Our fearless French critic ponders the next cocktail.
It started with an offhand remark: What score would you give this cocktail out of 100 points? But as with most things involving people in the wine industry, it turned into a passion, a deep and burning desire, an insatiable need to score every cocktail out of 100 points. Well, perhaps not that deep of a desire.
But I did spend a couple of fun evenings at Flamme asking sommelier Nicolas Carre to score cocktails and give tasting notes. In most cases, he went a step further to equate the cocktails with wine styles.
I’m in a big rush today but I wanted to get this up because tonight is the final one for the Wednesday 99-kuai all-you-can-drink cocktail deal from 7:30 PM to 9:30 at Flamme. But I plan to come back and add drink ingredients and more photos to this post.
In the meantime, read on to see which cocktail scores highest, which gives a “kiss cool” sensation and which is like a cheap Australian ‘Sherry’.
It’s good. I thought it would be fruity and sweet but it’s quite dry and fresh. I like the mint and the overall smell. 92 points
I like it. This one is simpler than the last one and perhaps good as an aperitif. It’s missing some freshness, some spritz. It’s a bit flat, like a cheap Chilean wine. A very easy mellow Chilean wine. 88 points
(sans sugar rim)
I like this one very much. It is fresh and has a nice body. If it were a wine, I would describe it as a well balanced, perhaps older wine. It is like a good Saint Emilion, with good fruit and complexity. Like a Cheval Blanc. 96 points
I’m not a big fan of martinis, and find them too dry, but I like this one. It’s not complex, it’s like a martini with lemon, that’s all. Maybe it’s easy to drink for people who like margaritas but it isn’t something I would drink every day. But I can understand why people who like martinis would like it. It’s like a cheap Bordeaux or a cheap citrus-y Sauvignon Blanc. 90 points
I like it. In France, it reminds me of a very good advertisement called “kiss cool” for a candy that gives you a lot of freshness and then big mint flavor at the end. The peppercorn in this drink gives me that kind of intensity, that “kiss cool”, that “wow” at the finish. It has more body, more complexity than the last drink, and that peppercorn at the end. I would compare it to a young wine with a lot of tannins that you expect to go far in a few years, that you expect to soften up a lot later. I expect this one in ten years to become the Apple Sidecar. 95 points
I don’t like it very much, I think it’s too short. Like a dry wine that is very short and with no body, a cheap and easy wine, like a bad Sauvignon made with grapes harvested too early. Too green, too much acidity. 85 points
The Dark Knight
Like a bad Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested too early. A very green Cabernet Sauvignon. It has both an oily texture and a dry taste. And the finish is too long. I’m not a whiskey drinker and this drink has too much Bourbon, too much corn. 80 points
Tequila Old Fashioned
Too much bitterness. Like a very acidic wine with no body. Very light. 85 points
This has wine, of course. With grapefruit. Nothing more special than that. Fresh, fruity, it’s the most like wine. 90 points
It’s tasty. It’s sparkling and fresh and a little bit sweet. It tastes like Asti or Lambrusco from Italy or some semi-sweet Cava from Spain. It’s very refreshing. 92 points
Wild Turkey Old-Fashioned
(with Bourbon-soaked cherry and orange twist)
There is Bourbon. I feel it. I usually don’t like whiskey but I like this one. Medium to medium-plus body, a little bitter toward the end. Let’s compare this one to a Zinfandel that is a little green. 90 points
I like it very much. Like a soft and well-rounded wine, like a Cotes du Rhone, a nice Heritage or Saint Joseph. You have the acidity, a not too heavy, medium body, and it is fruity. You have a bit of sensation of spice like you get from Syrah. 94 points
(with muddled orange and reduced sugar)
Too dry. Not the kind of feeling I like. But perfect with chocolate. It’s like a Sherry. Oloroso. No, actually it’s like a Sherry style from Australia, so it’s worse than Sherry. 88 points
Chili Raspberry Martini
Wow, that’s spicy. I would call this one The Sichuan Beauty. It’s a tricky one, very fruity, red fruit, like the raspberry. And very young. On the nose, it seems like an easy drinking wine, but in the mouth it is missing body and too dominated by the spicy effect. But I like it, the flavors, that’s why I say it is tricky. It is very hard to classify this one. It’s like a good Beaujolais Nouveau, with the tannins being the equivalent of peppers.
Dark and Stormy
Too simple, I would say. There is no body, there is no sparkle. I’ts very short at the end. For me, i’ts missing identity. It’s easy wine, new world wine. Very cheap, but OK. 85 points
My first feeling is ‘medicine’. I really feel like I’m in a hospital. Disinfected. I like the absinthe in this drink. No, sorry, I don’t like this one. I’m drinking medicine. 75 points
Vodka Espresso Martini
It’s OK, it’s coffee. With vodka. I would compare this to a drink in France: coffee and Calvados. But it is not well combined. 88 points
Ketel One Martini
(with blue cheese olives)
I have no feeling. For me, it is gin. It is too dry, no mouth feeling. It’s like a dry wine with no complexity…
(More to come. And, for those wondering, Carre did not finish every one of those drinks nor did he spit them all. It was somewhere in the middle.)
The drink tickets were flying on these two nights…