Last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with both Chef Tommy Habetz of Meriwethers and Christian Krogstad of House Spirits
in pairing cocktails for a Cooking for Kids Dinner, benefitting Morrison Family and Child Services. Tommy put together a wonderful Scandanavian meal, and the three of us worked together to pair the cocktails with each course. We obviously wanted to incorporate as many House Spirits products as possible, an enjoyable task as I adore both Aviation gin and Krogstad Aquavit and find Medoyeff vodka to be pleasant enough although I don't care for vodka. I thought the menu and the pairings would be of interest to some of you.
First Course- Grilled Rye Bread with Horseradish Potatoes, Carmelized Onions and Sardines paired with tray passed frozen Medoyeff Vodka and chilled Krogstad Aquavit.
Christian pointed out that the Krogstad is better at refrigerator temp than frozen, so while we stored the vodka in the freezer, the aquavit went into our cooler. It definitely allowed the aquavit to show its full range of flavor.
Second Course (salad)- Aviation Gin cured Gravlaks with Winter Greens and Pickled Mustard Seed Vinagrette paired with a variation on Robert Hess’s Trident Cocktail. Instead of dry sherry we substituted Lillet Blanc, with great results (hmm, maybe I've just found my MxMo topic).
Serving a Trident to the general public is a bit risky. Its a sophisticated cocktail that isn't for everyone, and yet I think its a cocktail really shines in the presence of food. The complexity of flavors can really make for a nice match and this was my favorite pairing of the night. I love introducing people to products that they may never have had, and serving a crowd a cocktail that contains both Cynar and Krogstad Aquavit really appealed to me.
Third Course (soup)- Celery Root Puree with Seared Scallop and Brown Butter and Dill Hollandaise paired with a Gin-Gin Mule. While I had suggested a Bittered Gin Sling to provide a tall drink and some complementary notes, Christian suggested the Gin Gin Sling as an alternative. It turned out to be an inspired choice, it matched beautifully with the food and the guests were extremely enthusiastic about this cocktail.
Fourth Course (entree)- Fennel and Orange Stuffed Quail with Duck Fat Roasted Cabbage paired with two cocktails, The Monkey Gland and the Martinez Cocktail. Originally we were just going to do the Martinez, then we decided to play with some absinthe, so the Monkey Gland became a great choice. Everyone got the Monkey Gland to start and Christian went and offered the Martinez guests as they finished the Monkey Gland.
Fifth Course (dessert)- Bay Leaf Custard with Sweet Caraway Cookie, paired with a Blackberry Royale. Essentially a French 75 with muddled blackberries, this was a nice match with the subtle flavors of the dessert itself.
All in all, I had a great time and it was a great event. Chef did a couple of demonsrations for the crowd and I think everyone left happy and satiated. I can't wait to do another spirits related dinner soon.