreuse cocktail competition.

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

I hope I run my own bar, serving lots of cocktails.

Would you like to share one of your own recipes?

Word of the monk
30 ml Sarpa di Poli
10 ml Maraschino
10 ml Green Chartreuse
25 ml fresh lime juice
15 ml cucumber syrup

Which question would you ask yourself, and what would you answer?

Which spirit is your favourite? Chartreuse of course.

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