Thomas Codsi, owner of Le Reflet and Castor Club bars and the new Lebanese-inspired Litani bar and restaurant in Paris.
Do you remember when you first came across Dolin?
I discovered Dolin vermouth eight years ago at Le Prescription, one of the Experimental Cocktail Club's cocktail bars, when I was drinking a Manhattan, a great classic cocktail. This one was made with Dolin red. It was at a time when I was starting to become interested in the world of cocktails and the spirits that went into them.
What Doline product(s) do you have on your back bar?
At Le Reflet we selected the Dolin red and the Dolin white. At the Castor Club, as it’s a cocktail bar, we listed virtually the entire range, the Dolin bitter, Dolin red, Dolin white and Dolin dry. At the new Litani bar and restaurant, we went for the Dolin white, Dolin red and Dolin dry that really suit our cocktails that are influenced by Lebanese culture.
What type of cocktails do you make with Dolin? The classics or contemporary creations?
Of course, I work with the Dolin red for the most well-known cocktails such as the Negroni and the Manhattan. It adds the sweet note needed to balance a mixture that tends to be on the dry side. For stirred aperitif cocktails (lighter in alcohol), I have a preference for Dolin white. These drinks are easy to make. We mix them with spirits such as gin or calvados and a dash of bitters. For the classic shaken cocktails such as the Bronx and the Blood & Sand, two classic orange juice-based cocktails, I find the Dolin red vermouth is a really good match because the spices and the aromatic profile that come through really complement the orange juice. In terms of original creations, I like to create recipes mainly with Dolin dry. It’s the perfect foil for bringing out a cocktail and its ingredients. It allows us to add volume to the cocktail and give it some body without adding sugar. An intense aromatic profile lingers on the palate.
Are you a fan of the recent food & cocktail pairing trend?
This trend is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, I’m personally somewhat in favor of pairing dishes with dry cocktails. I avoid a lemony character in a cocktail when it’s served with food, especially since all the dishes at Litani have a certain amount of acidity. The idea here is that people come without their usual taste references, like at the Castor Club bar. The whole menu is designed to change habits and allow drinkers to discover another cuisine and original flavors in cocktails.
Starter: a long drink cocktail with Mediterranean flavors based on Dolin dry and lebanese mezzes.
This is the first cocktail on the menu, Tannourine Les Alpes, a name that mixes both lebanese and french cultures (Tannourine is the name of a mountain in Lebanon). This sweet and refreshing long drink made with Dolin dry and gentian goes well with several dishes on the menu.
Ingredients: 2cl arak, 2cl Dolin dry, 2cl gentian, 2cl lime, a slice of cucumber, topped up with tonic water.
These two mezzes, one based on hummus and the other based on aubergine puree and pomegranates, both enjoyed with pita bread, are typical of lebanese cuisine.
Idea behind the pairing
In this cocktail, Dolin dry’s freshness is the perfect foil for the numerous sunny flavors found in the mezzes.