Magnus Sundström has been sharing his cocktail knowledge with the world on his blog Trader Magnus since 2010, and now he’s one of the newest contributors to Liquor.com’s DrinkWire. He’s had 12 posts published and so far they’ve already accrued 18 votes and 167 article reads.
He’s based in Stockholm, Sweden, and Trader Magnus is actually his alter ego, allowing him to offer contributions to the industry independent of his personal life. His blog features liquor reviews, cocktail recipes, and interviews with bartenders, as Magnus explores every aspect of our drinking culture.
What first made you want to begin blogging in 2010?
As I'm very passionate about spirits and cocktails but not working in the industry (yet), I wanted to contribute something. There are lots of good writers around the world, for example in the USA and UK, but I thought it would be a good idea to spread the word about what's going on here in Stockholm and Sweden, and also to get in touch with and exchange experiences with likeminded people elsewhere.
Why did you choose "Trader Magnus" as your alias?
It's a tribute to Trader Vic who was one of the tiki bar pioneers. The opening of a tiki bar here in Stockholm back in 2002 awakened my dormant passion for alcoholic drinks (some years ago I was determined to study to become a bartender, but this was before the classic cocktail boom so there wasn't really any good options around so I chose another direction), and it has been evolving ever since. I still think that the original Mai Tai, credited to Trader Vic, is one of the greatest cocktails ever created. However, when my blog began to gain some recognition I thought that the alias could become a problem, especially since Trader Tiki's Exotic Syrups had to change their name, but everywhere I go people seem to know me as Trader Magnus so I guess I'm stuck with it for the time being. ;-)
Is there anything in particular about the drinking culture in Sweden that adds to Trader Magnus as a blog?
There's an increasing interest in artisanal spirits and modifiers as well as craft cocktails in Sweden, mainly in the big cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Swedish people are very curious, we travel a lot and bring back lots of impressions and ideas which we shape into our own. I'd say that the passion of the bartenders together with organisations like Bartenders' Choice Awards which invites the best bartenders from around the world for inspirational workshops and pop-up bars, makes Stockholm a very creative and forward thinking place to be, both for industry people and consumers, something I'm really grateful to be part of.
What sparked the idea to begin your series interviewing bartenders, and what do you think is the most important thing we as readers and drinkers can learn from them?
As previously mentioned, I want to spread some insight about Sweden, and there are lots of very talented Swedish bartenders. Many of them have or have had successful careers abroad and learned in the best cities like London and New York, and I hope that their stories can inspire others.
What's your typical blogging routine? Drink and then blog or do both at the same time?
Regarding spirit reviews, it's always tasting and making notes, then putting everything together once I have the whole picture. Sometimes it can take a while, as it can be weeks in between the first and last tasting of the same spirit. For me, it's important to not drink just because I have to write a review, I only drink when I want to.
What are your favorite kinds of posts to write and why?
I enjoy writing about cocktail competitions I've attended, especially those that are well executed and include both theoretical and practical challenges, not just about making a cocktail in front of a jury. Also, I really like the interviews even though it's not so much work for me because the questions are basically the same every time. It's a chance for me to help someone get the recognition he or she deserves, and I think they appreciate it. One of my dreams is to travel around the world and visit and write about all the great bars and cocktails - maybe even make it into a TV show!
How did you find Liqour.com's Drinkwire and what do you hope joining the community does for Trader Magnus?
I subscribe to the Liquor.com newsletter, and I think it was last week I received an e-mail about Drinkwire. I visited the website once or twice before I found out that I could contribute as well. Normally, I cross post my articles to a number of different platforms like Blogspot, Bar Exchange, Facebook and Twitter, but I hope that by also using Drinkwire, my posts can reach a wider audience of industry people and enthusiasts.