Wednesday Cocktail Adventure: Ladureé

Ladurée

75 Avenue des Champs Elysées
Paris 8ème
Tel. : + 33 1 40 75 08 75
I’m not a sweets person, but when it comes to macarons, that’s a whole different story. My absolute favorite in Paris are Pierre Hermé, but Ladurée turns out some excellent ones, as well. Obviously, I like cocktails, so when Ladurée opened a bar last last year, this seemed like a no-brainer visit for me. However, I’m not a big fan of drinking on the Champs Elysées, so I didn’t rush to it. Yet, after awhile, how can you resist a bar that – according to their menu – makes, “the minutes become more precise in the way of getting faster while remaining faithful to its values at the same time: elegance and delicacy in all shapes!” So, Elspeth, Matt & Violaine joined me here to see how they might (as further claimed on their menu) “profit of all influences linked with its history.”

In general I find the Ladurée decor fussy-frilly-pretty. But, step into this bar in the back of their Champs branch, and you’ll get a completely different feel…or in the their own words: a “complimentary house living at a different rhythm.” Clearly, I am getting a kick out of the translated text on their menu, but I’ll try and get back to my own words. After some discussion we decided on art deco – with modern glowing violet touches. Elspeth likened it to sitting inside a cake. I wasn’t getting cake-feel, but more Geiger bar-feel. Strange comparison, I know. But, work with me here: the intricate iron work reminds me of delicate creepy cobwebs or android skeletons. I don’t think that’s the look their going for, so if you do visit, think cake and not creep!

Before our visit and up to this point, I was mentally prepared to knock this bar on my blog (even though I love the macarons). I imagined it to be more gimmick than substance. But, a look at the menu made me rethink my quick-to-judge attitude. The list of classics feature some solid basics (Manhattans, Martini, Singapore Slings). In addition, they offer up 10 house creations at 18 to 20 Euros and 6 macaron cocktails, which go for a hefty 22 Euros.

I started with the dry martini and got a well prepared Tanqueray Ten martini, stirred, in a chilled glass, with an offer of a twist or olives (which I accidentally ate before taking the picture). Bartender, Jerome, was professional and friendly and clearly took his work seriously. Elspeth tried the pleasantly sippable Baiser Vole “Vesper”, one of the house creations made with Grey Goose, Noilly Pratt and Lillet Blanc. Jerome brought over a plate of four tiny & tasty quiche nibbles as well. We didn’t try the food, but the tapas plate at 10 Euros, with a selection of 5 items, looks like it could potentially be a good deal.

Matt & Violaine each took one of the macaron creations (think: seriously adult milk & cookies!). Matt’s violet was sweet, but good. Violaine’s pistachio was interesting (in a good way) and refreshing. Both are creamy drinks and better if stirred before drinking. I also tried a house creation – the Suivez-moi (green pea juice, pear grey goose, grapefruit syrup and ginger cordial) which wasn’t just pretty to look at, but tasty as well. While the bar stock is not enormous, it’s sufficient: a couple of gins (Tanqueray Ten, Bombay Sapphire) a couple of vodkas, a handful of rums. The house creations – while a bit heavy on the vodka-based drinks – seem to be put together with some thought for the flavors combinations working in interesting ways. But at the end of the day, it’s a gimmick…which I think is a bit fun, but a gimmick none the less.

Matt declared this one of his favorite Wednesday spots. While I know you can get better prepared serious cocktails elsewhere, I, too am a fan. He likened it to La Famille, where you might not be able to order a perfectly executed obscure classic, you will definitely get something unique & well-done. And, as a bonus: on exiting the bar, you pass right by the macaron shop and can pick up a few to take home. (of course we did.)

So, I wouldn’t go to Ladurrée for cocktails on a regular basis, but I think it’s a good address to have in mind when visitors want something a bit different. When grandma comes to town, take her to the Madeleine Ladurée for tea. But, when fun friends who like a bit of flash come for a visit, take them for a uniquely sweet evening cocktail at the Champs Ladurée.

12 thoughts on “Wednesday Cocktail Adventure: Ladureé

  1. I am a very big fan of Macroons… have you ever tried Sprüngli´s Luxembergerlis – absolutely to die for! When you are next in Switzerland :)

  2. like you, i have not tried it yet because i am not a fan of the Champs Elysées. but the deco does look nice
    as for the macarons, i oscillate between prefering the Hermé ones or the Ladurée ones.
    Have you ever ever tried (thinking of your grandmother) the Ladurée rue Bonaparte? i find it cosier than the one at the Madeleine.
    I hope to try this weekend "French Love", a bar i have heard of. If it's worth your cocktail adventure, i will let you know about it :- )

  3. Columbine….agreed. I think it actually depends on which flavors you get as to whether laduree or hermes is better. i haven't tried that laduree but will. Keep me posted on French Love…i've heard of it but not made it out there yet!

  4. I haven't tried the Sprungli's, but i get to Switzerland from time to time to visit friends….so it's on my list as well!

  5. ah the Luxembourgerli…i have not managed to find one Swiss person who will admit that the Ladurée/Hermé macarons are better than the Luxembourgerli. i like them and i knew them before the other stuff and craved for it for years as they were not readily accessible where i lived. they are lighter both in texture and taste (less almond in the bun) and i think they have to go as something else than a macaron

  6. Oh, my. I think I actually swooned over this idea. I have had macaroons from both places – Magnifique! Will they let you bring the macaroons into the bar so you can have them with the cocktails? Not sure I like them placed on the swizzle stick on the drink.

  7. columbine: did you get around to french love?

    Patricia: i think you can probably just buy the macarons directly in the bar (there are huge shelves of them behind the bar) or just ask the nice barman not to put it on the stick.

  8. tried to go to French Love on Saturday, 21.30, but i don't know if it was open. there was no light under the porch and no one answered the bell. tried to find out a contact or opening times on the web, but not much luck and entries for this place date back to the opening time, a year ago.
    so let me know if you get any luckier…

  9. They call the Vesper, baiser vole? How romantic! And I had to laugh at eating the olive before the photo…I forget sometimes that photos come first!

    To be honest, I love macarons but not sure about having them in a cocktail. Though I'd probably try it just for the experience.

    I got a sneak peek at the bar when I visited Laduree (and sneaked some photos as well) so naturally I wrote an article about it. But I'm intrigued, how did you manage to take photos inside?

  10. Yes the macarons + cocktails aren't something I want everyday. But definite fun experience for one off. And the non macaron drinks aren't bad so I'd go back for sure.

    As for the pics… Unintentionally sneakily. I didn't realize they weren't allowed until I was leaving and snapped one of the macarons in the front and got scolded! Oops.

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