Anyone can make a cocktail, but Oscar Blackstone takes them to another level. Indigo’s chief bartender in Cognac shares a recipe for one of his perfect summer drinks.
The Frenchman is only 25 and he’s already in charge of one of coolest rooftop bars in the world, the Indigo by Martell. “I started when I was 15, I wasn’t even legally allowed to work then. But I’ve been working behind bars for 10 years now and even though I’m mainly self-taught, I’ve also learnt from the best. I’ve worked mainly in hip nightclubs in Paris such as the Silencio or The Bains. I’ve also worked at the Imperial in Tel Aviv”.
“One day, I was working at a nightclub called The Social Club in Paris, I discovered cocktails and I completely fell in love with them. I started seriously studying them – I spent hours reading books, searching for information on the Internet, and tasting”.
“I fell in love with the bar. It really was love at first sight. I think it’s one of the most beautiful rooftop bars I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them. I also wanted a more Zen life, away from the craziness of Paris. You have to admit, I have the greatest office in the world”.
“It’s great to work for a house like Martell, they let you try things. And I like the challenges. The main question for me was: how do I create a cognac-based cocktail to drink on a rooftop where it’s sometimes 35 degrees? If you want a refreshing drink, cognac doesn’t necessarily come to mind right away. I took this challenge on and I’ve created a very refreshing and thirst-quenching cocktail menu that includes 8 cocktails with alcohol, and 2 non-alcoholic drinks. Next season, I’ll reimagine it all again”.
“When I create a cocktail, I think about a special time in my life and then try to translate this memory into a drink. For “Le Voyage des Amants”, I had tasted a great ice-tea on a rooftop in New York and I wanted to recreate that perfect moment. So, I imagined a cocktail based on an infusion of dried fruits with cognac. Red berries are ideal, they bring out a natural side and I didn’t want something too sweet, too caramelized. It’s a refreshing, pleasant drink, the taste lingers in your mouth thanks to the mix of red berries, cognac and lime. It’s easy to make, you can make it at home and add any tea you like”.
“I fell in love with the bar. It really was love at first sight. I think it’s one of the most beautiful rooftop bars I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them.”
“For me, the most important element in a cocktail is ice. You can’t do anything without ice. It needs to be cubic and dense. The more ice in a glass, the better it’ll be. The colder the liquid, the less dilution. You also need a spoon and a cocktail tumbler. That’s it”.
Dried strawberries, raspberries and blackberries
4cl of Martell VSOP aged in Red Barrels
1cl of freshly squeezed lime
1cl of sugar syrup
Make the ice-tea by mixing 15 grams of Hibiscus and Rooibos tea and the dried fruits in a liter of water
Leave in a fridge for 24 hours
Pour the cognac, homemade ice-tea, lime juice and sugar syrup into a tumbler
Stir three times with a spoon
Fill with ice right to the brim of the glass
Decorate with an edible pansy or a slice of lemon
Enjoy! And refrain from using a straw!
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