Gaëtan, head barman at the Hôtel de la Cité in Carcassonne, unveils the secrets of his signature cocktail.
Every day, in MGallery by Sofitel hotels throughout the world, the mixologists turn each cocktail into a unique voyage and adventure.
All of the hotels in the MGallery universe are committed to telling a story through clever and creative cocktail mixtures. The bartenders devise exclusive creations for their guests to stimulate all 5 senses. All you need do is sip your drink while listening to their anecdotes about the history of the hotel. Gaëtan is one of these people and he tells us his story through 4 Q&As.
What drives you in your daily life at the hotel?
The guests! They’re here to have a good time but they’re fine connoisseurs. With my creations, I must transport them, and they challenge me and take me to new playgrounds.
How do you surprise your guests?
You need to be proactive and not ask the question “what would you like?” You have to anticipate their expectations and give them the attention they deserve: by listening to them, you must be able to offer them something that’ll give them the enjoyment of a unique experience. For example, we get performers here from the Carcassonne arts festival. Before they come out, I prepare something for them that’s personalized depending on their place of origin or their day. The artists come off stage and appreciate the fact they’re offered something personalized, straight away.
Was it fun to create the vermouth you invented, called “Rigolo”?
Definitely! I found the name on an old bottle in the cellar at a local distillery. To give it new life, I created this unique vermouth made with orange zest and a hint of rosemary. The cocktail was launched in June 2016. There’s a trend for Spritz and particularly vermouth. The bitter flavors open up the taste buds and prepare them to savor the remaining flavors.
What are the specific characteristics of this drink?
What distinguishes this drink is the pot-distilled rosemary and the orange peel that is distilled separately. Everything is done to avoid having any preservatives or colorants, and to create a natural, stable product. I make a light infusion of all the components at the last moment to get a natural color. So, in parallel with this, I prepare eaux-de-vie from all the various elements: gentian, cinchona or quinine bark, and I use Blanquette de Limoux, a sweet sparkling white wine from this region, in place of Prosecco.
In my view, the unusual element of this cocktail is the rosemary… It grows in the hotel’s aromatic garden before ending up in the cocktail. If the guest leaves with a bottle of Rigolo, they take a little bit of the hotel with them… literally!