Many moons ago, and not too long after we started DOTW (and before the recent cocktail revolution), we made a journey to Paris. We were excited to try Harry’s Bar and at the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz, which was the modern incarnation of the bar at the Ritz. These were the famed watering holes of expatriate Americans in the 1920’s Paris I, like a number of people, had romantic visions of what it must have been like to live in Paris in the 1920’s. I could picture the glamorous gowns, Parisian food, strolling down the wide boulevards and downing sophisticated drinks. While I wasn’t able to live recreate life in Paris in the 1920’s, luckily enough, the famed watering holes still existed.
Harry’s Bar was amazing. It reminded me of being at a very old bar in America. That was the point. And, we were able to make the pilgrimage to the birthplace of my favorite drink, the Sidecar. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to try the Bar Hemingway in the Ritz Hotel in Paris. We were turned away with no explanation. I believe that it was because we weren’t up to the dress code. But, I will never know. To this day, we still haven’t tried the Bar Hemingway. We may never will. The staff wasn’t exactly kind in their dismissal of us and that still sticks in my craw. But, you should never say never, especially, now that we are older and wiser.
I hadn’t given the Bar Hemingway or the Ritz Paris a thought in years. Unexpectedly, a friend gave us a copy of The Cocktails of the Ritz Paris. It was a beautiful book, but I was torn because the Ritz Paris still isn’t at the top of my list. But, I love books and am never one to turn down or ignore a cocktail book. One could say that I have a bit of a fetish for cocktail books! The book, itself, was beautiful and artfully done. It was the perfect size and hard bound. It had cute little illustrations. I was hooked.
The Cocktails of the Ritz Paris was written by Colin Peter Field, who was the head bartender at the Hemingway Bar from 1995 until its closure in 2012 (from what I can tell). Mr. Field was responsible for many of the modern day classics served at the Hemingway Bar and reviving a number of classic cocktails invented in earlier times by the bars of the Ritz Paris. I enjoyed the recipes – they were easy to follow and easy to make. A number of them seem dated today, given that infused vodka has had its heyday, but don’t let that detour you. The drinks are still delicious!