Mathieu Le Feuvrier is a bartender at Peninsula Hotel in Paris. He makes two cocktails for us, the first one with tequila and green chartreuse, the second one with rum and herbs de Provence.
Mathieu introduce yourself
Hi, I’m Mathieu Le Feuvrier and I’m a bartender at Peninsula Hotel Paris. My carreer is very simple, I am graduate in hospitality, so I work in that field. During an internship, I had to work behind the bar, not really great cocktails, just gin tonic, whisky coke… but then I realized that I liked that, so I applied to a specialization in bartending. But the real flash came from my first internship at Normandy Barriere under the supervision of the head of bartender, Marc Jean, kind of institution there. He taught me a lot about whisky, eaux de vie… The cocktail touch came later, when I moved to Poland following my former girlfriend. I stayed 5 years working in a cocktail bar. At this time, I didn’t speak Polish, hardly english, so I had to prove that I worth something to my boss, sharp cocktails were the key to show my added value in this bar. Then I came back to France at the 43 Up the roof for 5 years, a mix of a hotel bar and chill bar with usual customers. But I’ve always wanted to work in a palace. So when Johan Lejeune, the bar manager of Peninsula Hotel Paris asked me to join him as deputy, the dream came true, no hesitation, I said yes in 5 minutes. And no regrets, I feel so good here, at the Kleber bar, more than the Peninsula roof top at the end.
The classic you want to show us
50ml of tequilla Avion Blanco
30ml of lime
20ml of agava syrup
20 ml of green chartreuse
2 tea spoon of herbs de provence
Garnish romarin lavande
The bar or party you dream of
The bar of my dreams would be like where I work now for the design : hight ceiling, very classy, wood, mirror… The Kleber bar is mythic, it’s where the peace agreement with Vietnam has been signed in 1973. So it’s a place where you can feel History. It’s important to have a place with a real history because it will be an inspiration for the menu, the ingredients and more generally what you propose. That’s what I want for my own bar, and it’s even betterfor me if it’s related, like here, to South East Asia, especially Cambodia. At the end, the right balance between palace style and a chill place would be my dream.
When I party, I like to chill, wear casual clothes, so a bar like Bespoke which makes you feel like home like no one, or Calbar. Of course it depends of my mood : it could even be a Cafe Oz just to drink beer, and if I want something with a higher cocktail level, I’ll go to Sherrybutt or Maria Loca.
The spirit you like the most
I love gin and tequila, but to work, it would be tequila. So complex to understand and work. Aromas can be smoky, bitter, fruity. Tequila could be reposado, white… whatever this spirit is the one to work with. I am a huge fan.
What makes a good cocktail and which product do you want to highlight at this moment
Obviously good ingredients and a good balance between acid and bitterness. But above everything, it’s about the bartender. If he is a “dickhead”, even if the cocktail is good you won’t like it. Your cocktail could be more average, but with the right person who takes care of you, it would be better, because you share a good moment.
My product is herbs de provence. Some colleagues mock me about that, because I can add that everywhere. With one ingredient, you have 5 products like oregano, savory, thym, rosemary. Well pound you have all the flavours, light but you can even feel it and it boosts the cocktail.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
40ml of Bacardi Heritage
20ml of Martini bitter
2 barspoons of sugar cane
3 tea spoons herbs de provence
4 quarters of lime
Top with ginger ale
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender?
If you go to Cambodia in Phnom Penh, you have to go to Barsito. A real speakeasy, but careful, even with the right address, that’s very difficult to find it. It’s a kind of Sherrybutt. Otherwise in Poland at Pergamin where I used to work, means parchment if you want to know.