Phi by Pauline Desurmont

The bar is constantly evolving trough the establishment, the customer, the bartending, the bartender and trends changing.

Back to the Roots. And if our perception of the bar needed to return back to their origins, back to simplicity and authenticity ?

A french sociologist said "True novelty is always born in the return to sources."

That’s why I like Roots Liquor, for their modernity and at the same time their legacy with their ancestral recipes that they perpetuate.

I have a little preference for Rakomelo Roots for its history which was originally a popular hot drink made in every greek family and shared in winter with friends and neighbours.

I will tell you the story of one's most famous New York's Speakeasy.

If you wanted to enter this bar you had to find the constantly changing phone number to book a table. You would then have to go to a small dark alley in a residential area. When you came to the door, you had to ring the bell, follow a long corridor and behind thick velvet curtains you could admired the traditional sophistication of this place.

Review on this evening of October 23, 2013 at 134 Eldridge Street.

Before this wonderful adventure ends when the last customer was escorted out at dawn on the song Every Night About This Time By The Ink Spots ; Sam Ross was preparing last cocktails of the closing menu. Among them was the Penicillin cocktail that he had created at the Milk & Honey.

It was probably with nostalgia that he remembered his first day here.

Sam Ross was always prepared creative cocktails, but at Milk & Honey he learned something more valuable: how to refine and prepare the best possible beverages, paying special attention to each element from the ice quality to temperature of the drink. «I just closed my mouth, listened and watched.»

Sasha had not a good vision about bartending of his time, he considered as "unbalanced cocktails and overly complex original recipes".

With taking care of all recommendations and everithing he learned with Sasha, about how to serve a customer or how to work on his drink, he decided to twist a classic cocktail, the gold rush. And the Penicillin was born, a sour with scotch whisky, lemon juice, ginger cordial, honey syrup and a touch of islay whisky. It became a modern classic iconic.

So, for this contest I decide to adapt the Penicillin for all the symbolics that it represents with the Milk & Honey. In my shaker I add the Rakomelo Roots liquor for the sweetness of honey and this particular taste of spices, for sour I use verjus for the taste more delicate than lemon and because is an old traditional product more ecological with our french vine yards. Even if I don’t use the lemon juice, I search the bitter flavor from the peel so I use an essential oil of lemon. For sure a Penicillin needs ginger, I take fresh grated ginger and obviously, whisky. For that, I didn’t want one too peaty like an Islay, I preferred a Highland Park 10 for these honey, spices, smoky and just a little bit peaty notes. Double strain into a flûte or cocktail glass and for garnish I put an edible flower, offering flowers means lot of good intentions and generosity.

I called my cocktail Phi for three reasons, I wanted a name that can have signification and have a link between each element.

The first link is the P, the same first letter with the Penicillin’s name. The second is for Roots liquor’s origins, Phi (φ) the 21st letter of Greek Alphabet. The third reason is because I want thanks my fabulous dad Philippe by taking a diminutive. He is a man of values and principles as Sasha Petraske was as the behaviour that he excepted from his customers with his House Rules written on bronze plates.

all these principles of gallantry, decency, codes of honor and conduct of a bygone era were important to Sasha. A gentleman is distinguished by his good manners. His clientele had to be polite, insults and fights were strictly forbidden at Milk & Honey, men had to be respectful with women and don't disturb them. Sasha was a generous and honest person, always ready to help others around him. He was very discreet and did not like to be in the spotlight. He was an important man of great humility. My Father is this type of man, and without him, I will certainly not be the person that I am. So Thanks to all these inspiring persons which only give good. Because I think it's in solidarity that we can evolve, with our roots and our history.

Pauline Desurmont.JPG


Rakomelo Roots
Highland Park 10
grated fresh ginger
emon essential oil

Pauline Desurmont
The Deck
Nice - France