LPM gives us a peek into the life of French artist Jean Cocteau through its new global cocktail menu.
Creativity, style, and taste are three things bars strive for, yet staying relevant and keeping guests’ tastebuds guessing is no small feat. Bars are often looking for interesting themes to base their cocktails around. Some may use the newest type of gin in town, some may try a product that is all the rage at the moment, like CBD, while some choose to build concoctions celebrating life.
This year, LPM turned towards the latter, launching a global experiential cocktail menu celebrating the life of Jean Cocteau, a French poet and novelist known as a “bon-vivant.”
Launched mid-October, the cocktail menu commemorates the fruitful life Jean Cocteau lived, honouring everything from his childhood memories and his achievements to the special friendships he made.
Like many of us, Jean Cocteau was also a gastronome, even penning “Recettes pour un ami” (Recipes for a friend) with chef Raymond Olivier. To complement his recipe collection and to honour the influential artist, LPM created “Recipes for our friends” a series of 12 libations divided into four chapters that commemorate an important moment in Jean’s life.
The menu, designed by award-winning LPM Global Manager Tibor Krascenics, is an artwork of itself. Having grown up with a French education, opening the menu brought me back to my childhood. The textured red sleeve made of pinatex was reminiscent of the textbook sleeves we used at school. The iconic French cursive font we all spent years perfecting was scribbled all over the pages, next to the caricatures that are “oh so French”, some resembling those found in children’s books. Let’s look at a few highlights from the menu, shall we?
The first chapter, Maison Lafitte, is named after Cocteau’s birth town and commemorates the place where Jean started writing his first poems at 10 years old. The light concoctions include the 1889 Americano, with a twist on the classic courtesy of toasted pineapple, Jean’s favourite fruit, and suze, a bitter aperitif which, like Jean, was born in 1889. Suze also appears in Linden Alley along with St Germain and sour linden tea, a breath of the freshness emanating from the blossoming linden trees surrounding the garden Jean used to spend so much time in.
Fast forward to the French Riviera in the 1920s, at Hotel Welcome which would often see influential figures such as Coco Chanel, Charlie Chaplin and Kiki de Montparnasse pass through. Described as the best moments of his life, his wild and creative years inspired Room 22, made with absinthe, which he and his fellow artist friends would enjoy on nights of debauchery as the magic potion to help their most creative minds do their work. Trinity, made of Bacardi, cacao and strawberries and served on a floating glass, on the other hand, was a vision Cocteau had about Saturn’s rings, which he shared with non-other than Louis Cartier. The result? The famous Cartier Trinity ring of white, yellow and rose gold. Another cocktail to note is Lettre a Coco, an ode to his dear friend Coco Chanel, with scents of her first perfume lingering in the concoction made of champagne cordial, jasmine, bergamot and rose.
The 50s were spent at a hillside villa in the south of France, where Cocteau would spend days painting colourful frescoes on the huge white walls of Villa Santo Sospir, the third chapter. One of his dear friends was Picasso, which in turn inspired the cocktail Pablo, a blend of botanical gin, tarragon and mint cordial, with a drop of blue and green, Picasso and Cocteau’s favourite colours. At that time, he also filmed the magical Beauty and the Beast long before the animated Disney adaptation we all know, and the floral fragrance of the strawberry and fennel cordial associated with the rose can be detected along with a splash of yellow chartreuse and Saint Germain and vodka.
The last chapter of the menu, and Jean Cocteau’s life, takes place in a quaint village outside Paris, where he spent his last few years writing, dreaming and eating with friends in a home that reminded him of his childhood. The Tuesday Escape, composed of Daron Pay d’Auge, dry curacao and apple shrub, is a reflection of his Tuesdays spent as a child sneaking into the village to buy the Journal de Mickey, sweets and apple tart. The menu all in all, is a true ode to nostalgia and dreamers.