Bar Sauvage in Lyon – A little Paradise low on ABV
Anyone who knows about food understands Lyon’s long and deep culinary heritage. Lyon’s gastronomy enjoys a worldwide reputation and the sky is full of Michelin stars. It’s also the home of the late culinary legend Paul Bocuse. The city is a gourmet treat with bakeries, butchers, cheese shops, patisseries and market halls lavishly filled. But numerous cocktail bars also pamper the palates of discerning drinkers. Join me to my next drinking destination Bar Sauvage, a feast for the eyes.
At first sight Sauvage reminded me of a tiki bar because of its colourful decor, but it isn’t one. Wood, metal, exposed bricks, a tropical wallpaper, dark strong colours and large suspended lighting give the place its character. A tropical cocoon full of love for detail from decoration to glassware. Everything is well arranged, and you will find a beautiful and cosy mix-and-match. The mezzanine floor offers leather armchairs to lounge with your friends. Sauvage opened in February 2018.
The menu, which can be opened via a QR code, is colourful and, like the bar itself, lovingly designed. The concept is easy to understand when you take a closer look at the ingredients and the alcohol content of the drinks. Cocktails low on ABV are served here. So, the base is not the alcohol, which acts at this point just as a modifier, but is based on fortified wines as an anchor for the low-proof drinks. Fortified wines take a leading role throughout the easy-drinking cocktail list. Ingredients for the drinks are homemade and the influence of bartenders working with chefs can certainly be seen. The back bar is stocked with high quality alcohol, and the fortified wines from all over the world are, as they should be, hidden in the refrigerator. If you fancy something stronger, check out the drinks menu, which has separate categories dedicated to Negronis and Martinis. Here, you can choose your own favourite mixture according to your mood.
The bartender explained the concept to me succinctly, “You can enjoy a cocktail like a good wine.”
Sauvage uses straightforward descriptions for each cocktail on the menu, offering the ingredients, key flavours and the alcohol percentage. My first drink of choice was the Flying Geisha, a delicate sake based short drink, with fine herbaceous and acidulous notes coming from yuzu, green Chartreuse, eau de vie de Cidre with a nice fresh finish (12% vol.)
Couldn’t resist the Mezcal based Sour with melon that was a well balanced fruity and slightly smoky mix. Have you ever tried a Mai Tai Spritz? The recipe is inspired by Martin Cate, a rum and exotic cocktail expert and owner and creator of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco. All the drinks have their own speciality and you should simply try them all.
Where there is an aperitif concept there is something to eat as well. Sauvage also ensures bar food with a menu of tapas of the world to accompany the drinks. In addition to snacks, the traditional charcuterie and cheese and vegetable boards, sauvage cuisine also serves some hot dishes.