I arrived just after UC-61′s opening time 10pm, rang the buzzer at the nondescript entrance and was greeted by bartender Anaïs Teulier. The last time I had seen Anaïs was probably a year prior when I was judging the Disaronno Mixing Star competition, in which she was participating. In addition to making it into the Mixing Star competition last year, she also took home the Grand Prix Bacardi-Martini, so this lady is clearly comfortable with the competition.
After a quick tour of the new décor, I checked out the good collection of gin, discussed a few with Anaïs that I hadn’t tried and went with a Leopold’s & Dolin martini. At her suggestion I followed up with La Vie en Deux. To be frank, I wasn’t immediately convinced by this combo of Talisker, Fernet, Sherry Fino and maple syrup. However, the more I sipped, the more I became intrigued and…amused by it. I tasted each ingredient separately but also felt them working together (something that’s often talked about with a cocktail but rarely achieved). After a bit of time with this cocktail, I was taken by it and think it makes an ideal aperitif in that it actually makes your mouth water and prepares you for something to follow.
In general, the menu doesn’t diverge from what you will find in a lot of the better cocktail bars in town: a good range of base spirits, a nice selection of brands, 15 or so cocktails on offer, ranging from 12 to 15 Euros. Anaïs seems to bring something quieter, and (dare I say it?) more feminine than many of her contemporaries. Not difficult in an industry dominated by gregarious guys…and I love the bubbly boys, but it’s a slightly different feel.
4, rue de l’Arc-de-Triomphe, 75017