The rich history behind Lanique, the liqueur made from the oil of rose petals, is being brought to life in a theatrical new bar as part of this year’s Vault Festival in London. The space in the vaults underneath Waterloo station has been transformed into an “immersive cocktail experience” called The Rose Bar which is open throughout the theatre and comedy festival to 22 March.
Drawing on the heritage behind the premium liqueur, the bar takes you on a journey from a Middle Eastern bazaar to the 18th-century kingdom of Prussia to today’s cocktail culture. Accessed via a narrow stairway, it opens up in the Middle East, with hanging tapestries, colourful rugs and luxurious cushions, inspired by the region where the oil, or attar, of rose originated. This key ingredient in Lanique is created by steam-distilling thousands of handpicked rose petals.
The second part of the bar aims to conjure up Prussia where the rose spirit was a luxury enjoyed by European aristocracy at balls over 200 years ago. Decorated with deep blue cushions and regal blue curtains, it honours a Polish princess and distiller, Izabela Lubomirska, known as the Blue Marquise, who is credited with the recipe that became Lanique.
The next area of the bar is inspired by the 1920s, with dim hanging lights nodding to the speakeasies where the liqueur was enjoyed before it stopped being produced. During World War Two, trade routes were blocked and the availability of fresh rose petals dried up but the recipe was later rediscovered and relaunched as Lanique in the 1990s. It is now owned by restaurateur Lawrence Huggler.
The actual bar, representing present-day London, is the main stage for a range of Lanique-based drinks. With prices starting from £8.50, signature serves include Lanique Rose & Tonic and a Rose Fizz, combining Lanique with prosecco. Original cocktails include the Queen Bee – inspired by a classic Honey Bee – which combines Lanique with lemon juice and honey water, and a Rose & Lychee Martini combining Lanique and lychee juice with gin and Peychaud’s Bitters. Rock the Attar is a slightly savoury mix of Lanique with pomegranate, Aperol, citrus, cucumber bitters and tonic.
The Rose Bar, which is open to everyone, is one of several places to enjoy food and drink throughout the Vault Festival complex. As well as the main bar, the others are the Punch Bar, the Meantime Taproom for beers and the Lookout Cocktail Bar. Lanique Rose & Tonic and the Rose Fizz are also featured on the main Vault drinks menu alongside cocktails such as a Coffee Negroni with Dead Man’s Fingers Coffee Rum, vermouth and amaro, a twisted Bloody Mary using Dead Man’s Fingers Hemp Rum, and a Barrelled Old Fashioned with Crabbie’s Yardhead single malt whisky.
With new brand ambassador Claudio Iucolino on board, The Rose Bar marks the start of a new year of activity for Lanique, built around the idea that the liqueur brings “a sense of ‘La Vie En Rose’, adding sophistication, creativity and splendour to your drinks”.
The Rose Bar, Vault Festival, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN