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January 31, 2011 / joyful plate

Mixology Magic

Spirits were stirred last Tuesday at Edible Manhattan’s Liquid Symbiosis event at Le Poisson Rouge in New York. Sub zero degree weather could not keep hundreds of 20 and 30 somethings away from the chance to sample dozens of delicious food and drink pairings.

From my experience, some wine events can become a blur if you’re not thoughtful about tasting. Spirits, on the other hand are less heady-the tastes are more overt and expressive. Mixologists use beautiful fresh ingredients-brewed teas, fruits, flowers and spice to create drinks that play with the imagination.

Soho’s Polynesian lounge Lani Kai served a “Pacific Swizzle” made with Don Quixote rum, hibiscus, rose hips, fresh lime juice, lemongrass tea and passion fruit puree….aloha! Totally exotic. http://www.lanikainy.com.

Elderflower blossom liqueur  St. Germain offered an enchanting drink made with a sugar cube, bitters and prosecco. This brand is a starlet -the aroma and taste is so floral and honeyed you sip slowly not to waste a precious drop. And the elegant bottle and romantic branding seduces in a way that has made it an instant classic. It was paired with a cerviche made with house cured bakala (dried salted cod reconstituted in water for 2 hours), mixed with red onion and tomato, as well as with an indulgent mushroom croquette with truffle oil (from Macao in Tribeca). http://www.stgermain.fr.

McClure’s served a knockout Bloody Mary mixed with Prairie Organic Vodka-a small batch, sustainable spirit made from organic corn from Minnesota. The rebel of the show, the red drink looks like a bloody mary, but tastes like pickles! Well, at least it does when it first touches your lips. It’s really refreshing, vinegary and vegetal. I saw it on line at Murray’s Cheese shop-it’s a go for my next brunch. http://www.mcclurespickles.com, http://www.prairievodka.com.

Nonino created an exciting drink of their fine grappa mixed with chardonnay and infused with mango and pineapple with a chili salt rim.…a playful mix of heaven and hell! Nonino is a super premium small batch grappa that I wouldn’t expect to mix (just like you’d never pour oj into Champagne) … but they’re clever to do it to make it more approachable. http://www.nonino.it.

Bache Gabrielsen Cognac offered a tasting of XO “Natur & Eleganse”. Made mostly with grande and petit champagne grapes, it has a clean and modern style. They choose not to add sugar and caramel so the taste is pure and the color pale-noticeably different than traditional cognacs. It’s very elegant with layers of mellow fruit and light floral notes. http://www.bache-gabrielsen.com.

And for the grand finale I tasted Comb’s vodka drink, distilled from honey and infused with Darjeeling tea, sparkling wine, lemon and Benedictine. Thank goodness for the bees that make this nice nectar.  http://www.ediblemanhattan.com/20110110/creating-a-buzz.

I look forward to the next Edible event. The sense of community they’ve created in New York/Brooklyn/East End (and around the country) helps everyone engage, consumers and pros alike. It’s a really great brand itself- understated, authentic and original, it feels like it’s always been here and I’m sure will stay for years to come.

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