Kester Gin Fizz from Kester Thomas cocktail bar in Copenhagen

Kester Gin Fizz

From the Fjords to Pigalle

Back in June 2018, I had the opportunity to work as a guest bartender at Lulu White, a New Orleans-jazzy cocktail bar in Paris’s infamous red light district, Pigalle. For the occasion I created a cocktail menu focusing on classic New Orleans cocktails. One of the entries was, in true Kester Thomas fashion, a grape twist on the famous “Ramos Gin Fizz”.

My primary impulse was to add a form of gentian, a botanical which is really trendy in Paris nowadays. Gentian is probably most widely known as an ingredient in Angostura Bitters, but it is also the main distilate in one of my personal favorite aperitifs, Suze. Added to the mix it gives a subtle touch of bitterness. Subsequently, instead of traditional lemon, I decided to use orange juice which usually is a perfect match with Suze (As a bonus it limits bar waste, since orange peel is often used in the bar for garnishing old fashioneds and other classic cocktails but orange juice is rarely used in cocktail mixing). You just have to add the right ratio of citric acid to give a sour orange taste to balance).

Kester Gin Fizz from Kester Thomas cocktail bar in Copenhagen50ml Citadelle Gin
10ml Suze
20ml sour orange (squeezed orange juice & citric acid)
30ml KT coconut cream*
Top with champagne
Decorate with half a dehydrated orange slice
Finish with fire (a spray of absinthe will do) 😉

*”KT coconut cream”: At Lulu White the Ramos Gin Fizz is made with coconut and egg white, which inspired me to create my own sweetener for this cocktail. It’s simply equal parts coconut cream and champagne syrup plus a dash of aquafaba (chickpea water). It makes this cocktail creamy yet totally vegan, and it balances the acidity of the champagne.

The French spirit that represents New Orleans best is absinthe, and at Lulu White bartenders include it in every cocktail – probably because of their amazing selection of rare Absinthes. So to finish off my cocktail I flame it with absinthe to add scent to the drink. The absinthe flavoured orange chip is also a really nice snack.

Kester Gin Fizz is a creamy but well balanced cocktail with a hint of acidity and bitterness on the finish that enhances the anise scent for a true New Orleans experience!

Don’t forget to visit Lulu White if you’re visiting Paris anytime soon!

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Erwan Le Bonniec
After 12 years experience in the service industry as a bartender/bar manager in restaurants, cocktail bars, and clubs, I recently finished my Bachelor degree in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Today I'm the Managing Partner of a Wine and Champagne cocktail bar in the heart of Copenhagen.