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2011 February 8

A Moment With...The Hemingway Bar's Colin Field

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(PARIS) Not everyone can boast having super Kate Moss as a close friend. One such person is Colin Peter Field, the legendary barman of the Hemingway Bar in the Ritz Paris, who recently wrote The Ritz Paris, A History of Cocktails, featuring an introduction by La Moss herself. The Daily caught up with Monsieur Field for a chat about cocktails and Kate’s home in Paris, The Ritz.

You’ve been at the Ritz since 1994…
The Hemingway opened the 25 of August 1994 and the year after it was voted “Best Kept Secret in Paris” by the Times. In 1996, I was voted amongst the “10 Most Interesting People in France” by Le Figaro; in 1997 “Best Bartender in the World” according to Forbes. But the thing that is most interesting is that [the Hemingway Bar] is also respected by professional bartender, and that’s very rare. Our goal here is perfection. Absolutely perfection as far as cocktails are concerned. But it’s following a style of cocktails as well: one base alcohol, one perfuming agent, and one body, which can be a juice or champagne. You can modify things, for example: How about making a liquor without sugar? It's technically impossible, and yet we did it.

Do you continue to invent drinks?
The message I send over is, in a way, if you use conventional products, everything has been invented, which is the famous statement, isn’t it? Since the 18th century, everything’s been invented. If you can create new products, fundamental new products, not just new liquors, then all of a sudden, it opens up everything.

Can you describe the atmosphere at the Hemingway for people who have never been?
Happy. I remember a gentleman coming to the bar once, and he said, I’m looking for his “Royal Highness _________” and I said, “What’s his first name?” Then this gentleman says to me, ten years later, “Do you know why I keep coming to this bar? I suddenly realized that this is a bar where people could be on first-name terms.” He thought the world of that.

What are the cocktail essentials we should have at home?
If you’re going to be serious about it, you have to go to a good silver monger that will make a shaker like they used to do. It can cost you between two and three hundred euros, but you will be able to give that to your son, and you son will be able to give it to his son. I really do think that a shaker is part of the family jewels. And a two-piece shaker is forever, just like a diamond.


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