The tourist season has finished here in Corsica and I’ve finally found time to write another post. Apparently by usual standards this year was quite a quiet one, however along with trying to produce a liqueur, organising Corsica’s first cocktail competition and a TV appearance it has kept me busy!
So after a month or so, my menu at Le Colomba began to take shape, a new cocktail being added as I created them. Sometimes it was one per week, other times I would have a crazy creative spell and 3 would pop up in a day!
Throughout the summer, drinks that didn’t sell were gradually replaced until I finally had a menu that I was satisfied with. Over the next few weeks I will post some details about the drinks on my menu. Before I do so I will tell you a little about Bastia as a city and what the bar scene is like here, hopefully that will give some kind of context to my menu.
Bastia is a city of 40,000ish people, situated on the east coast of Corsica in the north of the island. It is the 2nd biggest city on the island after Ajaccio. It is built on steep hillsides centered around the two ports. The Old Port is the original port of Bastia and where I arrived from Italy on Primavera some 5 months ago. It is also the location of Brasserie Le Colomba. The new port is where the large ferries from Italy and mainland France arrive. It is hardly picturesque and is home to some very seedy nightclubs.
Being in the north of the island, tourists don’t generally stay here for long, most of the tourist sights are down south, the generally more beautiful half of the island. They arrive on the ferry, stay here for a night or two and then move on. Bastia might also be known by football fans, they have a team in the French Serie 1, finishing 10th last year and currently sitting at more or less the same place this year. It is known in France as a difficult place to come to play, forget ‘The Beautiful Game’, these guys play hard. The Stoke City of the French league perhaps.
The Bar scene in Bastia is basic to say the least. Most bars are pretty much the same as each other, very few opting to do anything different. Most have similar wine , beer and spirit selections. As far as cocktails are concerned, I know of 2 bars in Bastia (other than Le Colomba) which have started to make their own creations, which is great to see. The other places don’t really serve anything beyond Mojito variations.
So, the average consumer in Bastia is not really accustomed to seeing anything innovative on a bars menu. The most commonly ordered drinks being Wine, anything with vodka, the horrible Mint flavoured liqueur called Get27 served with sparkling water and of course beer. As I said in a previous post, the gin craze hasn’t even made it to Corsica and G&Ts rarely ordered. So when I started work at Le Colomba, one of the first things I did was to put together a small gin selection to improve on the 1 gin behind the bar. Hendricks, Gin Mare, G’Vine, and The Botanist being my first additions to the Le Colomba bar.
Next post coming soon will start the run down of the cocktails on my menu… I promise you won’t have to wait this long for a post again.