Bar profile: Denmark’s cocktails setting bar high for newcomer

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From the May 22, 2014 edition

Only two months after opening, Denmark on High is ready for more.

Denmark’s momentum has fast-tracked the cocktail haven to the front of Columbus’ dining scene, winning praise for their classic cocktail offerings. But according to manager Garry White, the Denmark crew is just getting started.

“We have worked out most of the growing pains associated with starting a new business,” White said. “Now we are ready to lose the training wheels.”

To White, “losing the training wheels” means expanding Denmark’s in-house production of cocktail ingredients, adding a catering service and unveiling the first major set of seasonal menu changes.

“Our goal is to make everything we use in our drinks in-house,” White said. “We didn’t want to take on an overwhelming amount of in-house projects before we got used to the space, but now we are ready and excited.”

In addition to producing bitters, simple syrup, liquor-infusions and barrel-aged cocktails in-house, the specialty cocktail menu will get a summer makeover. Expect selections to heavily favor fruit-infused cocktails, like the “Golden Fashioned” (apricot-infused bourbon) and the “Scallywag” (orange and vanilla-infused rum), as well as beer cocktails, like the “Scandy Shandy” featuring Meyer lemon bitters and a citrus cordial.

“We work with a great staff that is creative and brings interesting ideas to the table,” White said. “We’re living in the new golden age of cocktails, and people are interested in experimenting.”

Currently, Denmark on High offers small bites and cheese boards to sate customers, but White and Co. will soon offer more options, and catering services out of The North Room. According to White, customers will taste the menu expansion in the cocktails as well.

“We want to bring the culinary arts into our cocktails,” White said. “We want to transfer our kitchen techniques to the bar.”

Though the goals seem ambitious this early in the game, Denmark has earned high marks thus far, and shows no sign of slowing.

“We’ve only been open a couple months and already we are seeing repeat business,” White said. “There are some amazing cocktail bars around town that do an amazing job. We aren’t trying to directly compete with anybody; we just want to make a damn good drink.”

Photo by Meghan Ralston