Cocktail Tasting at Geneva’s Le Verre à Monique
November 23, 2016
Written by: Camille Lake
Everyone knows about wine and whisky tastings, but have you had a cocktail tasting? The man behind Le Verre à Monique, Ben, thought it was a great idea. And judging by how sought after his trendy bar is among Geneva’s discerning residents, and by how much we enjoyed the cocktails, we couldn’t agree more.
Having been invited by Ben and his friendly team for a tasting, my partner and I were presented with the menu, which boasts a vast selection of unique cocktails, as well as accompanying tapas. Ben shortly launched into an enthusiastic tale about his original vision and the creative process he uses for each cocktail. We started with the facts first up, taking note that Le Verre à Monique was inspired by the speakeasy prohibition-era of the 1920s in America, where alcohol had to be dressed up as tea to avoid detection. As a tribute to this period, Gin makes an appearance in many of the cocktails and some drinks are served in vintage teapots (as they were once served).
Eager to commence our cocktail tasting, we commenced with the King of Denmark, a Tanqueray gin and tonic, with dill and crushed peas. This seemingly strange combination was surprisingly tasty, with the greens used to soften the sharpness of the tonic. Then came Mango Unchained, a rum based cocktail garnished with a fire-lit kaffir lime leaf to evoke the senses. The Karma Sumatra was also a favourite at the establishment – for those who enjoy a vermouth and rum mix. Its pearl jasmine infusion is reminiscent of the flavours of Asia.
For those who prefer stronger flavours, I recommend trying the Smokey Bear. This black truffle-washed cognac is presented with a garnish of burning moss, delivering a richly satisfying flavour. My personal favourite was the Passion Fruit and Rhubarb Daiquiri for its sweet simplicity. On the more adventurous side is the award-winning El Dorado. This cocktail combines liquid Cenovis (Swiss Marmite), chopped grapefruit bitters and tequila. For liquorice lovers, ask for the Malice in Wonderland!
The bar itself was designed by co-owner Helen Calle-Lin and the result is a stylish art deco interior where classy meets quirky. Copper and candlelight dominate the room and the velvet couches provide a feeling of intimacy and comfort. Crystal glasses add further sophistication around the bar and have become Le Verre à Monique’s most outstanding feature next to the cocktails themselves.
This bar is a particularly attractive option for those who wish to get away from the all too familiar plushness of the hotel. Here you will mingle with a cosmopolitan crowd where you’re likely to meet both expats and locals. Also, its proximity to Plainpalais makes it the ideal stop on the way to a show or dinner.
If Le Verre à Monique’s sister bar in London is a sign of what is to come for the establishment, popularity will only rise for Ben’s bar in Geneva. His sister bar, The Gibson of 44 Old Street London, was recently awarded the Mixology Bar Award for Best New European Bar, and has been rated sixth on the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars 2016.
So do yourself a favour and have a glass at Monique’s on your next night out before it becomes the next big thing!
Le Verre à Monique, 19, Rue des Savoises, Geneva
Tuesday to Saturday from 17:30 till 02:00
Sundays and Mondays closed