“We saw so much diversity in drinking in New York, it was fascinating,” Mr. de Goriainoff said. “There was no cocktail culture in France, and what people were drinking was bad quality. None of us had real professional experience before we started the E.C.C. We did our first professional experience by creating our own jobs, and in that respect we are very American-spirited.”
The Parisian original, furnished with vintage odds and ends, has no more than 25 seats, and bartenders who would look at home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with their caps and suspenders. They mix drinks like the Memphis sour, made with Rittenhouse rye, red wine, lemon, bitters and paprika. The group owns three cocktail lounges and a wine bar in Paris — all with different names because “the French don’t like chains,” as Mr. de Goriainoff put it. There is also an Experimental Cocktail Club Chinatown, in London.
For New York, the partners have decorated a larger space in a mix of retro styles, with a pressed tin ceiling. “We thought this look would reflect the history of this neighborhood,” Mr. Cros said.
The menu lists 14 cocktails made by Nicolas de Soto, most of which are extremely complex, like the Curious Prescription, made with reposado tequila, pear eau de vie, manzanilla sherry, lime juice, habanero bitters and homemade salted caramel mezcal syrup. But the partners do not want the cocktail menu published. “It should be a surprise to the customers who come in,” Mr. de Goriainoff said.
Experimental Cocktail Club