Olivier Martinez: House Garden (Paris)

Olivier Martinez is the co-founder of House Garden in Paris. He makes us two cocktails, one with Whisky and Gingerbread Syrup and the second with Elderflower Liqueur and Chouchen.

Olivier introduce yourself
I’m Olivier Martinez, I am 35 years old and for most of my career I’ve worked in luxury hotels. When I was a teenager, I’d work at the Majestic Palace when they needed me and I really loved the team spirit and creating experiences for clients. After my graduation in hotel management. I worked for The Four Seasons group in various locations, where I learnt a lot about management, as well as cocktails. I became a bartender because I was not interested in cooking but always wanted to work on something creative, turning solids into liquids. It’s all about product transformation from one state to another. I then joined the Accor Group to add more skills to my cv. In luxury, it’s all about details and elegance and with Accor, it was providing a quality service in mass quantities. After this period I moved to Dubai where my cousin (Jimmy Barrat from Zuma) really helped me to improve my game regarding the design of drinks. I moved back to France to be the brand ambassador for Angostura, then worked at the Hoxton in Paris. It was there I realised I wanted to launch my own bar with Yann Salentin my partner, and we opened House Garden nine months after.

The classic you want to show us
Gingerbread Old Fashioned
15ml of Gingerbread Syrup
50ml of Whistlepig Rye Whiskey 10 years
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
2 dashes of Orange Bitters

The bar you dream of
There is no perfect bar, but moving back to the South of France would be a dream. So we could work with local products and on a concept which regroups sea and mountains like Nice, my hometown. The warmth of the mountain and the funkiness of the sea. It would basically be House Garden in Nice. It would look like a chalet made of wood near the sea. For the cocktails, we would work with pine or fir for syrups and ground fish bones to create a broth. It would be for 40-50 people to create an atmosphere that people can’t find at home. I’d also feature regional foods, like pissaladiere or socca.

What do you do in your time off
I read a lot about bartending to find inspiration and culture. Culture is fundamental to everything from painting to sculpture… it all fuels my imagination. I love to walk alone in nature too and of course spend time with my family. Without my wife, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.

The spirit you like the most
Rum, because my parents used to spend a lot of time in Cuba. When I was younger my dad always brought me a cigar and a bottle of rum and it’s a moment we enjoyed as father and son. So rum is always special to me, especially the English style with molasses, because of the spices. Each time someone asks me to create a cocktail, my reflex is to grab a rum bottle. Especially Plantation and Angostura which are my favourites.

What makes a good cocktail
It’s about balance, like a symphony and each ingredient is a note. Just like in music you can recognize each note and it’s the same in a cocktail you need to taste each and every ingredient.

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Benedictine, I love this liqueur. On one hand it’s smooth and rich and on the other it’s herbal. It’s complex and well balanced. It works with any spirits and has great history regarding the monks who created it in Normandy.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
Elixir des druides
60ml of Dolin Red Vermouth infused with Coriander
20ml of Chouchen
15ml of Elderflower Liqueur
1 barspoon of Lemon Juice

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
Of course, you have to go to Zuma and see Jimmy and I also really like Antonio Lai from Quinary. 

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