Gin’s delectable nature lends it to use in a variety of cocktails, and the different styles of gin on the market today broadens the options even more. While many operators and diners are just coming around to the notion of cocktails with dinner, the concept of gin cocktails to accompany a meal was warmly received at a special dinner held at the famed Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans during Tales of the Cocktail.
The mixology team from Pernod Ricard was in top form and gin’s versatility on full display. Adding to the juniper love-fest, Desmond Payne, master distiller for Beefeater and Beefeater 24, and Sean Harrison, master distiller for Plymouth Gin, were on hand. Payne gave a succinct explanation for the inspiration behind Beefeater 24: “Tea.” While traveling internationally, he found himself mixing a splash of tea to his gin and tonic to atone for the lack of quality tonics available, and it struck him that tea further accentuated the botanicals within the gin and added interesting nuances. “It simply worked,” he recounted, and Beefeater 24 was soon in development. The brand, which took two years to create, involves 12 hand-selected botanicals with a unique blend of rare teas at its heart. It launched in London last fall, and U.S. distribution is expanding.
Martinis were on hand when guests arrived, featuring either Plymouth or Beefeater 24. Led by Pernod Ricard’s brand ambassador and mixologist Simon Ford as well as mixologists Jamie Gordon and Dan Warner, a gin cocktail was paired with each course. Antoine’s held up its end of the bargain, presenting a flavorful classic menu.
Here is a rundown of the cocktails and the courses to inspire your next gin cocktail or perhaps an entire meal.
Crispy St. Antoine Canape and Souffle Potatoes were paired with two Martinis to begin the evening:
2 parts Plymouth
1 part Noilly Dry Vermouth
Stir all ingredients until ice cold. Strain into glass and drink immediately. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Beefeater 24 Martini
50 ml Beefeater 24
10 ml Lillet Blanc
Regan’s Orange Bitters
Stir all ingredients until ice cold. Strain into glass and drink immediately. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Oyster Rockefeller was paired with a Corpse Reviver. Mixologist Jamie Gordon noted that the use of anise in the dish prompted him to invoke this classic, which features a dash of absinthe.
Corpse Reviver 2
30 ml Plymouth Gin
30 ml Cointreau
30 ml Lillet Blanc
30 ml fresh squeezed lemon juice
Dash of Pernod Absinthe
Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice and double strain into a chilled glass. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.
Guest selected Trout Pontchartrain or Chateaubriand with Marchad da Vin Sauce as their entrée, which was paired with an assertive cocktail that also offered delectable aromatics and flavor nuances, thanks to the presence of tea.
50 ml Beefeater 24
35 ml Lillet Rouge
5 ml Maraschino Liqueur
Earl Grey Tea bag
Infuse tea bag with gin. Add other ingredients, ice and stir. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.
Baked Alaska finished off the evening, complemented by a classic involving a unique liqueur. Twelve Trees Oolong Tea was also served.
Sloe Gin Twentieth Century Cocktail
25 ml Plymouth Sloe
25 ml Lillet Blanc
25 ml White Crème de Cacao
25 ml fresh squeezed lemon juice
Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice and double strain into chilled glass. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.