But my favorite drinks?
Now, to fully understand my excitement leading up to this bar, it’s important to know a few good things.
The Backstory that Led Me to Danico
First, I’ve been to owner Nico de Soto’s NYC outpost Mace 3 or 4 times – and I’m always impressed by it.
When we took our 2 month Sabbatical we started in NYC and Mace was one of the very first bars we went to.
In a total stroke of serendipity on our very last night of the trip in Shanghai, Nico was doing a guest shift at SpeakLow, one of my other all time favorite bars.
Each of the 4 drinks he made were world class, and this was the night I also found out that he is the only person I know who has actually been to all of the top 100 bars.
So, immediately I liked the guy.
There are some more elements to that story I’ll tell in my SpeakLow review, but you get the idea.
Ever since, I’d vowed to make it to Paris to experience his original bar for myself.
And to make things even better, in 2018 it debuted on the top 100 list itself – so I got to kill two birds with one stone.
First Impressions of Danico
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but we walked by the entrance a couple of times before we realized it was inside a beautiful looking pizza restaurant named Daroco.
For a very quiet street (at least at the time we were there), the place was absolutely packed on a Sunday night.
We walked through the restaurant and found the bar tucked into the back. The whole place has a kind of urban tropical theme, that felt very trendy and classy.
Danico isn’t huge, and I can imagine wait times get long on busy weekend nights, but we were fortunate in that a group was leaving at the bar, so we sidled up and started perusing the menu.
Drinks at Danico Paris
The first drink I had to go with simply based on the name alone was “Better than Your F****** Spritz.
Now, when you think of an Aperol Spritz, it’s normally pretty predictable. Basic even. Aperol, prosecco, club soda – and you’re done.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Nico’s drinks, it’s that they are some of the most elaborate of any bars I’ve been to.
And not elaborate just for the sake of being elaborate (I’m looking at you, Gibson London), but everything seems purposeful – and more importantly – delicious.
Danico’s spritz was served in a pre mixed bottle, and is a combination of aperol, rhubarb, coconut, spices, juniper milk, and prosecco.
And the taste?
If there were ever a drink that lived up to it’s name, this is it. It truly is the best spritz I’ve ever had.
Next up, was a drink that sounded like everything I enjoy in a drink: funky rum, super bitter, unique flavor (pandan).
It was called the Run Naked Through the Jungle.
Can’t go wrong with a name like that, right?
I don’t know what it was about this time period, but I swear 1/3 of all the drinks I had in Paris had pandan of some sort in them.
If you’ve never heard of pandan before, it’s a tropical plant that’s generally used in SE Asia. It’s got a super unique, and at times overpowering flavor that is kind of nutty.
But personally, I love it.
And the thought of a pandan, rum negroni drink? Give it to me, NOW.
As with most drinks at one of Nico’s joints, there’s more going on than initially meets the eye.
In the case of this drink it’s Smith and Cross, Campari, Carpano Antica, pandan leaf, banana skin, and Puxuri (I honestly have no idea what that last one is).
And it tastes exactly how I expected: funky, tropical, bitter and amazing.
Now I could have left right then and been a really happy dude.
But, I couldn’t stop. I had to go one more.
And for that drink I went totally different: 254 calories.
Essentially it’s Christmas in a glass, and the exact opposite of any drink I expected to be enjoying in Paris in the Spring.
Yet here we are, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Served in a tiny little Christmas mug, the 254 Calories (which I’m guessing is an accurate number of the drink) is a mix of Peanut Butter Cognac, Amontillado Sherry, Pandan Cream, Nougat Syrup, Almond Milk, Egg, and Nutmeg.
What?! Peanut butter? Pandan? Nutmeg?
Even as I’m writing this now days later, I find myself longing to go back for these drinks – and finding myself excited for an upcoming NYC trip, so that I can visit the new Mace location.
Final Thoughts on Danico Paris
To sum it up, Danico exceeded all expectations I had for the place – which is saying something, as well, they were high.
It was the only place in Paris that we went back to. Well, kind of.
Once my sister got back in town we took her and some friends to Daroco for dinner, which had pizza worthy of the drinks found at its sister bar.
While we didn’t have time to get back to Danico, we were able to sweet talk our waitress into forgoing the more standard Spritz on their menu, to get us a round of the Better Than Your F***** Spritz.
Needless to say, nobody was disappointed.
In the 2019 edition of the World’s 50 Best Bars, many favorites either fell down or fell off the list (like Mace for instance), but I was happy to see Danico move up 5 spots from #73 to 68.
And as long as Nico doesn’t spend too much time on the road drinking at other bars I only expect to see that climb in the years to come.
It may not have quite the history or name of legends like Little Red Door, or Candelaria – but the drinks are just as good if not better.
And while the menu will have probably changed by the time you read this, the drinks will make it one of the best experiences you have in Paris.