5 Rue Bouchardon
I asked someone recently at a spirits event about their favorite cocktails. They told me they liked the ‘classics’, like ‘Long Island Iced-Teas.’ Say something like this to the wrong bartender and it will incite at the very least a snigger or quite possibly stern lecture. But, for me, it just gave me pause to think.
The current climate of craft cocktails and mixology is a hot trend. I spend a lot of time in this world, which is interesting, engaging and fun. At times, it’s also a world in which bartenders steer clients to new more sophisticated drinks, mixologists flat out refuse to make mojitos and cocktails like the Long Island are “laid to rest.” There can be some strong opinions on how the thirsty masses should consume their booze (and I’m not completely innocent in this regard.) Considering all of this enthusiasm for the craft cocktail movement, it’s often easy to forget that it’s still somewhat of a niche. The majority of the drinking public will not roll up to your bar and order a Corpse Reviver 2 or debate the merits of rye versus cognac in their Sazerac. And it’s for that reason that some of the latest bars are offering something a little easier to swallow alongside their more advanced options. The most current example: Copper Bay.
Copper Bay first hit the scene last September with a soft opening. Given the reputations of the trio involved (Elfi, Aurélie and Julien), a fair number of people slipped in to check things out. Everyone appreciated the fresh take on décor with its nautical theme and bright brass touches. After a short closure they opened back up in December with their full menu of drinks and food.
So, I stopped back in during Paris Cocktails Week to see how things were shaking out and chatted with them about their cocktail approach. Their menu of 12 cocktails at 10 Euros each is designed to be approachable with 3 sours, 3 collins and some custom cocktails that lean a little more to the sweet side than many of my cocktail contemporaries or I would normally go for. Sweet, but very well made. This makes the drinks not only more accessible to cocktail newbies but I believe it will be a mini-trend: less eschewing of the sugar in a search of even better balance. And they do find balance. In fact, they seem to really shine when it comes to sours, achieving the right equilibrium between tart and sweet. Case in point: their Lizzy Sour created for PCW.
However, don’t think the team just turns out a selection of sips designed for the un-initiated cocktail drinker. They are also doing interesting things on the more savory side with one of the better bloody’s I’ve had in awhile (tequila based) as well as The Beast (a drink made with bourbon that’s been fat-washed with bacon grease from the nearby smokehouse of the same name.) On my last visit I was particularly interested in the rye based De La Bretagne, which is made to be served at room temperature. While that goes counter to most cocktail thinking, it’s a possibility worth exploring, and they are starting those explorations of nicely.
And finally, I feel comfortable putting myself in their hands when it comes to classics. Not of the Long Island variety, but of the Dry Martini variety which they most certainly know how to handle.
For the food menu, they’re focusing on local vendors and turning out a menu of munchies comprising rustic breads, cheeses, meats or My Crazy Pop popcorn with flavors like Roquefort & nuts or wasabi & sesame.
Overall, their cocktail philosophy allows cocktail newbies to easily make their way into the mixed drink world as well as affords opportunities for those with a more experienced palette to play. Maybe they’ll even introduce some of the latest generation of cocktail curious to a new idea of ‘classic.’ So, regardless of your cocktail style, stop in to visit this friendly bunch.