52 weeks in a year, 1 martini per week! That's how she rolls. Thankfully Forest Collins started a popular blog a while back (52Martinis) which has helped lost souls like me identify where to find a good cocktail. A few weeks ago, I went over to her place and chatted about living abroad and doing what you love. It was absolutely my pleasure to spend some time with Forest at her charming residence in Paris and get to know why and how 52Martinis started. There was always a buzz surrounding 52M and I wanted to know more. I left the interview inspired by her hard work and excited to go check out her new baby, The Chamber
There is no place like home! Where are you from Forest?
Seattle, Washington. Great city for food!. Each time I go back now, it feels so small. Before I always thought of it as this big ol' town. But it’s home for me.
How long have you been living in France?
About 11-12 years. I lost count. I wanted to study abroad, so I went to Annecy because it was a little town where I could learn French. I knew if I went to Paris, it would be this great big city with lots of international people speaking English. So I spent some time in Annecy before moving to Paris.
Hardest part of living abroad.
You are totally screwed after living abroad!. The reason is because you will never be fully satisfied anywhere. When you're at home, you miss being aboard, when you're abroad you miss being home. You always miss something because you lived abroad.
What is 52 martinis?
52 Martinis started as a cocktail blog and I would really say that now it's a cocktail lifestyle. It might sound funny, but that's how I perceive it. The blog is a chronicle of my cocktail adventures and the lifestyle is lived through my meetups, chamber events and fellow cocktail lovers that I meet through them.
Why did you start 52 martins?
To simply put it, I was in need of some cocktails in Paris! There was no intention to make it anything more. In my travels to places likes London, NY, Germany and Japan, I noticed that so many metropolitan cities have this great cocktail scene and it just didn't exist in Paris. So I decided that each Wednesday I would strategically seek out a place that made (potentially) good cocktails and try them out. At the time I was sharing this information on a local food forum, but I decided to start the blog as a means to keep everything in one spot and share it easily with visiting friends. This all began around 2008 and shortly after I started getting emails from people who also wanted to find great cocktails and wanted to have a drink with me. In 2009 I started my first meetup. That's when all this kinda' began and grew into something beyond my initial and personal search for the best cocktails in Paris.
I feel like recently your blog has taken off. Do you feel that as well?
Yes! Cocktails are exploding in Paris right now. Around the time I started 52 Martinis, the ECC group kicked off this revived craft cocktail culture in Paris with their first bar, Experimental Cocktail Club. They’ve become a big trend. In the early days my blog got attention from a small network of cocktail geeks. Now it gets more attention from a global audience who are getting on board with the new trend. I try to think of 52 Martinis as a small project I do within my own little bubble of a world and not of its place in a bigger movement because I want to stay credible and genuine. It might be part of a bigger global trend, but at the end of the day, it’s just me, sharing my opinion on what and where I like to drink.
Future of 52?
Nothing will change much. I want to keep my blog more up to date. The friday5 is still alive (where I invite 5 people to try different cocktails). All my meetups will still continue and there will be a big focus on The Chamber events that I've started.
Yea so I heard about The Chamber events. What is is?
The Chamber is a private social club. Kind of like the hidden supper clubs, but for cocktails. People are tired of going out the same way and the Chamber is different because it allows people to meet in an intimate environment of 12 people in a wonderful venue, eat high quality food and have some great drinks. It's simple, I want people to have a good time and this was the best way for me to make that happen. When you sign up for the annual membership, each month you have the opportunity to buy tickets for our events at special rates for members. Because spaces are limited and on a first come first serve basis, members get the first crack at tickets for the monthly popups as well as other events like the Tipsy Tea Time, Boozy Book Club, or Master Classes on spirits and interesting food or drink brands.
Favorite cocktails places at the moment?
Ohh that IS such a hard question. It depends on so much like mood, feeling. My likes are always changing. Currently, I would say Mary Celeste is always a great place, Joe over at Red House is awesome, and Artisan.
Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.' by Gustave Flaubert