Thursday, April 16, 2009

The State of the Cocktail in Paris

Paris is known for many things – romance, art, food, wine, literature – but it has never been known for cocktails. And why should it be? Parisians have all that wine to drink; though only the size of Texas, France produces more wine than any other country in the world. Many of France’s traditional cocktails include wine as a main ingredient (Kir Royal, etc.) or consist of sweet apertifs, not meant for an evening of imbibing. I’m not a big cocktail drinker myself; I enjoy the occasional margarita or Manhattan, but I don’t do much barhopping these days. Though when I was in Paris for my Honeymoon last week, I couldn’t help but be distracted by the budding cocktail culture there. “Budding” may be a bit generous. Most of the cocktail lists I saw at bars consisted of drinks you can find in nightclubs in Tijuana. It was truly hilarious to see these hip, well-healed Parisians drinking “Sex on the Beach” and “Blue Hawaiians.” I’m not sure how this happened and the hangovers these types of drinks cause surely give the French yet another reason to despise Americans.

There were, however, a few happy exceptions. I didn’t get a chance to go there, but right before I left the New York Times did a great piece about a bar called L’Experimental Cocktail Club which takes its cocktails as seriously as we do in LA. We did go to an American/British themed bar called Sir Winston not far from the Arc de Triomphe which had a decent selection of whiskeys and scotches and a very cool candlelit basement bar. Our last night in France, we stayed at the new Phillip Stark designed hotel, Mama Shelter, and had dinner at the restaurant there. We were very tempted by the cocktails after dinner – all the same types of cocktails you would find at any high-end restaurant in LA – but alas, too much champagne and red wine and a too-early wake-up call the next morning got in the way of a taste-test. Next time!

Posted by Amanda White, Account Supervisor, Newlywed

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