9 Parisian cocktail spots for modern spins on classic drinks
Sure, France’s food scene is changing, but so is the drinks scene too -- it’s pretty much always been about the wine (France produced a quarter of the planet’s vino last year), but the times are a changing, and in an effort to honor tradition, yet keep up with the innovative drinking landscapes in London, NY, and Tokyo, the city’s barkeeps have rustled up some tongue-pleasing twists on a range of classic ‘tails. Behold, the future of Parisian addlement:
Margarita at Candelaria
A go-to for many cocktail lovers in Paris, Candelaria is also known for being an upscale taqueria. And Mexi-chow calls for tequila -- here, the house specialty is the Guêpe Verte (the Green Wasp), made w/ pepper-infused El Jimador, cucumber, cilantro, agave, and lime.
Martini at The Bistrologist
Right off the Champs-Elysées, which is more commonly known for bottles of sparkling, you can find the artisanal drinkery The Bistrologist. Headed up by well-respected barman Gregory Hazac, their 'tails are mixed together with house-made syrups, putting a spin on even the most classic of cocktails. Example? The Tic Tac Martini, made with vodka, citrus, and, yes, Tic Tac syrup.
Old Fashioned at Calbar
Don’t let the logo (a pair of boxers, called caleçons in French, and hence referenced in the bar’s name) scare you: Calbar is a place dedicated to good mixology. The two owners have their menu sorted by type of liquor, and there is everything from whiskey, to rum, to Champagne cocktails. But Calbar does love their whiskeys -- they even have a list dedicated to Japanese bottles -- so go for the Old Fashioned Remix, complete w/ grapefruit bitters.
Brandy Cocktail at Mary Celeste
Well known on the Parisian cocktail scene, the 'tenders at Mary Celeste (which is run by the same team as at Candelaria) do anything but ordinary drinks, and their spin on the classic brandy cocktail is not exception -- The Nord-Sud is made with an artisan apple brandy distilled in Normandy (drink local!), sherry Fino, and house-made grenadine.
Sazarac at Shake N’ Smash
This right here is an homage to N'walins classic the Sazarac, served at the cocktail bar Shake N’ Smash, where it gets a special twist with a bit of green chartreuse. The Green Sazarac is made with rye whiskey, cognac, bitters, sugar, the aforementioned green stuff, and grapefruit zest to top it all off. The coolest part about this bar though? You can get a cocktail in a flask to go for 15€.
Tom Collins at Le Coq
At Le Coq, a cocktail bar decked out in a sexy, glam '70s French style (era hottie Francoise Hardy is on the wall), you’ll find as many classic cocktails based off of traditional French liquors as newer, more modern creations -- one of those is the Fig Leaf Collins, made w/ Beefeater gin, lemon juice, and a fig leaf syrup.
Negroni at Artisan
This new, handsomely minimalist spot in the up-and-coming SoPi neighborhood has a rotating cocktail menu, the standout of which is their "Improved Negroni", made w/ the usual vermouth & Campari, plus a special gin blend, and the addition of Cynar to strengthen the bittersweet finish.
Violet Cocktail at Little Red Door
Enter through the discreet entrance (literally a “little red door”) and you’ll find a cocktail bar that feels like a speakeasy. Here, the vintage violet cocktail made with crème de violette (only recently reintroduced to the US market, but a French classic) gets an upgrade with mezcal, tequila, vermouth, and bitters in the house Do Not Violette.
Pisco Sour at The Fish Club
While Pisco is the drink of choice in Peru, in Paris, it has yet to really take off, but if The Fish Club has anything to do with things, it will. You can get a standard Pisco Sour, sure, but if you’re in the mood for a redux, the Pisco Fizz with cucumber, grapefruit, basil, and lemonade will do the trick. As the name would have you believe, this bar/restaurant is all about seafood, and you can pair that cocktail with a plate of ceviche.