The other night I was a guest at a William Grant & Sons cocktail tasting at the Bouley Test Kitchen on lower, lower, lower West Broadway. Leisurely, intimate, and painlessly informative-the drinks' creators were right there to discuss their inspirations as they made them for you-it was one of those surreal, highly cinematic and unusually gracious evenings you sometimes experience when you write about cocktails.
William Grant's small portfolio boasts a hardy, eclectic array of spirits, so the cocktails employing their brands were all over the map, but unified by a certain elegance and certainly a high grade of craftmanship. Bartenders and brand ambassadors. ringed the room serving Grant-based drinks, four of which were real standouts for me. William Grant's noted doyenne, Charlotte Voisey, manned the first cocktail station as you entered the kitchen, and we found ourselves migrating back their throughout the evening for another taste of her Blood and Sanguinello, a pink and amber cloud of single-malt scotch, Lillet Rouge, and exotic citrus punched up by Solerno, their new blood orange liqueur.
BLOOD AND SANGUINELLO - Charlotte Voisey
Solerno 0.75 oz
Glenfiddich 0.75 oz
Lillet Rouge 0.75 oz
Fresh pink grapefruit 0.50 oz
Fresh lemon juice 0.25 oz
4 luxardo maraschino cherries
Orange bitters 2.00 dashes
Combine ingredients and shake very well
Serve up in a coupe (or small wine glass)
Garnish with a thin slice of blood orange.
People kept migrating back to Charlotte's table for to further sample the Blood and Sanguinello.
Rob Krueger of Employees Only and Macao served up his Kobayashi Cocktail, with homemade candied kumquats. He told me he'd wanted to strike a balance between the style of his two establishments.
Balvenie 12 year 1.25 oz
EO Hibiscus Cordial 0.75 oz
Lemon 1.00 oz
Ginger beer Splash
5 spice candied Kumquats
Ice, shake, pour into a double rocks glass. Top with Ginger beer. Garnish with kumquats.
I was delighted to discover that Erin Reece, of Louis 649 and Dressler, had concocted something with Hendricks and Aloe Vera. The other day I'd been drinking one of the Korean OKF Aloe Vera King "Mango Taste" juices, and it occurred to me that it could be part of an interesting cocktail. I'd actually kept that plastic bottle around to remind me to bring up the idea to someone at Dressler-and here she'd done it already. Erin's pure Aloe Vera juice was much finer than what you'd get in my high-fructose drink, and her fusion of elements ingenious. And this one might actually be good for you.
THE HEALING SERUM -Eryn Reece, bartender at Louis 649
Hendricks gin 1.5 oz
Fresh Lemon Juice 0.5 oz
Clover honey syrup (3 part Clover honey, 1 part water 0.25 oz
Aloe Vera Juice 0.5 oz
Honey Dew mellon (approx. 1 inch x 1 inch) 4 pieces
With an atomizer spritz Cocktail glass or coup with Rose water. Muddle Melon and lemon juice. Add the rest of ingredients. Shake and double strain into cocktail glass. No garnish.
Rows of long tables served as work stations for bartenders and chefs, and ran throughout the length of the expansive room, where guests moved among them. There was a flow of conversations and little ever changing constellations of writers, brand people, bartenders, chefs. A lot of those in the room did know one another, and there was a convivial, easy air.
When Brands Collide: towards the end of the evening Jim Ryan, brand ambassador for Hendricks, jumped on the station where Gaston Martinez, Ambassador of Milagro had been working, and mixed up some Jaliscos of his own.
JALISCO – Soho House, Ron Teague, As Prepared by Gaston Martinez (and Jim Ryan)
Milagro Silver 1.5 oz
Grapefruit juice 2.0 oz
Solerno Blood Orange 1.0 oz
Squeeze in the juice of 1/4 lime, shake, serve over fresh ice in rocks glass.
It was quite, quite dimly lit in some areas, as you can see from the photos. It made for a very intimate, chill atmosphere.
It was really all about tasting. Lots and lots of tasting.
The walls of the kitchen are chalkboards, covered in chef's' notes.
The chefs and staff sampled the drinks at the end of the evening, naturally, and seemed to approve.