Impressions of Paris: Cocktail Edition

16 March - 14 July 2024

Bienvenu à Bendigo! 

Our Impressions of Paris: Cocktail Edition is a showcase of French and Parisian cocktails, each with a Dispensary twist and completed with a cool story.  

Enjoy two Paris inspired cocktails, and aperitif snack for $40, the daily selection is noted on our Specials Board, and the cool story is located below.  

Add this experience to lunch or dinner, or pop in for an afternoon treat.  Enjoy! 

But first… a little history.

Often referred to as the “Golden Age of Cocktails”, this era was characterised by a significant growth in cocktail creativity and the emergence of many classics that remain popular today, such as the Martini, the Manhattan, and the Daiquiri.

Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri, hosted what is considered the first cocktail party, inviting 50 guests to her home for a Sunday luncheon that prominently featured cocktails. This event epitomized the social status of cocktails as a central element of sophisticated entertainment.

The Prohibition era in the United States led to the rise of speakeasies, illicit bars where people could enjoy alcoholic beverages away from the prying eyes of the law. This period fostered a culture of innovation and secrecy around cocktail creation and consumption.


Paris become a crucible for the cocktail revolution. American bartenders, fleeing Prohibition in the United States, brought with them the art of cocktail making. This cross-pollination introduced Parisians to new concoctions and elevated the cocktail from a mere drink to a symbol of sophistication and modernity.


Increasing global mobility and cultural exchange led to the incorporation of ingredients and spirits from around the world. The influence of Cuban rum, French vermouth, and British gin is evident in the recipes of the time.


The early 20th century saw the birth of the Dry Martini, evolving significantly during this period, as it was initially, it was a sweeter drink made with sweet vermouth. Over time, the Dry Martini, made with dry vermouth and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist, gained popularity.

This era also saw the emergence of The Art of Mixology, with bartenders becoming respected craftsmen. Legendary figures like Harry MacElhone, who owned Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, became celebrities in their own right, inventing classics like the Bloody Mary and the Sidecar.

Published in 1930, this iconic book compiled by Harry Craddock, bartender at the Savoy Hotel in London, became a definitive guide to cocktails during this period. Despite being released slightly after 1925, it contains recipes that were popular during and before this time frame, capturing the essence of the era’s cocktail culture.

More fun cocktail facts

These fun facts offer just a glimpse into the colorful history of cocktails between 1880 and 1925, showcasing a period of remarkable creativity and cultural exchange that laid the groundwork for many of the beloved cocktail traditions we enjoy today.

Originating in Paris during World War I, the Sidecar became emblematic of the era’s penchant for refined yet simple cocktails. Its precise origins are debated, but it’s a prime example of the cross-cultural exchange that influenced cocktail development.

Although Tiki culture is often associated with the 1930s and beyond, its roots can be traced back to the fascination with Polynesian culture that began in the early 20th century. This fascination would later inspire a whole genre of exotic cocktails.

Paris in the early 20th century was a vibrant hub of creativity, drawing artists, writers, and intellectuals from around the world.  This period, especially during the 1920s, became known as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, and Paris stood at its cultural heart. 

The city’s drink culture, particularly its bars and cafés, played a crucial role in shaping the era’s literature and art, serving as both a backdrop and a source of inspiration for the works of notable expatriates like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein. These individuals were part of what Gertrude Stein termed the “Lost Generation,” a group of American writers who were disillusioned by the devastation of World War I and sought solace and meaning in the bustling life of Paris.

Ernest Hemingway: 
Hemingway’s Paris years are vividly chronicled in his posthumous memoir, “A Moveable Feast,” a detailed portrait of the city’s café culture. 

Hemingway often frequented cafés like the Dôme, the Select, and the Closerie des Lilas, using them as his daytime offices where he would write, observe, and mingle with other expatriates and artists. The Dry Martini was one of Hemingway’s favorite drinks, which he enjoyed at the Ritz Paris. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald:
Another emblematic figure of the Lost Generation, found in the Parisian lifestyle a mirror to the opulence and despair of the American Jazz Age, which he famously chronicled in novels like “The Great Gatsby.” 

Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, were known for their lavish and tumultuous life in Paris, frequenting many of the same cafés and bars as Hemingway.  The couple’s notorious drinking habits were well known, and Fitzgerald’s relationship with alcohol was a recurring theme in his work.

Gertrude Stein
An avant-garde writer, poet, and art collector, hosted a famous salon in Paris that became a gathering place for the Lost Generation and other intellectuals and artists, including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. 

Though not a bar or café, Stein’s salon at 27 rue de Fleurus offered a similar communal atmosphere where ideas, art, and literature were as freely exchanged as the drinks served.

The drink culture of Paris provided a space for relaxation, conversation, and observation, crucial for the creative processes of many artists and writers. 

The cafés and bars of Paris were not just places to drink but were integral to the social fabric of the expatriate community, facilitating the exchange of ideas that would shape the literature and art of the era. This period in Paris was marked by a sense of freedom and possibility, as well as the shadow of post-war disillusionment, themes that resonated deeply in the works produced by members of the Lost Generation. Their stories and art capture the essence of a Paris that was, for them, as much a state of mind as a physical place, immortalizing the city’s drink culture as a symbol of their search for meaning and belonging in a rapidly changing world.

The custom of enjoying an aperitif before dinner became a quintessential part of Parisian dining culture. Drinks like vermouth, pastis, and Kir (a cocktail made with crème de cassis and white wine) became staples in Parisian bars and homes, reflecting a lifestyle that celebrated leisure and gastronomy.

Cocktails and cool stories

The way to do it in Montmatre!

The famous spoon technique.

Pernod Absinthe, sugar & Baron Jaques Brut Fizz. 
Invented by & named after Ernist Hemingway’s Memoir of the impressionsist times in France.

Lillet Rose, Grapefruit soda, topped with fizz.

Beefeater gin, campari, lemon & Fizz.

Pernod Absinthe, Liquorice, lemon & egg white.

Lillet Blanc, Beefeater Gin, Elderflower, Grapefruit.

Martell VS Cognac, Peach, lemon, Bitters.

Martell VS Cognac, Cointreau, Lemon. 

Developed By Harry MacElhone at Harry’s New York Bar, 5 Rue Danue Paris in 1919. One of history’s greatest Parisian classic cocktails.