18 Sep Cocktails for thoughts – ep 3
Welcome back to Cocktails for Thoughts, episode three. We took a bit of a summer hiatus, and are back ready to dive into meeting some new people. This time we have a special edition just in time for Whisky Live in Paris and London Cocktail week. We are chatting to Thibault Mequignon from Danico in Paris and Adrien Russotto from Henson’s Bar in Soho, London. As part of this edition and both events, both gents are also doing guest bartending shifts and bar takeovers on Sept 24th in Paris and on Oct 3rd in London.
First, a little about both bars. Danico is a hidden bar at the back of busy trattoria, Daroco (or you can enter via the Passage Vivienne side entrance. Um, yes please) and brings new flavors, combinations, and techniques inspired by travel and food with each cocktail. Henson’s describes itself as “not your average bar,” and well, yeah that is pretty true. At once intimate and eclectic, Henson’s offers a brilliant range of cocktails, all the way from classic to fresh interpretations and flat out originals. Both bars sound god damn lovely TBH and I’m sitting here looking up flights to Paris and London as we speak. But enough about my unhealthy spending habits, let’s get into knowing the guys and finding out what cocktails they have picked to swap.
FAIR: Tell us what five words you’d use to describe your venue?
Thibault: Culinary, friendly, trendy, cozy, and Pandan (that’s the plant that we put everywhere and in everything).
Adrien: Cozy, creative, elegant, trendy, and surprising.
What cocktail—and what is the inspiration behind the cocktail—have you chosen for the cocktails for thoughts exchange this month? If you have chosen multiple, is there a theme that ties them together?
T: We decided not to do a theme around these two cocktails. The one thing they do have in common though is that I’ve been using local product from destinations inspired by my travels. Pandan from South East Indonesia is in the first drink, and the Cherry Blossom flower from Japan is in the second.
A: We wanted to highlight two of the FAIR products, the Old Tom Gin, and the Coffee Liqueur. The FAIR Point is a low ABV cocktail, and is based on a blend of amontillado sherry which brings nuttiness, depth and complexity to the drink, a French apple aperitif, FAIR Coffee Liqueur and homemade black cardamom syrup. The garnish was inspired by the trend around the bulletproof coffee. It is a liquid blend of butter, coconut oil, and toasted coffee beans added to the top of the cocktail in three dots to remind people of the famous garnish of the espresso martini. Delicious! The 20th Century Fizz was inspired by few of my favorite gin cocktails. The Old Tom Gin character is highlighted with FAIR Cacao Liqueur, lemon juice, Cocci Americano, a bit of egg white for the texture and topped up with soda water for a refreshing finish. garnish with tasty, crispy cocoa nibs.
What FAIR spirit is your favourite to work with?
T: I like the muscovado rum
A: Not an easy choice, but I will probably go for the Rums.
What does the word “fairtrade” mean to you?
T: Partnership, transparency, respect, and equality
A: To me it’s about taking care of the people behind the scene. Making sure we are not taking a product from a country far away that could be struggling economically just to make big profit, but because the product itself is high quality and unique. For a consumer, seeing the Fairtrade logo certifies that the producers give and receive a fair salary for the work. It also means much more for me personally, but I don’t think I can write everything here haha.
As this Cocktails for Thoughts is a special edition for Whisky Live and LCW, can you give readers a little glimpse into these events, why they are important, and what makes them fun?
T: The bar scene in London is well known for its diversity and great cocktails bars, and Paris is booming with amazing places and creative cocktails. These events are a great way to bring cocktails to the masses and popularize the art of cocktail making. A lot of people think that making cocktails is just mixing booze and juices! We can show them that it can be done differently with a big dose of creativity, using culinary techniques to bring new flavor to their drinks. And what make these events fun?! They are the perfect place to meet your old friends or colleagues and cheers around a drink or two 🙂
A: The Whisky Live in Paris is one of the leading events in the market, showcasing new trends, small and big brand products, and bringing all that hospitality together with the possibility to try incredible, niche products and meet the people behind them. The London Cocktail week is the biggest cocktail event in the U.K., showcasing the leading bars in the industry. Get your pass and try some great drinks specially created for the event all around London. 6£ cocktails in all the best places!
Finally, what made you want to work in this industry, what brought you here? And of course, what keeps you here?
T: I started working as an apprentice in a Michelin Star restaurant. That is where I learned everything about pairing flavors and started to play with textures, smells, colors, and flavors. But I realized that I was missing the interaction with the customers; I wanted to see their first reactions, and exchange and talk with them. Things that I couldn’t do in the kitchen. Then I started to work behind a cocktail bar on the weekends and I realized quickly that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a good host behind the bar, create and experiment with new flavor pairings, and see people having fun. What keeps me here? You don’t have any routine in this job. I’m lucky I travel a lot as bartender and I discover new products and flavors, and meet friends who are working behind the bar in different countries. When I’m behind the bar when I’m not travelling, I get to meet new people every night from all around the globe, and listen or tell a new story. So it’s a lot of fun to be bartender!
A: Well this is a big question! I left my previous job nine years ago and went to travel on my own for a year in South America. After this I couldn’t come back to a “normal” life. I started the bar because I was looking for a job that will make me travel. I was lucky enough to start the bar with very good, passionate people who were really into the cocktail scene. They gave me the passion I have today for this. The creativity, the knowledge you need, the people you meet, the travel you do and more, this keeps me where I am.