We talk Oyster fishing and SUAVE Tequila at the Lanesborough Hotel, London

One of London’s most exclusive hotels takes pride in inclusivity. This is the proud claim of Mickael (aka Michael) Perron, the charming and dedicated Bar & Beverage Purchasing Manager of The Lanesborough Hotel.  We talked to him over a SUAVE Tequila cocktail, a brand that has recently been listed at The Lanesborough and which is proving popular amongst guests in the elegant Withdrawing Room and adjacent Library Bar on the ground floor of the beautiful Hyde Park Corner venue.

It’s difficult to create a bar which has ‘buzz’ and yet feels calm; an oasis of peace and relaxation in one of London’s busiest areas. Yet the team at The Lanesborough achieve just that. Everyone is made to feel welcome and valued by the 20-strong team. It feels like an elegant club, yet everyone is welcome.

Standing on the site of the former Lanesborough House, which 100 years later became St George’s hospital, The Lanesborough opened in 1991, having received planning permission to transform the former hospital in 1988. Mickael Perron is as knowledgeable about the history of the site as he is about tequila production. “The former building, created in 1719. The original building was replaced with a building begun in 1827 and completed in 1844. Soldiers were welcomed back from the Crimea and Napoleonic Wars,” says Mickael. “The architect of the new building was William Wilkins, of National Portrait Gallery fame. It continued as a training hospital for many years but the need for larger premises was pressing. This is the building you are now in. Today, we serve elixirs of a different kind!”

Born near Paris, Mickael was originally an oyster farmer in Normandy. He came to London with little ability to speak English but found a menial hospitality job in Soho, learnt the trade and the language, and hasn’t looked back. “London was so welcoming,” Mickael says. Now his roots are firmly here, with a Brazilian wife working in the NHS and two young children, living near the new St George’s Hospital in south London. “France was my school of childhood; London was my school of life,” he says.

His London learning came from increasingly senior roles at venues such as Bar Madrid, Annabel’s, Sketch, Milk & Honey and then a period of 4 years’ consulting for bars and for drinks brands.

His passion for his role shines through. And his knowledge of the drinks served matches that passion.

The Lanesborough serves SUAVE’s  Lunar expression. This ultra-premium brand is one of the world’s leading tequilas for taste and for sustainability. It boasts the coveted Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark, a stamp of excellence for luxury brands that are making a real difference to the environment. The Lunar expression, as the name suggests, is aged for a lunar cycle – 28 days. Smooth and delicate, like all SUAVE Tequila expressions, it is made by using only the very heart of the agave pina. Mickael is fully aware why this liquid is special. Mickael Perron explains: “All the green outer surface is stripped away leaving just the white core of the pinas. This quality means that SUAVE can sit alongside some of the fine cognacs and other spirits of quality that we serve here. These strict quality standards are designed to minimise the amount of green leaf stalk that is left.  This means a purer alcohol results, creating a glorious product. And it is 36.4% ABV so you have a delicate taste that people finding appealing. Perhaps I like and understand this expression because the moon was very important to me when I was an oyster fisherman: a full moon and a high tide were factors affecting how we worked.”

Describing SUAVE, Michael says: “I admire this because SUAVE Tequila is a drink which is soft and gentle. It’s made with care and to sustainable, organic methods. You can really taste the richness of the Blue Weber Agave. I really appreciate what they’ve created.”

Then he glides away to serve customers and check dietary requirements at one table in the bar.

Feature by Jo Jacobius

Previous Don Papa announce UK Chefs & Shakers competition with Matt Arnold
Next Shake up a slice of the countryside with Tinie’s Rhubarb Mule, from Chase Distillery & Tinie Tempah