These days it’s so easy to write about cocktails…everybody’s doing it! Okay, well, maybe it’s not easy to write about cocktails well. In fact, it’s even more challenging to bring something fresh and new to the table. Whereas when I very first started writing about the Paris cocktail scene, it took serious scouting to find superior cocktails, now anyone who keeps an ear to the ground will get the general gist on the next buzzy bars. I certainly don’t want to avoid covering the best of the best on the blog. But I also want to spend more time doing what I started with: scouting out undiscovered spots for my readers. Of course, the unknown can be hit and miss. Like my latest experience at le Cinq Codet.
Le Cinq Codet is a 5 star hotel in a quiet corner of the 7th, not far from the Eiffel Tower. The building’s Art Deco architecture and designer Jean Philippe-Nuel’s (who also did the Molitor) focus on light wood, warm oranges, browns and greens make for a chic, contemporary, tasteful space. Just off the bar, on a quiet interior courtyard is a large and lovely terrace equipped with umbrellas and heat lamps making it a potential destination in a range of temps and weather.
The cocktail menu consists of around 20 house specialites at 18 Euros, most of which are very accessible such as Expresso Martini, Raspberry Martini, Aperol Spritz, Cointreau Fizz and their version of the gin/elderflower/cucumber cocktail that can be found on just about any menu these days. An additional page of classics includes 11 options like mojitos, belinis and whisky sours at 15 Euros. It also includes a Dry Martini.
My Dry Martini confused me, arriving at the table with a golden glow. I asked if it was gin and vermouth and was told it was. As the waiter walked away, he turned to tell me the vermouth was Noilly Prat Ambre (rather than dry). That would explain the color, although I would have indicated this switch on the menu since it takes the drink out of the classic territory in which it had been categorized. The waiter assured me that I would prefer the ambre because it was ‘better.’ Being familiar with both, I wasn’t convinced I would, but I gave it a go. Making it still more challenging, the drink was served rather warm and in a chipped glass.
When clearing the table the waiter asked how I liked it. Although I suspected he didn’t really want to hear the full answer, it’s only fair to share my opinion onsite before blasting them on the blog. I told him I preferred my martinis to be served colder (or really, just even somewhat cold….) His reply: “It’s perfect, then.” Huh?
The margarita was not bad, but could have been better balanced (heavy citrus.) The manhatten was the best of the bunch. Their signature cognac based L’Emperor was loaded with a heavy mango juice, making it particularly sweet. It was also mistakenly brought to our table rather than what my drinking partner had ordered. We brought it to their attention and they apologetically replaced it with the correct cocktail, their French Governer. This Governer is a version of the cognac summit, but less refreshing and more pulpy.
The service was somewhat inattentive, but respectful enough. Or at the very least they gave that impression of respectfulness demanded in a hotel of this caliber. To be fair, it’s August in Paris so the few of us locals who remain in town have at least taken a little bit of a mental holiday. And I do believe on a different day or with more direct contact with the bar, it would be possible to get a better drink. But I won’t bother testing that theory.
The terrace is a lovely hidden gem, so I’ll head back to enjoy that…with a glass of wine in hand.
Le Cinq Codet
5 rue Louis Codet