Wintergarden Bar at Hotel St. George: Tuomas Serves Up Finland's Most Minimalist Cocktails
You'll find one of Finland's most exciting cocktail bars right here at one of the city's top hotels. Don't be fooled by a mojito that looks like a glass of water at first glance..!
Helsinki is not short of traditional hotels. One of them is the venerable Hotel St. George in the heart of the Finnish capital.
If you stay here, you'll be close to all kinds of restaurants, shops, and attractions.
But most importantly, you'll find one of the country's most innovative and interesting bars.
"As far as I know, there's nobody in Helsinki, or the whole country, doing what we're doing," says its proud bar manager, Tuomas Hämäläinen.
A Modern Twist on Classic Cocktails
The experienced bartender does indeed have a unique approach to mixology. At Tuomas and his team's bar, you won't find ordinary and traditional drinks. All the cocktails are meant to be clear and with minimal garnish. It's a modern twist on classic drinks.
"We aim to be at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to a classic cocktail bar. Minimalist and modern are the key words for Wintergarden Bar," explains Tuomas.
One new cocktail on the menu is "Pearls of the Garden". Here, you're served a gin-based cocktail with flavours of berries and herbs. The method used is called reverse spherification - known from molecular gastronomy and developed by the world-famous restaurant El Bulli.
The cocktail comes in sphere form, with the actual drink as a liquid inside the sphere. The sphere bursts in your mouth with an explosion of fresh flavours. The whole thing is washed down with a glass of good champagne. Absolutely unique.
Wintergarden Bar is the first in Finland to not use lime or lemon juice directly in its drinks.
Many of the ingredients in the drinks are handpicked by Tuomas and his team.
They've used mushrooms and roots found in the Finnish forests in the drinks on the menu. The ingredients are dried before being mixed with the bar's own developed cocktail mix.
"All our cocktails are made so that the ingredients are converted to liquid form, for example, a syrup or sugar water. This is what we put in the drinks. And this makes the drink a completely clear liquid."
"For example, our house mojito looks like it's just a glass of water but tastes like a classic mojito. There are no mint leaves or ice," he says proudly.
A Bar Worth Visiting
"You always need a reason to drop by, and that's what we try to give our guests with the unique menu. There's also a very special atmosphere here - from the drinks to the interior. If you have an open mind and are willing to try something new and exciting, I think you'll have a fun evening with us."
In addition to extraordinary drinks, presentation is key.
Several of the cocktails on the menu come in specially designed glasses, the most unique of which is probably the cocktail "Learning to Fly" which comes in a glass shaped like a bird.
The drink is named after one of Pekka Jylhä's artworks, which hangs from the ceiling.
"It's very popular. It doesn't seem like people mind drinking from the bird's rear end," chuckles Tuomas.