Chris Grotvedt & 1980 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Hayden Wood

Chris Grøtvedt is a bartender who wants to make the world a better place and have a great time doing it. As the creative force behind Oslos *Ism Bar, he takes inspiration from all over the world to pioneer Norways cocktail culture and make its mark on the global stage.

Chris chose 1980 from Heerings legacy as its a year of events that he connects with in his love of ice hockey, cocktails and overcoming mountainous challenges. A former professional ice hockey player, Chris swapped the rink for the bar at some of the best 5 star hotels in Norway before opening his own bar in 2017. Much like the 1980’s USA team’s gold medal win over USSR in Olympic Ice Hockey (known as the Miracle on Ice), he sees himself as somewhat of an underdog in a world of complicated issues that require a certain focus outside of political arenas. Henceforth *Ism; a cocktail bar with a focus on 12 of our worlds most pressing issues that require drink inspired communal dialogue followed by consequential community action.

His approach is,If you’re drinking a cocktail that’s provoking conversation around matters such as deforestation, depleted fish stocks or something like global warming you’re opening the subjects up for action outside of watching 2 minutes of six o’clock news. Now, it’s actually in your mind. When it’s in your mind then we actually are getting to you. It is like I always say to people, when you actually take actions with yourself you can tackle an issue before is becomes a problem.” He says. “70% of people don’t do shit before it’s too late.” He claims. Fair claim too.

“We have a cocktail called Global Warming. Some people say it’s a problem, some people don’t, until the day it’s actually a fucking problem, but then it’s too late. Then, it’s drastic changes.” Grøtvedt says.

We kicked off with two different Isms to work with – We have the upstairs bar, which is the main bar and our ideology there, or the Ism we’re working with is Hedonism, so guilty pleasure, self-indulgence. There, we focus on the kind of cocktails that you love, be it a perfectly crafted Manhattan or a delicious creamy concoction that is our guilty pleasure.

 Downstairs at *Ism, Chris designed the concept around Humanism. There, the cocktails are a vehicle to keep global issues in the minds of his customers. Drinks inspired by Deforestation, Weapons Of War and Global Warming take centre stage. That’s what we do. We work closely with charities and give away part of the profits of each cocktail.

 Concepts and environmental awareness aside, Chris is passionate about educating his customers about flavours and refining the palates in a cocktail culture that traditionally leans towards sweet drinks. For me, thats why I also talk about the clean flavours. It’s more understandable for them. The cleaner it gets in terms of flavour profile, the more comfortable they will probably be for ordering the next one, instead of going back to sweet drinks.

 I remember a couple of years ago when everybody called themselves mixologists and made their own bitters and did this and that and overcomplicated everything. Also, a bartender would get pissed off if somebody came to the bar and ordered a gin and tonic.

 In *Ism the guest can drink whatever they want – If they want a $500 cognac with milk, let em have it. If that’s their go-to drink, who are you to tell them no?

 I’ve been working seven years in five star hotels so no matter what you do, it’s to make the guests happy. That is why you’re here. You’re here to make him feel good or her feel good or have a great time when they’re out. They’re actually out spending money in your bar, they’ve probably been working all week to make an income and they’re actually choosing to come to your bar and spend it. That is a privilege for us. For me, now as a business owner, you realise that even more.

 I think hospitality is so crucial. If you can’t nail hospitality and actually make people feel good about themselves, leave them with the sense, “Jesus Christ, this was amazing! The bartender was amazing! The cocktail was amazing, or just the ambiance was amazing and I would love to come back next week.” I think that is the most important part of our concept.

 Changing perceptions is key to his success and his clean and conscientious use of heritage brands like Cherry Heering is a testament of the plain speaking, boundary pushing attitude that keeps his creativity and passion alive.I could mention several ways of using Cherry Heering, but the first time I tried the Blood and Sand I wasnt convinced it was going to be a great cocktail at first – I tried it and yes, its great all right.Everything that needs a little cherry note and a kind of sweetness, you can swap it for Cherry Heering.

 Chris embraces the role of the underdog. In a hospitality climate that is largely still thundering through sweet disco drinks from a bygone, it should be noted Grøtvedt is doing something very different here for Norway while sending a very clear message to drinking culture globally too. The message – ask for the menu.


