French-Press Cocktails

A French press can do more than make coffee; bartenders are using it as a tool to make great batch cocktails.

In winter, it’s a fast way to infuse layered flavours from peels and spices into a hot toddy. In summer, it’s perfect with fresh fruits and herbs — more gentle than muddling and you can control the intensity of the infusion by pressing more or less heavily on the plunger.


There’s a French press behind the bar at Bar Laurel, the new Ottawa hot spot from Chef Jon Svazas. There’s also a Scotsman. Bartender Matt Millard was born and raised in Aberdeen but found his vocation in Edinburgh when he apprenticed with the world-class mixology team at Panda & Sons cocktail bar. Then he met and married a Canadian and moved to Ottawa. Many of the cocktails he creates at Bar Laurel match the modern Spanish theme of the menu; we asked him to make one for us that showcases the French press. 


Try Matt Millard's April in Paris made with Grey Goose Vodka. Grey Goose is produced in France, which fits in with this sophisticated cocktail’s Parisian moniker. Made from winter wheat, it has a noticeably peppery palate – perfect for strawberries.