Hortense Van Der Horst: Dirty Lemon (Paris)

Hortense Van Der Horst is the head bartender at Dirty Lemon in Paris. She makes us two cocktails, one with White Myrtle Liqueur and Dry Vermouth and the second with Whisky infused with Earl Grey, Bergamot and Maple Syrup Tea and Amaro.

Hortense introduce yourself
I am originally from the South West of France, but my parents are from the Netherlands. I came to Paris to study Art History, but after a few years I could see it was not really for me, so I moved to the hospitality industry. My first job was in a craft beer bar where I learnt about small producers, ingredients and hospitality. I decided to make the move to cocktail bars and worked at Moonshiner and Hotel National des Arts et Métiers with Oscar Quagliarini, who I learnt a lot from. I left when I was offered the opportunity to create a menu from scratch at a small inclusive bar called Dirty Lemon. Ruba Khoury was looking for a bartender and she trusted me, even if I am a young bartender. She is the owner and chef and we chat a lot about what’s happening in the bar and the kitchen, so the cocktails sometimes use the same products that are in the dishes. We follow seasonality, try as much as we can to be sustainable and work as much as we can with small or local producers.

The classic you want to show us
30ml of Ritennhouse 100 Proof Rye Whiskey
30ml of Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
20ml of Cap Mattei White Myrtle Liqueur
1 pinch of Salt
3 dashes of Aztec Chocolate Bitters
1 barspoon of Olive Oil

The bar you dream of
I hope to set up my dream bar with my boyfriend, who also works in hospitality. We’d like to open in a Parisian suburb near a river so we can produce our own energy using geothermal and solar power. The idea is to have a garden so we can use our own fruits and vegetables, with a distillery and brewery where we can produce our own products. It would be a small bar for 45 people, with food created by my boyfriend’s brother who is a chef. Music would be a focus, as we have a lot of musicians in our network, so it could also be a stage for local bands and artists too. We’d also love it to have a tattoo studio incorporated within the space.

What do you do in your time off
I draw tattoos or graffiti. I also garden and create furniture when I have enough time.

The spirit you like the most
I love Eau de Vie in cocktails because it works very well in half and half drinks with more well-known spirits. For example, Raki with a mezcal smoked is great. It becomes the sidekick to a spirit.

What makes a good cocktail
Of course harmony and love with great ingredients. But, I also like cocktails with weird combinations. For instance, the myrtle liqueur I use in the Manhattan I made for you is quite oily so it matches very well with the olive oil used in it. I went to Le Verre Volée and had a chocolate mousse with salt and olive oil which was amazing. I was working on the Manhattan at the time and thought the myrtle would match very well with the chocolate notes in the drink and it did.

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
It would be a liqueur, because it offers a different point of view to the cocktail. For instance, the Margarita I make is with a kumquat liqueur instead of triple sec. It’s bitter and sweet at the same time, so it gives more complexity than just using triple sec.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
My Fair Lady
10 ml of Angostura Amaro
20ml of Plantation Original Dark Rum
20ml of Magnifica de Faria Cachaça
40ml of Earl Grey, Bergamot and Maple Syrup Tea
20ml of Bourgoin Verjus
Top with Chinoto Lurisia Foam

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
You should visit Margot at Combat, who sources her products from small producers too.

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