50 ml Woodford Reserve Bourbon with Banos*

25 ml Cherry Heering

5 ml Fernet Branca

Glass: Rocks

Method: Stir all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. Strain over single large ice cube into a rock glass. 

* Sousvide cook Woodford Reserve with Banos (Norwegian banana marmalade)for 60 minutes. Fine strain solids and pour infused liquid into a clean bottle.

 For those who are unable to accessBanos(banana marmalade).Use 300 grams of banana with 50 grams of sugar to 700 ml bottle of Woodford Reserve Bourbon for 60 minutesat 40 degrees celsius. Fine strain solids and pour infused liquid into a clean bottle.

Monika Berg & 1913 – one of Heering´s 200 Years

Words of: Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Monica Berg is Exactly What the Bar Business Needs

Monica Berg is someone who can really only be classified as an industry leader. And in spite of the fact that it’s overused, it isn’t a term that should be taken lightly. To be honest, there are two types of people in this business: those who follow, and those who lead. And Monica Berg is definitely a leader.

Monica hails from Oslo, Norway, and began her career behind the bar when she was only 18 years old. That’s a really young age to be behind a bar, but she’d been working in the industry well before that. That’s one of the qualities of a leader: they don’t always play by the rules. Anyway, Monica was a big success in the cocktail and culinary scene in Oslo, but she always saw London as the center of the cocktail movement and in 2013 she moved there to manage the bar at Pollen Street Social

As a young bartender, one of her dreams was to go to Singapore and have a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel, but at the time it felt almost unachievable to her.  When she moved to London, the first drink order she received was a Singapore Sling, and she thought about how wonderful it was to work in a place where those sorts of classics actually get ordered. A few years later, she did actually go to the Singapore and try one – and it gave her the opportunity to sit and think about how much the industry has changed over the past decade.

But what Monica’s not telling you is that she is one of the people responsible for making such monumental changes to the industry. But since she’s far too humble to say that herself, just let her curriculum vitae speak for itself.  In 2015, she was awarded the Linie Honorary Award, an award given to individuals for their great ambassadorship for Norwegian food and drink culture, and in 2017 she received the “Industry Improver” award at the Nordic Bartender’s Choice Awards.

She was part of the bar & creative team at the famed Himkok cocktail bar and microdistillery  from 2015-2017. The bar was Top 10 for Best New International Cocktail Bar at the Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail in 2016, and was included in Worlds 50 Best Bars in 2016 and 2017.

She is the co-founder, along with other industry titans such as Jim Meehan, Ryan Chetiyawardana, Xavier Padovani, Alex Kratena, and Joerg Meyer, of P(OUR), an industry non- profit, which works to share knowledge within the drinks industry through an online platform and an annual Symposium.

Berg is passionate about education and knowledge, but does not simply rely on branded trainings as many do. She advocates an open source, more objective initiative, that can educate younger bartenders on the basics. This means that she works hard not only focusing on the liquids, drinks and produce – but also teaching others career-level management skills. “If we want people to think of bars as a long-term option, we need to accommodate for it,” says Berg, “ and we need to start teaching people the answers to the ‘Why’s’ and not just the ‘How’s’.”

For her cocktail, named “Equal Opportunity”, Monica selected the year 1913. The drink itself is a tribute to Norway, which was the third country in the world to pass a bill giving women the power to vote, after more than 30 years of hard work by the women’s movement.

Being a massive lover of aquavit, she couldn’t pass up the chance to make it the base of her drink. 1913 was a few years before Norway’s national prohibition kicked in, so there were still a few independent distilleries around. Sherry was not uncommon, as the trade with Spain dictated a certain amount Norway was required to purchase annually. And while citrus may not be a natural part of the Norwegian flora, there are written sources referencing citrus orchards in the eastern part of Norway in the mid 1800’s, and by the early 1900’s, trade with the rest of Europe was so strong that cities had access to exotic imports.


Aquavit is combined with Cherry Heering, fino Sherry, and pink grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker. The drink is shaken with ice, and strained over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Finally a grapefruit peel is used to finish the drink.


Monica is currently in the process of opening her first bar in London, which is estimated to open in 2018, and it’s certain to be another unique and stand-out program that will shine like a beacon to the rest of the world. “There was a period where it felt like everyone was just copying each other, whereas now, it feels as if the bars are more a reflection of the team working – as it should be in my opinion.”

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