Holding the official title of being Denmark’s best bartender 2016 is no small feat. Ted Dako, owner of Dako Consulting and previous head bartender at Bar25, just won this title and he holds it well. Expectations were high at the Danish Championships, arranged by the Danish Bartender Association, as Ted had just won the Danish finals in the prestigious cocktail competition “World Class” and represented Denmark among 54 other countries for the world finals in South Africa last year.

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But how do you win a competition like that? According to Ted it’s neither chance or luck, that brings you to the podium, but rather knowing the rules and serious preparation! And Ted is good at this game – he respects his craft, which like any other demands hard work and dedication to achieve mastery and sublime results. Ted worked through multiple iterations and not before having tried 30 different variations was he satisfied with his winning cocktail “From Russia with love”.

Prior to the competition you randomly “draw” your base ingredient and apply for participation by sending an original cocktail recipe for review. You’re not allowed to use more than seven ingredients, seven centiliters of whichever spirit you use, and you are not allowed to use any home made ingredients.
At the competition you have 15 minutes to prepare garnishes, infusions, glasses etc., and finally you compete in heats where you have to prepare your cocktail in five glasses within six minutes while being assessed on technique and showmanship. After this, a jury will rate your cocktail by aroma, synergy and balance in taste, aesthetics, uniqueness and overall impression.

As base ingredient Ted drew “Russian standard vodka”. The challenge of vodka is that it’s a relatively taste neutral spirit, so you can do anything with it, but it won’t be interesting if you don’t emphasize and enhance some of the qualities of the base spirit. After 30 variations however Ted found a balance of ingredients that complemented the vodka extremely well.

4 cl fleur de provence tea infused Imperia vodka
2 cl Aperol
2 cl lemon
2 cl grapefruit
2,5 cl simple syrup
Infuse the vodka with fleur de provence tea. This can be done by letting the tea sit with the vodka for 10-15 minutes. For the competition Ted used a syphon to pressurize the vodka for instant infusion. Shake all ingredients with ice. serve in a coupe glass with an ice ball. Spray with tea infused vodka for aroma. Garnish the bottom of the coupe glass with granulated tea by brushing the bottom of the glass with simple syrup to make the tea stick.

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From Russia with love is a wonderfully well balanced cocktail. A true vodka drink, as it respects the base spirit by actually tasting of it. No wonder Ted won the title!

The cocktail will be featured on the coming menu at Bar25. Also check out Ted's "Mezcalita" - his version of his personal favorite cocktail "Mai Tai".