Over the past two decades, the craft cocktail movement has turned mixologists into beverage gods whose celestial concoctions are not only just consumed but also revered. Hipster gin enthusiasts tend to choose Hendrick’s as their sweet nectar of choice—probably thanks to its smooth taste and impressive marketing strategies. That, of course, includes finding a team of kick-ass international ambassadors to promote the iconic brown bottles of booze.
Take Erik Andersson for instance. (Yes, he’s Swedish!) Overseeing the Eastern region of the U.S. (after his stint in Asain markets) Andersson spends time in South Florida and along the entire East Coast, exploring the most eccentric bars and speakeasies that inspire his work. You’ll find his amazingly garnished cocktails at the Palm Beach Food Festival this weekend. We recently caught up with the magical mixologist to learn more.
You previously were the Hendrick's Gin Ambassador in Asia, how did you get your start in the industry?
Indeed, I spent four and a half years as the Hendrick’s Gin ambassador to Asia. However, my career started in my hometown Uppsala, Sweden. I started serving lunches and pouring beers in local student pubs back in '98. It was initially to make extra money as a student but I completely fell in love with the bar industry.
What is your favorite place that you've traveled to?
There are quite a few but I have very fond memories of Nepal, Israel and Peru. I must say I do have a soft spot for Miami as well!
What's your go-to cocktail of choice?
I do love my Hendrick’s Gin martinis. Five parts Hendrick’s Gin to one part white vermouth and a dash of orange bitters served up with a twist of lemon.
What are your must-have ingredients at your home bar?
Alongside Hendrick’s Gin, a bowl of fresh citrus fruit and herbs, small bottles of vermouth (so as to keep fresh), some type of agave spirit (Tequila or Mezcal), a bourbon, a small selection of cocktail bitters, a white full-bodied rum, elderflower liqueur is always nice, a single malt whisky like Glenfiddich for instance and a good supply of ice.
What are your favorite bars/restaurants in South Florida?
There are so many! But if I have to pick some I would have to say Sweet Liberty, Broken Shaker, The Standard and The Generator on the beach side. Cityside, I would go with The Anderson and Beaker & Gray.
You’ve already been around the world and back but what's still on your travel bucket list?
Staying on top of having visited as many countries as I am years old keeps me always exploring. The Galapagos Islands, Argentina and Turks & Caicos are currently on my radar.