Alexandre Dijols: Joia (Paris)

Alexandre Dijols is the bar manager of Joia in Paris He makes us two cocktails, one with Gin and Ramos Milk and the second with Tequila and Sichuan Berry Syrup.

Alexandre introduce yourself
I’m Alexandre Dijols, I am 26 years old and I studied hospitality for five years at the Vatel institute. During this period I worked in a bar in St Martin in the French West Indies and after that in a small bar in London, which was close to Zetter Town House in Clerkenwell. It was at Zetter I realised that bartending could be so much more. After my studies, I joined the Collectionneur Hotel and worked at their bar for three years. I joined Joia (one of Hélène Darrozes restaurants in Paris) as bar manager six months ago. The bar at Joia is on the first floor, with huge windows, luxurious furnishings and big cosy sofas to relax on and enjoy a drink. There are 20 cocktails on the menu which are both easy to understand, but technical at the same time. Ago Perrone knows Helene Darroze very well, so helped us translate Helenes values of hospitality into liquid form with a menu of 20 cocktails, which are both easy to understand, but technical at the same time: he is the godfather of our bar. Here we work more and more with our kitchen, so guests can ask us what to drink with their dishes, and around 70% of the restaurant customers ask for cocktails as an aperitif. You can also just come to the bar to have a drink or nibble something, without dining in the restaurant.

The classic you want to show us
Ramos Martini
30ml of London Dry Gin
30ml of Dry Vermouth
30ml of Ramos Milk (Almond Milk with Vanilla, Orange Flower Water and Italian Almond Liqueur)
2 Dashes of Tonka Bitters

The bar you dream of
I would like a space which would be a combination of Scarfes Bar in London and the Nomad Bar in New York, as I like the style of hotel bars. A large majestic bar for around 80 people (seated only) with a mix of dark wood and leather furniture. It would be a kind of modern, classy tavern with a short menu of a dozen cocktails, good wines and quality food. I’d like the bar to be in Paris because I think that type of venue would work well here.

What do you do in your time off
I read a lot of books about liquids (wine, cocktails and spirits). But most importantly I try to keep a good work/life balance, so in my spare time, I enjoy sports. I think it’s a real challenge for bartenders to find this balance and keep healthy.

The spirit you like the most
My favourite spirit is whisky and especially scotch whisky from Islay for the depth and the smokiness it can give a drink. In fact, it’s the first spirit I started to know when my Dad introduced me to Laphroaig 10 years, so it’s my own Proust madeleine. I know that when I open a bar, there will definitely be Laphroaig on the list. So I’ve sought more information about Islay whiskies and I really like the ones with iodine notes like Kilchoman, as it adds more complexity to the cocktail.

What makes a good cocktail
It’s everything. From the technical part of a drink: the recipe, ingredients and execution, but also the ambience, the glassware and the way we make the client feel. All of these factors add up to what makes a good cocktail.

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Tea, because it is a great ingredient, especially in non-alcoholic cocktails. For instance, with Lapsang Souchong you can create smokiness or with a milky oolong tea, you can create a creamy taste and texture. And of course, Lapsang Souchong is my favourite, because of its smoky qualities like my preferred whisky.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
30ml of Tequila
5ml of Mezcal
10ml of White Cocoa Cream
40ml of Clarified Grapefruit Juice
15ml of Sichuan Berries Syrup

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
You have to go to Singapore to the Mo Bar, Mabel in Paris and of course The Connaught in London.

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