Stockholm is the land of Punsch and other spirited cocktails
(handout, HANDOUT / May 29, 2012)
Yet only a handful feature the fine local liqueur known as Swedish Punsch, a sweetened and spiced rumlike spirit made with Batavia arrack.
"It's an acquired taste," says Magnus Sundstrom, a Stockholm-based creative professional and cocktail enthusiast. "I think that many Swedish people find it too sweet."
The traditional way to consume Swedish Punsch is alongside yellow pea soup, on Thursdays.
Within Stockholm, Swedish Punsch can be spotted here and there, such as in the tiki-style Caribbean Tango cocktail at Story Hotel (storyhotels.com). But there's also a whole tirade of tippling to be had in Stockholm beyond Punsch.
"Over the last couple of years, the number of cocktail bars and the quality of the cocktails has increased a lot," Sundstrom notes.
With hotels as their home base, travelers are in luck: "Some hotel bars are really good, so business travelers don't have to go outside if they don't want to," Sundstrom says. In particular, he points to Lydmar Hotel (lydmar.com), First Hotel Reisen (bit.ly/Kff17A) and Scandic Grand Central (scandichotels.com/grandcentral) as shining examples.
Around stylish Stureplan, "where the rich and famous hang out," many of the restaurants densely clustered around the square offer choice drink options, says Sundstrom. For example, Gondolen (eriks.se) is "very popular among both tourists and natives."
Other suggestions include French-Swedish restaurant Sturehof (sturehof.com/sv-se/start) and its sister Riche (riche.se/sv-se/start), sake- or shochu-spiked cocktails at pan-Asian East (east.se) and steakhouse Vassa eggen (vassaeggen.com).
After-work spots include New Orleans-inspired Marie Laveau (marielaveau.se) and its companion bar Little Quarter, as well as the South American inspired Cantineros (cantineros.se), where rums and South American distillates (cachaca, mezcal) round out the drink menu.