Tales of the Cocktail-Day 2

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You know what’s hard? Trying to cover a liquor event when you’re still foggy from the night before. I’ve learned my lesson and today’s update is all about education.

Really — that’s why people are here. Don’t believe me? Trust me, these folks do not need to take every free drink they are offered. They work in the booze business. I’m following suit today and trying to learn a few things.

I began my education with Gin, at the Hendrick’s Gin Tasting Emporium. Jim Ryan who is the United States Brand Ambassador for the brand, took a crowd of about 12 people through a deconstructive taste experience, separating the berries, the seeds, the roots, and essences that make Hendrick’s… Hendrick’s.

Let me tell you, the final product that’s available on shelves, is balanced and delightful. But if you’re not a gin-drinker, I’d advise you against trying the distillates that are created early in the gin-making process. They burn, they hurt, and you wouldn’t want them near a drink of yours. Cucumber and rose petal essence round-out the flavours to give Hendrick’s its unique taste. Yum.

Sniff, but do not taste the essences. We’re getting close to perfume at this point.

After a brief nap, I was back for Around the World in Whisky Days. Master Distiller Eddie Russell was slinging the Wild Turkey 81, which he developed specifically for mixing. Russell has been in the business for 29 years, so who better to guide Vancouverites through the relatively unexplored world of bourbon? Wild Turkey 81 will be available in Canada in the Spring, and for those of us lucky enough to be there to try it, it worked very well in the “Black Demure” cocktail, with a punch of Blackberry. Other amazing drinks were the Whisky Fig Fiddle, which included 2 spoons full of fig jam to compliment the Glenfiddich.

Another nap.

6:30 was the start of the Spirited Dinner Series at various restaurants around town. I was excited to be invited to Market by Jean-Georges for their “Genever Say never” featuring Dutch drink Bals Genever. Each of the 4 courses was created by Chef Wayne Harris, and inspired by a drink concocted by lead bartender, Jay Jones (or Agostino Perrone who could not make TOTC this year) My favourite cocktail of the evening was Jones’ Kopstootje Kocktail which was Bols Genever, Coriander, Lemongrass, Anise and Brasserie L’Achouffe “La Chouffe” Golden Ale. Drinks like these just aren’t available to most of us. It was a real treat to taste.

Last stop of the evening was Hendrick’s “The Endless Wedding of the Century” where Cucumber and Rose were married 4-5 times over the course of the evening at Vancouver Urban Winery. Gin-toting Burmese Mountain Dogs, explorers, and the marrying couple themselves were on display and mingled with party-goes throughout the night while Hendrick’s folks served up one of the most beautiful gathering I’ve been to this year. Rosa and Cukes, beauties and beaus; it was a night to remember.