Q&A: Ritz Paris’s Legendary Bartender Colin Field

Ritz Paris’s legendary bartender is bringing haute mixology to the skies with a new Air France cocktail program.

colin field portrait air france

The Ritz Paris’s legendary bartender is bringing haute mixology to the skies with a new Air France cocktail program.

Tell us about the cocktails you’re creating for Air France’s La Première passengers.

I wanted to give a taste of [the Ritz Paris’s] Bar Hemingway at 32,000 feet. The ingredients are all French. Air France is French, and my cocktails should be totally French, too. The Air France Première cocktail—made with Calvados, apple juice, and Champagne—is exactly that. It’s the perfect airplane cocktail: refreshing, lively, and not too strong. It’s like France in a glass.

Many say that Bloody Marys taste best in the air. Do you agree?

I enjoy Bloody Marys everywhere, although I’m spoiled because I enjoy them with freshly squeezed tomato juice from different varieties. Do they taste better at 32,000 feet high? I have tried them up and down and they seem the same to me.

Any cocktails to avoid  when flying?

Once somebody recommended a cocktail with a cream whiskey base and tonic. But this seems horrendous in a plane or on the ground!

Is there a cocktail you are particularly proud of?

I created a Manhattan that was just so perfect—I mean this modestly!—that I thought it would be better to drink it from a wine glass. It’s called a Red Nichols Manhattan. People approach it differently. They look at it more, swirl it, nose it, taste it, and repeat. It’s very gratifying.

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