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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wedensday Cocktail Adventure: Harry's

For searching convenience, I've cut and pasted my earlier entries from eGullet before my blog existed, so there are no photos for these first few:

5, Rue Daunou
75002 Paris
Tel : 01 42 61 71 14

For most of my (drinking) life I didn’t think I liked gin. That was until I discovered it’s actually tonic that I don’t like. So, since then, I’ve been enjoying a good martini. However – even back when I wasn’t drinking gin – it always bothered me when someone asked if you want vodka or gin in response to a request for a martini. So, when the bartender at Harry’s asked me “vodka or gin” I had to remember that it’s my own personal semantics issue (things should mean what they are supposed to mean!) and a reflection of what patrons order that made him ask and not necessarily his skill as a bartender.

Come to think of it, I probably could have done better at Harry’s than I did. I sat there and watched him make the martini – chilling the glass with ice, stirring the ingredients – and thinking “gee, I wish he would have put more than a couple of drops of vermouth in that pitcher of Beefeater” (when what I should have done is just asked him to add more – why I didn’t, I don’t know – it had been a long day). He topped it off with a lemon twist. The martini was good, and he seemed to know what he was doing – I just should have been more assertive about what I wanted.

The others arrived and we followed with a round of (what else at Harry’s?) bloody marys. The bloody mary’s are good – I prefer mine a bit spicier (again easily rectified by just asking). My fellow drinkers really liked them, but bemoaned the lack of “stuff” in them (celery, etc) and a neighbor complained that it had too much of the “brown stuff” (Worcestershire, I imagine?)

Again, like le Fumoir, this is a bar that is equipped to make what you want and can put out a good cocktail. But, again, this one didn’t impress me from a cocktail perspective as much as the Experimental (where you get the impression that the person behind the bar is not just willing, but interested in discussing the cocktail and its creation and the various ingredients to give you exactly what you want)

But from a non-drink perspective, you can’t discount the history of Harry’s , the great space and the sheer popularity of the place for Bloody Mary’s. (although I’m not really sure if the bloody mary was really invented here or not…perhaps someone else has more information on that, but everything I find is conflicting)

So, in short, I’d go back and enjoy a drink. At 12 Euros a cocktail, it’s fair – but not cheap.

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