Monica Berg and the Butter Martini
Monica Berg's cocktails are deceptively simple. While they may have familiar names such as "Gin and Tonic" or "Martini," the experimental use of ingredients makes Berg's creations unique and memorable. Berg as a bartender is also a standout. In 2019, she became the first woman ever to win Altos Bartenders' Bartenders Award at the World’s 50 Best Bars.
Berg draws inspiration from her childhood in Norway, where she learned the importance of high quality ingredients through her experiences hunting, fishing and foraging. In 2009, she was invited by the Thon hotel group to serve as the creative force behind Aqua Vita, a bar which featured local ingredients. Three years later, Berg moved to London to work as head bartender at Pollen Street Social, another bar that served as a creative influence. Berg went on to work on several cutting-edge projects, such as Himkok, a hybrid bar and micro distillery in Oslo; Credo, an ingredients-driven restaurant; P(our), a nonprofit symposium on bar culture; and Tayēr + Elementary, a London bar/cocktail workshop that features experimental drinks.
Berg's cocktails are experimental, but they aren't overly complicated. Her Butter Martini, for example, uses butter-washed gin and gooseberries as the garnish to create a martini cocktail that pays homage to Berg's Nordic upbringing. The result is a deliciously smooth cocktail with a creamy finish that is topped off by the tartness of the gooseberries.
Berg wants to create cocktails and a bar culture that is creative, open, and accessible. At Tayēr + Elementary, they use a test called "Would you serve this to your mother?" before a drink makes it onto the menu.
"For most people, their mother is the benchmark. If you wouldn't serve it to your mother, why would you serve it to anyone else? Doesn’t everyone deserve the same kind of respect and care? Then, we ask: 'Would your mother understand this cocktail?'"
For Berg, innovation should not compete with accessibility, as the primary motivation for drinking cocktails should be having fun.
We couldn’t agree more.
Ingredients 2 oz butter-washed gin ½ oz Martini Bianco Lacto-fermented gooseberries
Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a coupe and garnish.
To make butter-washed gin, melt 200 grams of butter and combine with 1 liter of gin. Infuse for four days at room temperature. After four days, refrigerate the gin for 1 hour and strain through a paper filter or cheese cloth. The leftover butter can be repurposed for cooking, such as in this Gin Gin Shrimp recipe.