Jeremy Lauilhé, Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2023, signs two exclusive cocktails for Melifera
We’re very proud to have been able to spend some time with Jeremy Lauilhé, Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2023 barman class, to have exchanged ideas about what drives us, to have agreed on so many points and to have sealed this wonderful encounter by creating two exclusive cocktails for Melifera.
We’d like to take you behind the scenes of this human adventure, tell you a bit more about Jeremy (even if he doesn’t like it) and share with you the video we shot for the occasion.
What exactly is the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France?
Not just anyone can be named Meilleur Ouvrier de France!
Jeremy won this coveted title after a series of tests and several years’ preparation. He even confides that he’s been preparing for 15 years, ever since he obtained his “mention complémentaire barman” in 2008 (At the time, there was no MOF Barman class exam, but he promised himself that if one day this exam was created, he would sit it just once, the day he felt ready and armed for it).
For the record, the MOF competition (which is actually more of an exam) has been rewarding the best French craftsmen since 1924, and honours know-how and excellence in a wide range of trades and groups of trades, such as building, industry, jewellery, architectural heritage, etc.
The restaurant and hotel category is made up of six classes, of which the bartender class is a recent addition, having been introduced in 2011.
This exam only takes place every 3-4 years and is preceded by a number of qualifying tests.
This year, for the 4th edition of the MOF exam in the bartender class, eight finalists in France made it through to the final round. These eight seasoned professionals have been preparing for the final in December 2022.
The MOF final consists of 5 signature cocktails prepared in advance, plus a cocktail to be created on the day of the competition. This year’s theme was “A Taste of France”, and it particularly inspired our lover of produce and its producers, who is very sensitive to environmentally-friendly approaches.
Everything comes into play in this competition, where excellence and precision are the watchwords: the creation of the cocktail’s technical sheet, its sales pitch, the choices associated with it, the selection of the glassware, the making of the cocktail and, of course, the way in which it is presented.
At the end of the competition, out of the 8 exceptional finalists, Jeremy was the only one to win the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France in his category. We are very proud of him, and our thoughts are with him on 20 June 2023, the day he receives his famous blue-white-red collar.
Our MOF meets Melifera
The meeting between our Meilleur ouvrier de France and Melifera is first and foremost a meeting between Jeremy and Christophe.
The two first met at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, where Jeremy was working as head barman. An auspicious place, given Christophe’s attachment to the Basque country and his taste for beautiful places.
Jeremy is from the Landes region, originally from Dax, while Christophe, from the Basque region of Charente, spent his summers on the beaches of Biarritz, where his senses first encountered the immortelle flower, the inspiration for our Gins.
Two straightforward characters, two lovers of beautiful things, two aesthetes, two demands too.
Jeremy, founder of the Bonbuvant consultancy, does not compromise on the quality of the products he works with. He knows his producers and likes to understand their approach and the personalities behind the products. He pays particular attention to the choice of ingredients for his cocktails, in particular by choosing local products that are adapted to the season.
To get to know us better, Jeremy spent a morning with us at Melifera’s headquarters in Charente.
He also took the time to stay in Oléron and discover the Melifera garden, where our immortals grow. It was essential for him, as it was for us, that Ethel, our biodiversity and sustainable supply chain manager, told him about our commitments, talked to him about our botanical production methods and shared with him our immortelle fragrances.
Genuine and direct, our Meilleur ouvrier de France doesn’t like glitter, usurpers or sycophants either. Professional and committed, we fell in love with this humble talent.
It’s for all these reasons that we’re particularly proud of this partnership, and proud that Jeremy enjoys working with our gins.
The last time we saw each other, we shot a video highlighting Jeremy’s talents and the aesthetics of his gestures, and setting two of his creations for Melifera to music. It was in the Landes, in Andernos, in the delightful Landerenis hotel, which lent us its delicate setting.
Melifera cocktails by our MOF
To bring out the best in our Gins inspired by immortelle flowers, there’s nothing better than cocktails designed and created by a Meilleur Ouvrier de France barman.
While Melifera is perfect on its own with a cube of ice, or as a gin and tonic with a neutral tonic, we like to offer cocktails that highlight our floral flavours.
So we asked Jeremy to imagine two cocktails, one with Melifera and a second with Melifera Edizione corsa.
A Meilleur Ouvrier de France cocktail made easy with Melifera
Want to impress your friends with a cocktail worthy of a Meilleur Ouvrier de France?
Jeremy has come up with an easy-to-make cocktail that showcases the flavours of Melifera.
The instructions we gave to our MOF were as follows: not to alter Melifera’s character, to imagine a fresh, seasonal cocktail, without losing the scents of returning from the beach that characterise our organic gin.
We still needed to smell that touch of immortelle, that scent of warm sand and sun-dried flowers.
Jeremy often says that balance is the key to a successful cocktail. “It has to be good, accessible, balanced and meet the taste expectations and palates of 99% of our customers, from the most novice, to the most discerning.”
His creation, Immortelle Mellona, is therefore a very fresh and accessible cocktail. It’s a kind of gin and tonic twist, combining the acidity of fresh grapefruit with the sweetness of honey syrup and elderflower tonic, and bringing out the flavours of our organic immortelle gin.
The honey here is a nod to our commitment to the black bee, and we’re delighted to be able to showcase the honey of Emmanuel Rathier, our black bee beekeeper, with whom we work and who has set up hives of black bees in the Melifera garden.
If Melifera comes from the scientific name of the black bee, Apis Mellifera Mellifera, it’s because we’re committed to helping preserve this endemic species on the island of Oléron. This was Christophe’s initial aim when he created the Melifera brand: to give meaning to what we do, particularly through actions to preserve biodiversity.
When the Meilleur Ouvrier de France speaks to mixologists in the know
Would you like to go one step further, take on the role of one of France’s Best Craftsmen and create a professional cocktail?
We gave Jeremy Lauilhé a second challenge: to make a slightly more technical cocktail, highlighting the aromas of Melifera Edizione Corsa.
In this second edition of our French Gin, we wanted to rediscover the scents of the maquis, those of a walk along the more arid paths where sunburnt immortelle, cistus, myrtle and other typical Corsican fragrances mingle.
Jeremy has chosen to work on a cocktail that is pure and imbued with local scents.
To echo the immortelles that we harvested and distilled near Saint Florent, and which give Edizione Corsa its distinctive fragrance, he chose to add a vermouth typical of the north of the island and a citron liqueur, a citrus fruit very present in Corsica.
Here again, our MOF impresses us with his quest for consistency, his precise knowledge of the origins of the products and their producers, and the simplicity of his decoration.
To decorate this cocktail and complete the experience, he created a rim of immortelle flower powder and maquis herbs.
The result is a Negroni-style cocktail, powerful, vinous and aromatic… and wonderful.
Many thanks again to Jeremy Lauilhé, our new Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2023 bartender, for his talent, generosity and simplicity.
We are convinced that we are just at the beginning of a wonderful collaboration and look forward to exploring the vast possibilities of spirits together.