One of the favourite cities for Swedish bartenders seems to be London, and I’m not surprised as it’s packed with fantastic cocktail bars and lots of opportunities. My series of interviews continue with Fredrik Olsson, the mastermind behind the cocktails at popular London bar Kosmopol and members’ club Dorsia – enjoy!
What made you pursue a career in bartending and how did you get your first bartender job?
Went to London to go a bartending course and better up my english and go back to Sweden with a new profession in my pocket as I study. Got a job even before course ended and really fell in love with the bartender profession.
How did you end up in London?
By chance and impulse, needed a change.
Where have you worked prior to Kosmopol, and which place has been most important regarding your knowledge and skills?
As a bartender i started at Long Island Iced Tea Shop where i learned to work under pressure and under long hours. Great for a hungry bartender.
You’re also involved in the newly opened members club Dorsia, can you describe the concepts and cocktail menus of both bars?
Kosmopol is an institution in Chelsea and has been around for 10 years, a local honey pot. Dorsia is a new exciting project that I am a part of that is spread over 3 floors. Kosmopol is a cocktail driven bar with a vast mixture of classics and newly created cocktails. Dorsia goes from basic cocktails in the club to tasty classics in the bar and restaurant.
What’s your favourite and least favourite drink to make and why?
Sours and Sidecars are favourites to make as they always work. Shaken creamy drinks are the worst, they mess.
Do you have a favourite kind of customer?
People who know what they want and that includes bartender’s choice.
What do you like most about your job?
To be able to meet people and be creative.
Do you have any special strengths or weaknesses as a bartender?
Great service mind but a bit too nice at times.
How do you spend your spare time?
Travelling, sports and with my girlfriend.
What do you like to drink when off duty?
Depends on the occasion.
What do you have in your private liquor cabinet?
A few aged scotch whiskies, a Louis XIII and some other goodies.
What upcoming cocktail trends do you think we can expect in the near future?
Sharing cocktails is a trend that will stay.
Which are your favourite bars/bartenders around the world and why?
PDT (please don’t tell) in New York was impressive in a discreet way. Quality!
Do you think bartenders get the recognition they deserve?
It’s down to each induvidual to prove his recognition. In general no.
In your opinon, how do bars in Sweden compare to London’s?
I know many bartenders who have been in London and have returned home to try to replicate the cocktail culture in Sweden but is not there yet. There are several great bars in Sweden though!
What inspires you regarding spirits and cocktails?
For me it’s the way they both put a smile on people if enjoyed modest.
What’s your opinion on cocktail competitions?
Great for bartenders to learn from others and challenge themselves. Too many going on at times.
Which of your signature drinks and what else in your career are you most proud of so far?
Lasting Passion is a drink that I created and it’s still popular after 10 years. Opening Kosmopol is a moment I am proud of.
Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
Working less behind the bar but still. Started my own spirit brand.
Would you like to share one of your own recipes?
A shaken story based on vodka, fresh passion fruit juice, sugar syrup with a top of soda and a float of chambord and beautifully garnished with passion fruit and raspberries.
Which question would you ask yourself, and what would you answer?
Do you recommend the bartending profession? Yes it is challenging and it teaches you how to deal with people in different situations and to communicate with them, something to take with you through life.