The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Hasse Bank Johansen’s The Ancient Aztec

Hasse Bank Johansen represented Denmark at the World Class Bartender of the Year final, 2013

St Pauls Apothek reopened its doors last year, though this time as a ‘food bar’ rather than a dispensing chemist. There are four rooms laid out enfilade: the 50-seater main space, the Gentleman’s Lounge, the Old Laboratory and the Smoking Saloon, with plans to transform the office into the Hunting Room next year. ‘We do sometimes have a bit of fun with referencing our history as a pharmacy in our drink names, but it’s not too gimmicky,’ explains Hasse, ‘one of the five sections on the menu is St Pauls Prescriptions.’ They spent a long time looking in an area outside of the city centre for a suitably charismatic and theatrical venue, wanting to earn standalone status and become a destination in its own right.

St Pauls Apothek offers a really exciting way of pairing cocktails to specific dishes, with each offering on its tasting menu matched to a specific beverage. The concept is not reliant on duplicating ingredients, but finding novel complements, with both food and drink equally matched in terms of quality and status.

The Bartender

Hasse Bank Johansen, 29, has worked in the industry for six years, including a spell operating his own cocktail catering firm, before he opened his own bar-restaurant last year with chef Christian Bøjlund, formerly of foodie mecca Noma in Copenhagen. ‘In a former pharmacy that dates from 1899, we created an open bar and open kitchen with a sense of theatre in mind,’ Hasse explains, ‘nobody sits more than three metres away from the central bar, which is set at a low level so guests can see what we do.’ Hasse takes a lot of inspiration from places, his favourite at the moment is Asia: ‘I love using Oolong tea in cordial form, Hibiscus syrup and plum wines.’

The Drink

The Ancient Aztec takes its lead from Central America. It is made with Don Julio Blanco, with its delicious notes of sweet and citrus, mezcal and a honey syrup (made with equal measures of water and local organic acacia honey). Based on the classic ‘Penicillin’ cocktail with many dimensions of flavour, Hasse describes it as ‘nectar from the Gods’. Perfectly paired with salmon or white fish, the Ancient Aztec gives fish a little smokiness and a spicy edge. ‘We like using Danish ingredients like local honey in the Ancient Aztec, but it’s also fun to offer less familiar flavours,’ he says, ‘I love bringing a fifth element to cocktails.’

Images by Sidsel og Lasse

The Technique

Don Julio Reposado • 40ml
Del Maguey mezcal • 10ml
St Germain • 10ml
Fresh lime juice • 20ml
Acacia honey syrup • 20ml
Fresh ginger • 2 pieces
Contains 18 grams of alcohol per serve

Muddle the ingredients together. Shake. Double strain into a rocks glass.

An offering should be made to respect the Gods, so spill a drop of the cocktail to the floor or expect bad agave experiences in the future!

‘Everyone has a seat for the six-course tasting menu,’ says Hasse, ‘and then around 10 o’clock the music goes up and the lights come down and it’s more like a cocktail lounge.’ We admire the effort made into giving guests an extraordinary experience, one in which they may learn a few tricks at the same time.

Hasse’s Insider’s Guide to Aarhus

Place to stay
Ferdinand hotel

Place to eat

Place to relax
Botanic Garden

Place to lounge
Café Gemmerstedet

Place to Dance
Shen Mao bar

Place to shop

Place to see
ARoS Århus