| Fabien Maillard, Co-Owner of Le Lab|
Some might associate the word 'Lab' with nightmares from high school in chemistry or physics where test tubes and beakers were most likely found broken on the floor. But I think it is about time that you change your perception to this word. Because Montreal has the coolest lab you can imagine where 'labtenders' can whip out ANY cocktail you can imagine! And with a smile on their face :) So what is Le Lab?!!?
Le lab is a unique bar on its own specializing in cocktails made with homemade syrups, liquors that are hard to find, custom bitters, unexpected ingredients and most importantly, they are made with passion, knowledge and love! Not to be cheesy or anything, these bartenders do love their job and it shows! They look like they are having the fun of their life behind the counter and the chemistry between all of them explains the success of this place. Moreover, they integrate wisely flair bartending by throwing bottles and glasses in the air and igniting fire here and there. Who needs Cirque du Soleil when you have the guys from the Lab? Also, their knowledge on the history, the chemistry, the process, the flavors of different liquors is beyond extraordinary... My curious self and my loyal partner, Stephane, just bombarded them with questions and wow! They are like an encyclopedia of the world of alcohol!
No but seriously talking, I have been to the Lab multiple times and each and every time, they never failed to impress me. They strive for challenges; innovation and creativity are impregnated into their work values. And I must say that they have an extensive selection of alcohol, syrups, bitters, etc to play with. They offer a menu booklet to choose from or for inspiration... They also create drinks respecting a specific theme every month. But the best way to truly experience 'Le Lab', is to let the labtender decide for you depending on your likes and dislikes. Want some examples? Here are some awesome cocktails by our beloved labtenders: Mathieu, Damien and Gabrielle
- Jerky Lab Jack-
Stephane feels like something smokey along the lines of a whiskey. Labtender Mathieu decides to go with the unexpected. Instead of serving a traditional whiskey on the rocks, he goes ahead with the Lab's infamous Jerky Lab Jack (check video of making here). Made with a blend of organic sugar, triple sec Cointreau, their secret barbecue bitters, Jack Daniel's N7 topped with strips of dried jerky, this drink definitely exceed the expectations of Stephane. The homemade barbecue bitters are simply phenomenal. Hints of acidity combined with the smokiness just makes you travel back to the cowboy times! Soaking the jerky in this glass of deliciousness is the way to go.
- 666 chocolate -
Again, skilled Mathieu whips out a drink that warms her heart. Thai chili (doubled to Miss' request), coconut cream, chocolate sauce, brown cocoa liquor, and bacardi sums up this December themed drink. December is the month where chocolate is king and 666 chocolate brillantly showcase the star! They top the drink with warm milk and a touch of raw cocoa. The warm and cold drink confused my taste buds and the heat from the chilies made them excited! Seriously kicking ass!
- Salted Gin Hendricks-
I wanted something other than a bloody mary to satisfy my savoury crave and there you go, Damien, this time is the magician! Since this drink is not on the menu and has been invented on the spot by our labtender, there will be some ingredients missing... But it is basically consisting of Hendrick's Gin, salt, cucumber slices, ginger and some other magic components. It was salty... as I requested but also very light. The combination of cucumber and ginger also allowed me to appreciate the gin itself, which is remarkable!
- Lowhill -
The Green fairy, also known as Absinthe, as been part of many myths and stories in which it gives hallucinations to whoever drinks it. Le Lab used the Absente 55 combined with a dry vermouth and luxardo liquor (cherry based) which resulted into a drink that brings you back to childhood when you were nibbing on these licorice candies. And the maraschino cherry swimming in it is fab with the Absinthe!
- Elder Fairy -
Going from the green fairy to the elder fairy, the owner Fabien showed us one of his secret finds... the kryptonite! Crystals of licorice roots providing this long lasting sweetness in your mouth... Yes! He added it in my drink along with grapefruit juice and pastis. The finishing touch of warm milk again triggered my taste buds! Just gotta love these contrasting temperatures!
Le Lab not only creates those incredible cocktails but its philosophy is just plainly awesome. They simply want to offer a place where discussion is possible in a reasonable sound level. They want customers to discover the taste of each alcohol by enhancing it with other ingredients, not hiding it. They will make the cocktail again and again until they find it acceptable for themselves (they will keep trying the cocktail along the making to make sure it is made well!). They will share with each other discoveries, learning and inventions. They are open to accept any ingredient as a challenge for the next drink they need to make (I am so bringing them exotic fruits next time I go!)
Seriously. If you haven't been yet, it is about time that you go. My case is rested.
- Great thanks to Stephane from the blog A Vos Molecules, Cuisinez for the flawless pictures and for tasting and commenting these cocktails with me! Check out what he has to say about Le Lab's drinks here!
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