Hugo Gent: Fifty-Fifty (Paris)

Hugo Gent is the owner of Fifty Fifty in Paris. He makes us two cocktails, one with Gin and Suze Saveur d’Autrefois and the second with Cachaça and Frangelico liqueur.

Hugo introduce yourself
My name is Hugo and I am from Corsica. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, mostly in restaurants as a chef or on the floor, and for me bartending was the right mix between the two roles. Even if I’ve been making cocktails since 2001, it was initially in London in pubs, with a small cocktail menu. Fifty-Fifty is a proper cocktail bar with craft beers too, as I wanted a bar with sharp cocktails, like a gastronomic restaurant.

The classic you want to show us
White Negroni
40ml of Beefeater Gin
20ml of Cocchi Americano Vermouth
30ml of Suze Saveur d’Autrefois

The bar you dream of
My dream bar would be in Barcelona because you can be on the beach enjoying the sun all day long, whilst at the same time having good cocktails. So my bar would be a kind of chiringuito where you serve a menu of 30 good cocktails, with high-quality tapas. The music would be more blues, soul or rock like the music here in Fifty-Fifty.

What do you do in your time off
I like to go to cocktail bars to discover new places and new drinks as a customer. I used to do trails in Corsica, but here in Paris, it’s more complicated.

The spirit you like the most
It would be sake right now because I am working more on low ABV drinks. It’s not my comfort zone, so I like this challenge. For me, it’s important that you can taste the sake in the cocktail as the main spirit, so I create more short drinks to keep the kick. I like when the sake is oxidative, complex and long in the mouth. After that, I am just a beginner, but I trust Madame Sake for her selection.

What makes a good cocktail
Balance, even if the balance can be different regarding people’s personal tastes. For instance, you can really unbalance your cocktail to get something very sweet, but it needs to be mentioned on the menu. In the end, a good cocktail is a drink that makes you order another one.

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
I think my ingredient at the moment is sherry. And more mature sherries because it really adds something to the drink. I have a 30-year-old oloroso and it will be on the next winter menu with cognac, Cap Mattei and caramel syrup.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
Aguardiente
45ml of Vale Verde Cachaça 3 years old
10ml of Pandan Syrup
10ml of Frangelico Liqueur
10ml of Dolin Dry Vermouth

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
Without a doubt, you must visit Oriole in London. Even if Luca Cinalli doesn’t work there anymore (as he is going to open a bar in Singapore), you should interview him too. I really like him, he is a great bartender and a humble guy at the same time. In Paris, go to see Guillaume at Frequence for low ABV cocktails and Mabel for a stirred rum cocktail.

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