For the past few years, the G&T has been poised to be Paris’ next go to drink (like the Aperol Spritz). As more gincentric bars appear on the scene, drinkers search for something simple enough to order most anywhere but still sophisticated and refreshing, and certain marketing forces are at work, the Gin To’ keeps getting more and more play. And the city’s latest location to get your gin tonic fix? Le Carmen.
Le Carmen bar and club has been working on their range of infused gins, a collaboration between Michael Frojman (owner), Nicolas Blscak (Head Barman) et Mira Harit (sales manager), since 2015. There are some 40 references that line the shelves behind the bar, a technicolor lab experiment, including choices like cardamom or rose infused gin. The base in which the ingredients are cold infused for a few hours to a few weeks (depending on the ingredient) is a juniper-forward gin made in cognac. Though they don’t wish to disclose the name of the distiller, there are only a few in the area making gin, so it wouldn’t be hard to guess who’s handling their production…
While the gins can be sipped over ice, they recommend them in a gin tonic. This is an ideal kind of offering for a location like the Carmen that opens early but then goes full club at midnight. The infused gins, served with tonic, provide something more upscale in terms of cocktails than you will find in many dance clubs but it’s still realistic to serve as they are relatively quick and easy to make when the place becomes inevitably packed. They also work them into more complicated cocktails, but that’s probably better ordered in the early hours of the evening.
And while they may have dozens on the go behind the bar, they are now pushing three into the spotlight. Having tweaked these three recipes to their liking, they are professionally distilling and making it commercially available outside of the club as well.
The three that can be found by the bottle outside of the club under the name Carmen Gin are No. 1 Amarena (sour cherry), No. 2 Maté Toasté (toasted mate tea) and No. 3 Pamplemousse (grapefruit.)
The gins are currently available at 39 Euros for a 500-ml bottle in their online shop or at the following bottle shops:
Comptoir Major, 50 rue de Rochechouart, 75009 Paris
Vingtheuresvin, 15-17 rue Joseph de Maistre, 75018 Paris
La Cave Lambert, 28 rue du Poteau 75018 Paris
La cave du chateau, 31 avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 75008 Paris
The barber shop, 85 boulevard Voltaire, 75011 Paris
La binouze, 72 rue de Rochechouart, 75018 Paris
It’s interesting to see Paris bars doing a range of infusions beyond rum arrange and any of them could make an unusual gift to take a non-local as it’s currently available only in Paris. And, if you’re unsure which one to buy your gin-loving friend as a gift, I recommend the grapefruit version.