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A Bar in Amsterdam Launches Scent-Inspired Cocktails

Amsterdam’s Pulitzer’s Bar pours three new Le Labo–inspired cocktails with top notes of leather, violet, and cardamom.

Le Labo Leather Cocktail Photo: Boyd Grift

When it comes to innovations in the world of mixed drinks, the sky’s the limit. Action behind top bars all over the world now includes unusual ingredients (like truffles and chilies) and unexpected preparation techniques (like sous vide and fat-washing). So it’s no surprise that this winter, Pulitzer’s Bar in Amsterdam has launched a collection of cocktails inspired by a fragrance—the iconic Santal 33 by New York–based perfumer Le Labo. If you’ve been seduced by Santal 33’s smoky, powdery, multilayered scent, now you can enjoy those very notes as the base layer in three tasty tipples.

Each of the cocktails is specifically made with one of Santal 33’s three main notes in mind: cardamom, violet, and leather. (The drinks are named after those elements, too.) Upon arrival, bar patrons begin their journey by touching and smelling the raw ingredients before selecting a favorite. The Cardamom cocktail boasts layers of cool spice, herbaceousness, and warmth thanks to Opihr gin, rosemary syrup, grapefruit juice, and cardamom bitters.

Le Labo Cardamom Cocktail

Le Labo Pulitzer’s Bar Cardamom Cocktail  Photo: Boyd Grift

Violet, on the other hand, is a refreshing blend of a bright, floral gin, a citrus shrub, a violet liqueur, egg whites, and a splash of soda water for some bubbles. Its smooth density is meant to resemble the silkiness of a flower petal. But Leather might just be this winter season’s best bet: It can be described as a more complex twist on the Manhattan, mixing bourbon, sherry, and amaretto with a few dashes of bitters for a robust slow-sipper.

Pulitzer's Bar

Pulitzer’s Bar  Photo: Courtesy Pulitzer's Bar


“Aroma is a crucial element in a cocktail and for taste in general,” says Pulitzer’s Bar head bartender Andrei Talapanescu, who developed the three recipes. “Focusing on fragrant aromas in a cocktail can really amplify and enhance the act of drinking that cocktail.” But with this project, there is a local tie-in. Hotel Pulitzer, where the bar is located, uses Santal 33 as a bathroom amenity and sprays the scent all over the property. It’s become one of the hotel’s identifying features among guests. And that olfactory journey continues on in the bar until January 31.

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