Interview with Sean Eden, Tures

Sean Eden posing at Tures. Photo ©
In October 2014 I was judging the Swedish finals of Beefeater MIXLDN cocktail competition, and although he didn't win, Sean Eden impressed me with his performance and cocktails. Now it's time to find out more about this inventive bartender who you can find behind the bar at Tures here in Stockholm - here we go!

What made you pursue a career in bartending and how did you get your first bartender job?

Back in the early 2000 while I was studying at KTH I had the chance to work part time at a bar called Mondo . I found I was more keen studying cocktail books than boring chemistry. So I decided to go full time within bartending.

Where are you originally from, and how did you end up at Tures?

I´m born and raised in Suffolk, Britain. Moved to Stockholm in 1995. Strange story how I ended up at Tures but I´ll  try and make it short. I was just about going to move to Oslo to start at a bar there but at the last second got cold feet. The very same day I got a call from my friend Ebba who said a place called Tures needed bar staff. I gave the bar manager a call and was hired, the same day I went by to sign my contract. Here comes the strange part... I was fired on the spot, she had hired someone else and somehow forgot she had hired me over the phone. Few hours later and few missed calls from the manager I was hired again. I later on ended up as the manager at Tures.

Can you describe the current cocktail concept at Tures and the story behind it?

I simply work with human senses, the feeling of the glass, presentation, clean flavors and most importantly fragrances.

Around 4 years ago I created a concept (inspired from Spain) called Gin & Tonic 2.0. Every gin has different botanicals and we enhance each flavor notes with additional flavoring such as spices, fruits, flowers and herbs. Just before serving to the guest I add a little spray of essence such as elderflower, rose petals, lingonberries just to prepare the guest for what's to come. Tonic is also a significant part of a crisp G&T, so premium tonic it is. This concept is still going strong and has become one of Tures' classics.

Through the years we have added other cocktail classics and followed the G&T 2.0 concept. Such as our Irish Coffee. A secret coffee blend with classic ingredients served on custom made wooden tray with extras, a jug of freshly whipped organic cream, a candy stick and an Irish Coffee chocolate praline.

Irish Coffee, Gin & Tonic 2.0, Swede Sour. Photos ©
Which place/places has/have been most important regarding your knowledge and skills?

London, Milano, Paris, Berlin, Netherlands and Palma (ok, the last one is my sunshine getaway). Each city has great bars and vibrant pulses. They all have different styles, personalities and huge knowledge within the bar culture. Here are a few favorite bars.

London: 69 Colebrooke Row, Artesian and Nightjar
Milano: Dry Cocktails & Pizza
Paris: Le Calbar
Netherlands: Door 74
Berlin: The Curtain Club
Palma: Tast Club, Ginbo

Which is your favourite and least favourite drink to make and why?

Favorite: a G&T, there are so many ways to create it to serve a customer needs.
Least favorite: Vodka Redbull, it's just not healthy for you. But hey so are so many other things in life.

How would you describe the perfect customer?

A perfect customer, that's a hard one. No one is perfect, but I love a challenging customer, take this as a scenario: It's Christmas session a customer sits at the bar and says "serve me anything with a christmas spirit but no glögg (a swedish xmas Glühwein), I’m fed up with it."

First ingredient I would use in the cocktail is GLÖGG, just to give the customer a different perspective. This is what I would serve him, a champagne cocktail including Plymouth gin, glögg, sugar, angostura bitters, champagne topped off with swedish xmas essence of gingerbread and glögg.

If he or she hates it would be a laugh, and probably serve a blanc de blanc champagne on the house.

What's the weirdest drink order you've gotten?

An Irish Car Bomb for a DOG!

What do you like most about your job?

The people you meet, the stories you hear and endless knowledge. I see it like a lifestyle not a job.

Do you have any special bartending skills you're extra proud of?

I´m fast pushing out a swedish classic called Hot Shot. Galliano, coffee and cream layered in a shot glass.

How do you spend your spare time?

There are a lot of tastings, networking, events and so on but when I have time, fishing. Otherwise I spend time with my girlfriend drinking bubbly with some fine tunes in the background.

What do you drink when off duty?

A St George Terroir gin and tonic tops my list, but I fancy nicely chilled champagne.

What do you have in your private liquor cabinet?

Gin gin gin... William Chase, G'Vine, Bulldog, Botanist Islay Dry Gin, Alkkemist, Sipsmith V.J.O.P.
I also have a Disaronno Riserva :)

What upcoming cocktail trends do you think we can expect in the near future?

I believe we are going to see more and more organic low proof cocktails out there. Mother is a good example of what's to come in the near future.

Which are your favourite bars/bartenders around the world and why?

I named a few bars early on, but a few favorite bartenders on my list. Tony Conigliaro, a crazy chemist who creates amazing and mindblowing concepts. Tess Posthumus, a great bartender on her way to the top. Simone Caporale, because he served the best Banana Daiquiri ever! Richard Chille Man, does a wicked Bacardi Daiquiri. Left the best for last, Robert Radovic - what's not to like about this guy. Always in a good mood, polite and has spirit knowledge like a dictionary.

In your opinon, how do Stockholm's bars compare internatioally?

Stockholm's bar scene has evolved dramatically, I’m proud to live in a city that has so much talent and ambition to raise the bar. Compared to other countries Sweden is restricted by particular spirits, fresh products and strict alcohol laws. But still delivers and end up on top 100 best bars in the world. How cool is that?

What's your opinion on cocktail competitions, have you entered any and in that case how was the experience?

I love them! They push bartenders to think outside of the box and inspires others to push further.
Some competitions I´ve been involved in and enjoyed are Disaronno Mixing Star, the end of all experience was I got to meet to great people around the world. The other is one my all time favorite Cocktailkampen. One of the minds behind it is Micke Trygg, he has created  a competition where you can go bananas. My experience has been some pretty crazy ideas including flame throwing absint to sledge hammering a 150kg ice block.

Sean Eden and his team during Cocktailkamp. Photos ©
How do you come up with new cocktail recipes and what inspires you?

 I always start in the kitchen for inspiration. Food seasons play a major role in creating recipes, then I build from a classic cocktail recipe.

Which of your signature drinks, if any, and what else in your career are you most proud of so far?

Semla Cocktail, Swede Sour and Strawberry Spicy Cooler. I´m proud of what I have achieved, so many things through the years. Starting bars like Piren and Ångbåtsbryggan, to working around the world such as Marbella, Miami, Berlin to Italy. Involved from the start of I baren column in DinVinguide.se, To passing on my knowledge to the next generation.


Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

In five years time, I see my future wife Linn walking through the door of my own restaurant with a smile.

Would you like to share one of your own recipes?

Semla Cocktail. Photo: Sean Eden
Semla Cocktail
6-8 cardamom seeds
2.5 cl Plymouth gin
2 cl Disaronno
1.5 cl Amarula
3 cl cream
2 cl milk
1 egg yolk

Muddle 6-8 cardamom seeds in a shaker. Add in the same shaker remaining ingredients. Dry shake. Add ice and shake. Double Strain into a cocktail glass. Decorate with almond rod* and coarsely ground cardamom.

* Almond Rod:
Roll a 10-15 cm long rod of almond in powdered sugar. Cream in the oven at 70 degrees until it gets golden brown.

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