EscaMoteur

Tucked away in the very heart of Kyoto, L’Escamoteur, a well established experimental cocktail bar, balances the contemporary and the classic in a unique way.

 

Conceived in the brilliant mind of a magician, L’Escamoteur embodies the nostalgia of childhood adventure, imagination and wonderment. The experienced apothecaries carefully but passionately craft their elixirs in flasks, while patrons ease themselves into the mystical and yet oddly personal setting of this intimate bar. Much like the magician’s tricks, L’Escamoteur is impossible to explain.

(30 minutes slot /1 cocktail of your choice on arrival)

Interview

Christophe Rossi – Bar Tender & Magician

Tell us a little bit about your career and how you started out…

I don’t really come from a hospitality background. I left Marseilles to go to India when I was 20 years old because I was interested in and wanted to find out more about Indian music. I stayed there for 5 years before coming to Japan and have been here ever since. I had always dreamed of becoming a magician, it became my passion and my profession for almost ten years.

 

Eventually I discovered the world of mixology and decided to focus on that 100%. I was trained by two very strict mentors, each in their own way. Yo Yamagata from Tokyo taught me rigor and Vincent Roux from Marseilles taught me speed.

 

L’Escamoteur opened two years ago, I spent an entire year working on it.

 

I think that at its core L’Escamoteur reflects my different experiences and passions and it would be very different if I hadn’t had so many different lives.

Describe L’Escamoteur in a couple of words…

I think that, above all, L’Escamoteur has a unique atmosphere. In the beginning, I wanted it to be like a turn-of-the-century “magician’s house”, full of secrets and surprises. I though of the cocktails as apothecary elixirs, alchemist’s potions. They held strange mechanisms, hidden systems discovered through the cocktails tasted during the evening. The name [Ed. L’Escamoteur can be roughly translated as The Illusionist] came all by itself.

 

We’re also a very solid international team and the customers are our guests. Our aim is to combine creative drinks with a relaxed atmosphere and Western and Japanese elements.

 

We also play on contrasts: relaxed rigor, serious humor, Old School creations.

 

L’Escamoetur is constantly evolving, everything is designed in meticulous detail. It’s more than a business, it’s an adventure and I’m very lucky to be supported by an extremely talented team.

Which spirits do you use in your cocktails and why?

Mainly gin and whisky, for their aromatic variety and because they’re somewhat less common in cocktails. They work very well with the theme of the bar. I also use Japanese products. They’re easy to get hold of, often exotic and always of a very high quality.

I also like working with absinthe, particularly for its retro image and its fiery history.

Have your French roots had an influence on the cocktails you create at L’Escamoteur?

Of course, and, as luck would have it, French products are very in vogue at the moment. More specifically, I have a provincial palate and I like to work with aniseed, rosemary and lavender, for example. There are lots of wonderful alcohols produced throughout France and I make the most of that to set myself new challenges. For example, choosing a French spirit and bringing it out with exotic products in a new creation.

Even though I use lots of Japanese products, French flavors play a leading role.

How did you go about creating the cocktail menu for Cocktail Street? Can you reveal any of your exclusives?

We’re going to serve some of the Escamoteur’s flagship cocktails, like our “Smoky Old Fashioned”, and also take the opportunity to create some new recipes.

But I can’t give you more details, a good magician never reveals his secrets!

What trends do you think we are likely to see in mixology in the future? Which spirits are in fashion?

Cocktails have come back into fashion by drawing on their roots. We also live in a time where it’s easy to get hold of products from all over the world. It’s really exciting. Mixology experienced a second wind first in the West and then everywhere else, including in Asia’s major cities.

 

French alcohols are prized throughout the world. Also, we are seeing more and more high-quality craft alcohols, with gin, for example, becoming extremely popular again. Talking of which, we’ve worked with Kinobi, the excellent craft gin from Kyoto, ever since it first began.

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