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For the love of gin: an interview with Adaina Smyth from Le Bar Les Cousins

Adaina Smyth from Le Bar Les Cousins shares her love of gin with her guests. Our interview.

Adaina Smyth is the Chef de bar at Bar Les Cousins in the Alt+ Hotel Quartier DIX30. And she really, really loves gin. Probably just as much as her guests.

''People are amazed by our huge collection of gins'', says the creator of the cocktail list at Bar Les Cousins. It is the reason why she decided to create the in-house event ‘’Gin of the month’’, where one (or two!) gins are chosen by Adaina to be the superstars of the month. They will be featured at least once a week as the ''cocktail of the day'' and will be offered at a lower price.

But why did she choose to experiment with gin over vodka or rum? ''Gin is so dynamic. As for vodka, they all taste similar. I’ll admit that the real connoisseurs can taste the differences. In general, they all taste the same.’’

What Adaina Smyth likes to do is take a classic recipe, such as the Negroni (gin, vermouth and Campari) and switch things up a bit by trying it with different, often micro distilled gins. She is currently updating the 5 à 7 cocktail list, adding more of her gin creations.

A lot of people come to her and say that they don’t like gin. However, according to Adaina, this is generally not quite true. ''It is not that you don’t like gin. Unfortunately, you’ve had a bad experience with gin. You have to find one that works well with you.’’

That’s why at Le Bar Les Cousins, if you want to discover a new gin, she’ll most probably try it with you. ''We take our time to explain to our guests what they are drinking. We do tastings at your table and we taste the product with you. We try to make it special. We want to create memories.''

The trickiest question of them all: what is her favorite gin? ‘’I’m a mood drinker. I don’t have a specific favorite. But some that I really enjoy playing with is Levenswater Gin, an Ontarian gin. Is uses 34 botanicals produced in the region. From Quebec, I have a few favorites. I like Madison Park Pink. It’s floral, delicate, you can drink it on the rocks. It’s my spring drink!''

And her classic? ''The KM12 gin (from Distillerie du Fjord). It’s a boreal gin. I can drink it straight. It’s clean, it’s smooth. You’re getting literally the boreal forest. It’s like you’re drinking Quebec! When people want that in a gin and tonic, I tell them no! You don’t want to spoil it. Keep it simple.'

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Virginie LandryMarch 1st, 2019
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