Summer Cocktail Menu at the Mandarin Oriental Paris Bar 8

Back in April, Bar 8 of the Mandarin Oriental Paris launched a special summer menu, for which I’m a little remiss in not spilling specifics sooner. But, it’s never too late to share good cocktail news, so let’s get into the details.

Alex Francis and Barney O’Kane created the summer menu for Mandarin Oriental Paris hotel’s Bar 8

Since opening in 2011, the Mandarin Oriental Paris has been a top choice for lux accommodations, however, its bar has never been a really strong contender in the city’s cocktail scene. Until now. Their new summer cocktail menu, Saison: Season, may be the game-changer. Mandarin Oriental Paris made a smart move bringing in industry heavy hitters and former Little Red Door staff, Alex Francis and Barney O’Kane, as consultants for menu development. 

Shiso cocktail at Mandarin Oriental Paris Bar 8

Francis and O’Kane have put together a selection of 10 cocktails at €27 that incorporate Asian flavors using local, seasonal ingredients. Drinks range from the delicate Mandarin (mandarin liqueur, champagne and orange bitters) to the more unexpected Rice, made with toasted rice spirit, brown sugar syrup and barrel aged French sake. Having tasted through most of the menu, it’s an impressive range of styles and spirits. The Red Bean is particularly interesting, with peated whiskey, seltzer, and cherry brandy, which not only makes use of an unusual ingredient, but pulls together three disparate flavors in a coherent and approachable way. It’s almost – dare I say  – a more elegant whisky and coke flavor profile. 

Red Bean not only capitalised on an unusual flavor, but can be ordered with or without alcohol

Red Bean is also one of the four cocktails on the menu which can be ordered in non-alcoholic versions. The spirit-free versions ring in at €24, a price more easily justified by the unique flavor profiles.

Francis and O’Kane have managed to hit that sweet spot that can often be elusive for high end hotel bars that’s accessible to a wide range of regular guests but interesting enough to appeal to cocktail cognizatti. Additionally, the flavor concepts resonate with the Mandarin Oriental Paris’ iconic Asian origins without being too cloying or try-hard.

The Mandarin Oriental Paris terrace is well worth a stop

The menu is playfully perfect for warm nights on the leafy terrace, which deserves more press. The current menu also suggests classics, but I’d stick with the cocktail creations for something you can’t find somewhere else. The finger food is also worth a try: recognizable bar snacks with elevated or updated twists like truffle fries or smoked trout, a refreshing change from the standard salmon.

I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the Mandarin Oriental Paris hotel bar. I hear there may be some remodel happening after the summer, which will hopefully better highlight the bar. If they keep moving in the current direction, they’ll be on a promising path. 

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