Interview with Luc Litschgi of Marseille’s Carry Nation Bar

Paris cocktail culture gets lots of play, which can overshadow the great work happening outside of the capital. Lyon has a busy little cocktail scene.  Montpellier is the home of Papa Doble, a bar that took a spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars list just a couple of years after opening. And, Marseilles is home to one of France’s forerunners on the serious speakeasy front, Carry Nation.

Carry Nation is not only a bar worth knowing about, but they are one of the bars in cities outside of Paris taking part in France’s first agave festival this week, Autour de l’Agave. We reached out to barman Luc Litschgi to find out more about their thoughts on these spirits and the festival.

FC: Tell us a little about what you will be doing in the bar for the current agave festival, Autour de l’Agave?

LL: We put the spotlight on these spirits around agave. A menu with recipes and tasting series of our most famous bottles. Many people are unfamiliar with these beverages. We have the pleasure to helping them discover them.

Carry Nation is a bar inspired by the speakeasies of prohibition, which makes one think of gin or rum.  What part does tequila (or other agave spirits) play in your cocktail programme or menu?

It takes more and more space in our bar. Even if Carry Nation is a bar inspired by American prohibition and this classic style, we want to offer this new trend in drinks. Mezcal is an old drink but it has become more accessible in recent years.

What is your favorite way to serve each Tequila, Mezcal and Raicilla?

My favorite is serve straight for mezcal lovers. Otherwise, I like to work it into a cocktail.

I understand your signature cocktails is the Noble Art, which is tequila-based.  Can you tell us a little bit about that and the inspiration behind it?

The inspiration comes from Sophie Decobecq, creator of Calle 23 tequila. Like Mohamed Ali’s famous saying, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”…my cocktail does same in your mouth.

What’s the best way to introduce someone to Tequila?

I present its nobility, terroir, difference.

Have you seen your customers’ attitudes towards tequila changing over the last few years?

Many people love it and that’s not changing.

What do you see as the future for tequila, mezcal or other agave spirits in France.

I hope it will soon be found in all bars and be used in the best of ways.