I started bartending by chance because a bartender didn’t show up for work the first day I was working as a server here. Now I’m a full-time bartender.
Armand [Gonzales], our general manager, chose to dedicate this drink to Sidney Bechet. A lot of his success was in France and Armand wanted to use Crème de Violette, an older liqueur, and of course Champagne—that’s French too. Also, we’ve all been playing around with making and using different simple syrups. We have a cinnamon-brown sugar simple syrup behind the bar right now and we did the mint-lemon, and we have a mint-clove syrup and a ginger-agave syrup too, and we try to come up with new cocktails.
Sidney Bechet made sense to me because I love jazz and I love New Orleans—I’m originally from Ohio. Bechet lived a really interesting life. He picked up instruments based on his older brother being 20 years older than him, and he was born and raised in the Seventh Ward.
He started traveling and playing and he played in Europe with Louis Armstrong and actually recorded jazz before Louis Armstrong. One of Sidney Bechet’s songs was featured in the Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris, so that’s where the name of this drink came from.
First we tried the mint-clove syrup with this, because we had it on hand, but we didn’t like the cloves with the Crème de Violette. The proportions were really off at first. First there was too much mint, and then there wasn’t enough. With too much violet, since the liqueur is really dark, the drink didn’t look right. Not only did it not taste good, but the presentation wasn’t there either. So we played around with the proportions and took down the mint and added more lemon. This is my first time working with Crème de Violette, but I really like it with the Champagne. Orange and violet is something else that could work. I might try that in the future.
Midnight in Paris
1/4-ounce mint-lemon simple syrup
1 ounce Crème de Violette
Champagne (to fill glass)
1 squeeze lemon juice
1 strip lemon peel (for looks)
Mix simple syrup and creme de violet. Top with Champagne and about a teaspoon of lemon juice. Decorate with lemon peel.