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Himkok

Himkok is nothing less than the world’s most sustainable bar. Located in the heart of Oslo, it's also the capital's only bar-distillery, producing all their spirits in-house with a zero-waste philosophy. They produce more than 80% of the spirit they serve at the bar and specialise in cocktails that are inspired by Norwegian ingredients and culture.

We have collaborated with the Himkok team to develop their products with a customised bottle that reflects their empirical and creative counter-culture. Rated on the top 50 list of best bars worldwide for the 3rd year, their spirits are in high demand all around the world. The goal was to make the bottle feel like an extension of the bar itself, promote the collaborative spirit of Himkok and allows for line-extensions.

Himkok is Norwegian for 'moonshine' and is a generic term for small scale distilled alcoholic beverages made from indigenous ingredients reflecting the customs, tastes and raw materials available in each region.

“Something local” is also a Norwegian term for moonshine signifying another aspect of Himkok while speaking directly to the fact that the products are distilled with local botanicals. This phrase represents a canvas for the inspiration behind each product, which can be literal to the content, but also explore different aspect of Norwegian culture.

Himkok is located in Storgata 27, Oslo. In the late 1800s the building was an industrial warehouse for pharmacy appliances. The link to the pharmacy (also a big part of the cocktail history itself) is apparent in both the white lab coats worn by the bartenders and in their logo. The references to late 19th century apothecary bottles is coherent with the bar and its identity, paying homage to the building and its nature where old traditions are mixed with new technology making past and present coexist. 

Apothecary/Chemistry bottles

"Shop furniture" was the name for bottles which were produced by many glassmakers for use by druggists and drugstores as bulk containers to dispense bulk herbs, powders, liquids, and many other chemical and medicinal products. Used as early as the late 18th century.

These glass containers were permanently labeled by silk screening, gold foil elements and often used Latin (or Latinized) abbreviations making them hard to understand.

The labels were placed in a recessed area of the bottle with a thin covering of glass placed over the label. This type of labeling first began in about 1862 when it was patented by William Walton of Newark. The indentation and the glass label covering greatly enhanced the longevity of the label and is referred to as a "label-under-glass." Because of their durability, and because they were reused , many have survived.

Particular attention was put in the choice of materials, weight and production techniques to create a product in line with Himkok’s sustainability goals. The cork is in eco polymer and untreated beech wood engraved on the sides, sealed with a paper label with 3 different recipes. Spray coating and silkscreen are made with organic ink, allowing the bottle to be recycled as is.

Combined with a different bottle colour and the timeless aesthetic of apothecary bottles, the illustration provides a constantly evolving storytelling portraying different moods and categories and elevates Himkok to its authoritative position as a bar and distillery forging its own path. The Himkok logo is embossed on the shoulder, together with the address at the bottom. An additional area is embossed for the silkscreened label. The simplicity of the label signals a staple product.

The bottle is tall and slim, carrying a sense of pride and elegance. The proportions makes the bottle perfect for mixing, and it only weighs a little over 650 grams (spirit bottles often weight from 750g to 950g). Because of legal limitations we couldn't claim the weight of the glass bottle alone, so instead we embossed the full bottle weight. This is an aspect overlooked by the industry that tend to use heavier bottles to communicate quality.

The first product is a Blank Aquavit. The snake play an important role in both the identity of Himkok and the profile of the product. The “moonshine bite” take the shape of the Huggorm (Vipera Berus) – the only Norwegian venomous snake. Additionally the snake has a rich symbology and mythology that connects medicine, alchemy, eternity, wisdom and purity.

Snake symbology

The snake can symbolize eternity and continual renewal of life. The snake’s venom is associated with the chemicals of plants that have the power to either heal, poison or provide expanded consciousness through divine intoxication. Because of its herbal knowledge the snake was often considered one of the wisest animals, being (close to the) divine.

The wings are used to mark progress or advancement of an alchemical solution toward perfection. Crowns mark the final stage of a spirit or solution: perfection, completion, ascension.

In alchemy the snake is also interpreted as Mercury ( = spirit), and then the symbol can suggest that the final “rendering” of the spirit, by death or enlightenment, will produce the pure, perfected, incorruptible spirit ( = the standard promise of the philosopher’s stone).

Painting top left: "Adam and Eve" (1628) by Peter Paul Rubens

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