“From the moment you step into Paris’s Bar Hemingway, which dates to 1921, you’re steeped in history. It’s where Hemingway spent many evenings, and he was followed by other notable writers and photographers. The bar is still a key part of the city’s nightlife. When I was hired in 1994, I got carte blanche to create the space, and I introduced a new cocktail menu. I built relationships with our loyal clients, and during the Ritz’s recent closure, I hosted dinner parties at my home with these ‘Hemingway Orphans’ as we called them. They wanted reassurance that the Ritz wouldn’t change. Obviously many things have—the bedrooms are larger, the bathroom floors are heated, the garden is more epic than ever. The Ritz’s soul though? Completely intact.”

The Most Famous Cocktail: The Serendipity

“This drink is to the Ritz what the Bellini is to Harry’s Bar in Venice. I invented it in 1994, and we’ve been serving about five dozen a night ever since. It’s France in a glass: Calvados with fresh mint, white sugar, crystal clear apple juice, and Brut champagne on top.”

The Most Expensive Cocktail: The Ritz Sidecar

“In 1923, Frank Meier, the hotel’s first head bartender, created a Sidecar for his wealthy American clients using Cointreau, lemon juice, and extremely rare cognac from 1831. When I updated it in 2001, I dreamt of getting it in the Guinness Book
of World Records, which requires proof that someone ordered it. Someone did, and it was named the most expensive cocktail in the world. The price today: $1,500.”

The Showstopper Cocktail: The Nautilus

“This beautiful creation is like two drinks in one: First the emptied hull of a passion fruit is filled with house-made strawberry vodka, which has a bright red color, then the whole thing is floated on top of a vibrant yellow passion fruit martini.”

—As told to Lindsey Tramuta

The Ritz Paris has delayed its grand reopening until June 2016 in order to repair damage caused by a fire that broke out in the hotel this January. 

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