Have you ever stopped to think whilst sitting at a bar that around the world there are some 30,000 bars of note, most of which list the Manhattan as a drink and collectively serve 300,000 a day? Have you ever wondered what and where the moment occurred when the ingredients were first mixed and that “Eureka” moment happened?
Colin Peter Field, Head of The Ritz Hotel’s Bar Hemingway has spent most of his adult life considering this and the alchemy of cocktail making. His peers regard him amongst one the world’s authorities on mixing a drink and The Ritz, currently undergoing renovation due for completion late in 2015 is a roving ambassador for the establishment – touring worldwide to demonstrate what makes the bar special.
Last week he took up residence alongside the team at The Mark Hotel on New York’s Madison Avenue where word has spread of his arrival and the regulars, the curious and the Ritz family of Clients are gathering to savour a taste of this unique establishment.
On our arrival Colin was mixing a French 75 after chatting with a Ritz regular who is a collector of classic cocktail books – not the one you may be familiar with in a champagne glass but rather the original Stork Club recipe.
The Newswhistle caught up with Colin to slake our own thirst for knowledge concerning the chemistry of cocktails:
What makes the Bar Hemingway at The Ritz Hotel in Paris so special ?
“First, we are an institution – after the renovations are complete the Hemingway Bar will be the only part of the Hotel to be unchanged on the service. Behind the bar we will have modern innovations to make our work more efficient – but to the patrons it will be absolutely the same as ever. Second, every member of our staff is trained bar staff to European standards. That is, they will have completed six years of study – three years at hotel school plus a three year degree in the theory and practice of food and beverage before even cutting a lemon to be added to a Gin Tonic. Third, aside from our illustrious roster of patrons past and present we have many object d’art donated by visitors each of which tells a story. These stories add up to the magnum opus that is the Hemmingway Bar”.
How do you define a classic cocktail ?
“If you look at the classics they all eliminate the sweetness – a perfect recipe well executed should be in perfect balance. When you taste it, you will know it.”
What is the hardest cocktail to make ?
“Try making a cocktail with only one ingredient – arguably only three establishments in the world can get this right – The answer: a Gin Martini without the vermouth.”
What is your latest discovery in mixology ?
“Mix 7% whisky with 93% mineral water and pour into ice cube moulds then add to scotch – amazing”
What is your own favourite cocktail ?
“The serendipity – a mix of apple juice, cavados, fresh mint and champagne”.
Which cocktail is best to avoid a hangover ?
“One which I have mixed” smiles Colin turning over his watch which has the cocktail recipe inscribed on the reverse along with the coordinates for the Hemmingway Bar in Paris, “should I ever get lost”. We sincerely hope not, Colin.
For more information visit http://colinpeterfield.com/