Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Le Lion - Bar de Paris

Blood & Sand feat. Laphroig 10-year single malt, Carpano Antica Formula and Guignolet de Dijon black cherry liqueur.

Tanqueray Malacca martini with olives on the side.

Trident (aquavit, Cynar and dry sherry) and 20th Century.
Prof. Langnickel (PX Sherry, Guignolet de Dijon, and Morand Kirschbrand) and charcuteri étagère
Le Lion - Bar de Paris
Rathausstraße 3
Altstadt, Hamburg

B is a bit of cocktail geek, and when I had announced that I was planning to go to Hamburg for thesis field studies, he was quick to tag along - and make a reservation for us at Le Lion. The bar, which is placed centrally in Hamburg, is regarded as among the most progressive in Europe, headed by Jörg Meyer. Once you enter the bar you however get the impression that this is a classic bar in every sense with lush interiors, old school tunes, and golden hues aplenty. I started off with a Le Lion classic, their twist on (my favorite cocktail) Blood & Sand, here made with 10-year Laphroig. A good drink for sure, and while I am a huge fan of smokey foods and beverages - generally, thing that scratches a bit in my mouth - I felt that the drink did not perfectly manage to tie together the initial smoky taste with the deep, sweet ending. B on the other hand was happy to get to try the limited edition Tanqueray Malacca. He was not overwhelmed (really, while we might be drinking a lot of cocktails, we are by no means experts) but did enjoy it very much and was happy to get to try it - and further I loved the presentation. Next up for me was another classic, 20th century, which turned out to be a pleasant experience. B was a bit more adventurous and asked for something featuring amaro, the result being a Trident including equal parts aquavit, Cynar and dry sherry, leaving me with a very pleased man.

By now the place was getting crowded (with a very mature clientele, inhaling large amounts of G&Ts), and as we had previously heard of a closed section upstairs we kindly asked whether there would be any room for us. Apparently we had not misbehaved so far and were quickly escorted into an elevator taking us a few floors up. By then I had gotten slightly hungry (or at least my tipsy brain was telling me so), so we ordered some snacks, and received a beautiful étagère of pork in different forms (cured and salami - the dried kind this time) and brie de Meaux, which perfectly hit the spot. I once again returned to the menu for inspiration and opted for Prof. Langnickel, featuring Pedro Ximenez sherry, Guignolet and cherry brandy - very indulgent and obviously very sweet, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. B went with a classic, a Manhattan made with Noah's Mill and Carpano, and was again very pleased.

We had a gorgeous experience at Le Lion. Perfectly crafted cocktails, attentive and very knowledgable service and an inclusive and cosy atmosphere. Highly recommended.

Note - Søren Krogh Sørensen has previously worked at Le Lion (and PDT in NYC for that matter) and exercises his cocktail magic in Ourselves Alone in Copenhagen - do make sure to pay him a visit (and if you're feeling adventurous, ask for a Dillinger - you will not regret it!)

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