Aurélie Panhelleux: Copperbay (Paris)

Aurélie is co-owner of Copperbay, Paris. She makes two cocktails for us, one with Gin and Suze d’Autrefois and the second with Whisky and Green Chartreuse.

Aurélie introduce yourself
I’m originally from Brittany in France, but I’ve been in Paris for the last 11 years. It was fate I became a bartender as my original passion was horse riding, but after an accident I changed my direction in life. I studied at hotel school which involved cooking, bartending and management and afterwards worked in luxury hotels. Working in luxury hotels taught me about details and discipline which I think is really important in this industry. It also allowed me to travel, which I see as a necessity for creativity in my life. After working in hotel bars I applied to Le Forum, one of the oldest bars in Paris and I was the first woman to work there in 80 years which was a huge honour. It was such an education and I see my time there as a gift. I opened the bar we are in today with my two associates, Julien and Elfi two and a half years ago. It’s our baby and we love it, but it’s growing up fast.

The classic you want to show us
White Negroni
30ml of Gin infused with Cumin
30ml of White Dolin
30ml of Suze d’Autrefois
3 sprays of Absinthe
3 dashes of Orange Flower Water

The bar you dream of
Even if I had more money, I wouldn’t change a thing about Copperbay. We are in the 10th arrondissement in Paris which is a really vibrant quartier, surrounded by loads of Indian and African restaurants and shops. Maybe if I could have a new dream bar I would open another Copperbay by the seaside. Somewhere like Brittany, Greece or Lebanon, as they have an abundance of produce… and I love working with regional ingredients. I’d also add a terrace and serve food made by local people. Then I could work there in the summer and here during winter.

What do you do in your time off
I’m super curious, so I walk everywhere. I love getting lost and discovering new places. I really enjoy going to exhibitions and especially like modern art shows. And of course when I have time, I travel.

The spirit you like the most
Scotch Whisky because I originally knew nothing about that spirit. I went to Scotland for two days and was lucky enough to meet with some master distillers who explained everything to me and made me realise the relation to wine. There is always a region for a person and their palate. I love the challenge of using Scotch Whisky in a cocktail and introducing people to it in this way.

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Oh god, I’m going to talk about Brittany again. Our region is famous for salt (amongst other things) and I love working with various salts and salty flavours in various forms, like seaweed or other salt-like ingredients. At the moment I’m using black salt, a salt and vanilla mix and saline solution.

What makes a good cocktail
Great flavours, the way a drink looks and it’s perfume. It’s exactly the same with a cocktail as a dish in a restaurant, you need to want to eat it, or in our case drink it.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
Dionysos
40ml of Scotch Whisky
1 barspoon of Smoked Whisky
20ml of Skinos Mastiha
10ml of Green Chartreuse
20ml of Lemon Juice
10ml of Gum Syrup
1 Egg White
10ml of Sauvignon Blanc

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
In Paris my two favourite places are Gravity and you must visit Hyacinthe (part of the Brittany mafia) at Le Mary Celeste. In other countries go to Buck and Breck in Berlin which blew my mind and you must also visit Stefanos from The Trap in Athens, I just love that place.

6 Comments

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  5. I know Ben from Angel’s Share! He is a good friend with my Son, Orlando head bartender@ the Blind Barber, and Also bartends@ Maison Première in Brooklyn. I am originally from Luxembourg, and next time I visit Paris, I will definitely visit!

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