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Lessons from Bar Hemingway

October 31, 2010
Raspberry Martini

Raspberry Martini at Bar Hemingway, Paris. Review on

“What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Paris than by learning the secret of the perfect cocktail from one of the world’s greatest barmen?” asks John Brunton, in the Financial Times.

Off the top of my head, I can’t come up with a good answer.

Brunton spends the day with Colin Peter Field, the bartender at the Hemingway Bar at Paris’ Ritz. Each week, Field leads cocktail classes for participants, in French and English. And he’s written a book on the subject: The Ritz Paris: A History of Cocktails.

What’s the secret? Simplicity, Field says.

“The best recipes stretch to only three elements,” Field tells the group: alcohol, fragrance and the body of the cocktail.

“All the great, classic cocktails have balance between the three elements,” Field tells the group (and gives some helpful tips on when to shake and when to stir, James Bond be damned).

The Bar Hemingway stumbled into the New York Times, too.

“Hemingway’s “Lost Generation” has given way to a more fashion-conscious set, with a price tag to match: a perfectly mixed Manhattan will set you back an astounding 26 euros (about $35),” writes Louise Loftus.

For that price, I’d rather shell out the 150 euros for Field’s whole course. Or maybe just order a Chablis at the Closerie de Lilas and call it good.