Midnight in Paris · Colette

By Eric Twardzik · 09/11/2020

Colette Wine Bistro’s Midnight in Paris is a reliable showstopper, thanks to its jet-black hue. But peel back the dramatic coloration—a special effect achieved with flavor-neutral activated charcoal—and what you’ll find is a refreshing vodka highball going through a goth phase.

“It’s the type of drink that makes people say, ‘What’s that?’ when it passes by their table,” says beverage director Christopher Keith. “Besides its squid ink-color from the activated charcoal, it’s a vodka highball with a squeeze of lime, muddled cucumber, mint, and simple syrup, with a topper of soda water.”

In this drink, two steps—muddling simple syrup with cucumber and then shaking the mixture with mint—infuse the syrup with extra flavor before it lands in the finished product. Just be sure to double-strain, so that bits of mint and cucumber don’t end up in the cocktail.

It takes little more than a pinch of activated charcoal to naturally dye the drink black. The ingredient is sold online, but we recommend buying it locally at Cambridge Naturals, a natural wellness store located just a stone’s throw from Colette.

Midnight in Paris
1½ ounces vodka
1½ ounces lime juice
1½ ounces soda water
1 ounce simple syrup
4 cucumber slices
6 mint leaves
½ teaspoon activated charcoal

Muddle 3 cucumber slices with simple syrup, then add to a shaker with vodka, lime juice, mint leaves, and activated charcoal. Shake until chilled, then double strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with soda water and garnish with remaining cucumber slice.

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