Christophe Sichanh : le Calbar (Paris)

Christophe is bar manager at Le Calbar in Paris. He makes for us two cocktails, the first one with gin and Noilly Prat and the second one with Nikka whisky and infused vodka with chrysanthemum.

Christophe introduce yourself
Hi I’m Christophe and I am one of the founders of Le Calbar in Paris. I discovered the world of bartending 5 years ago, before that I was a chef. I left the kitchen to manage a team in the restaurant and that’s where I discovered the bar. Right away I knew it was for me. It’s the mix of what I like in the kitchen, concoctions and presentation, but with the client relationship that I missed. And of course cocktails because it’s about the mixing of flavors, the garnishes and all the products you can prepare with spices, syrups and infusions… there is no limit.

The classic you want to show us
Dirty martini
20ml of Noilly prat to rinse the ice
60ml of Tanqueray ten gin
20ml of olive juice
1 lemon twist

The bar or party you dream of
As this is my bar, this is my dream. I love all kind of bars and drinks… sometimes a mojito, sometimes a stirred one. It’s more about who I am with and my mood. It’s like restaurant, one day it could be a burger craving, another other day I’ll be fancy with real well prepared dishes. It’s more about a mindset than the place.

The spirit you like the most
I love whisky for its complexity. It can be round, sweet, dry, smoky. You learn about it everyday, you can taste a new one everyday, there is no end to it. There’s always a new bottle, it’s incredible.

What makes a good cocktail and which product do you want to highlight at this moment
A good cocktail is about the right balance, but at the end it should match with the person who orders it. For instance there are only 3 ingredients in a daiquiri, but no one will drink it the same way, some prefer more acidic, others more sweet. So the bartenders have to chat with the clients to understand what they are expecting, even if there are some clues. Here for instance, the audience is mainly female, so most of the cocktails are red fruits based and sweet. More girly, even there is no rules, but meeting a girl who orders a peaty whisky neat is far less common.
I love to work with homemade syrups, even if it’s not for all the cocktails. When you go to the market or in Chinatown, you always find new stuff that you can prepare in syrups. So it’s a good way to make people discover new flavours.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
1986
40ml of Nikka from the barrel
15ml of infused vodka with chrysanthemum
20ml of vermouth del professor white
10ml of sherry heering
1 maraschino cherry

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender?
Go to meet Sulli at Le syndicat or Mido at Café moderne, a place to learn a lot of stuff,  I always feel chilled there.