Jump to content

"Museum of the American Cocktail" Benefit Dinner


TMFIII
 Share

Recommended Posts

This should be interesting - participating mixologists (okay ... bartenders, if you'd like) will be Adam Bernbach (Bar Pilar), Derek Brown (Komi), Tom Brown (Cork), Gina Chersevani (EatBar), Justin Guthrie (Central), John Hogan (Hudson) , Todd Thrasher (Restaurant Eve), Chantal Tseng (Tabard Inn), Rico Wisnor (Poste), and Sebastian Zutant (Proof).

Cheers,

Rocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I called on Friday and it was sold out. ;) My fault for dawdling on buying my ticket...I hope everyone going has a great time, and we'd love to see a full report here. Adam is doing the appetizer, I think, and Tom is doing dessert.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I called on Friday and it was sold out. ;) My fault for dawdling on buying my ticket...I hope everyone going has a great time, and we'd love to see a full report here. Adam is doing the appetizer, I think, and Tom is doing dessert.

We'll definitely have a write-up on our blog but I think we can make sure to talk about it here, too - especially if anyone else on here is going!

I may really nerd out and Twitter it (Twitter ID is HighwayStar) but that may be too nerdy even for me. On the other hand, I've found it to be a really useful tool in remember what drinks you had and what was in them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In short - had a great time. 10 great cocktails, 5 good dishes plus appetizers, a lot of good conversation and people and a chance to meet a lot of the folks I've been hoping to meet for a while, even the legendary DonRocks. ;)

And a swag bag at the end, which I though was cool even if the t-shirt (a black Finlandia vodka t-shirt that said "Bartenders are gods") was only a large - no way I can (acceptably) wear that. I ended up giving it to a cool LAPD officer at Metro Center who said she'd been a bartender before a cop.

More details later - I are tired.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I managed to get a ticket, thanks to generous benefactor. What fun! Highlights were Justin's vivid tarragon cocktail, meeting Gina (a delight), and the bar chef chorus line of shakers at the bar working on Tom Brown's Amaro flip. Very good food too, especially the pink peppercorn strawberry shortcakes. I think I've found my birthday dinner location for this year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it hard to write objectively about matters of the palate, which by their very nature are subjective. It's easy to come across as a snob, or as someone who loves a game of one-upmanship. Remember the Dave Barry column "Days of Wine and Roses"? where he faux-quotes someone as describing a wine as "a tad Episcopalian in its predictability"?

I heard a lot of comments like that last night. Inside I laughed, or cringed, or rolled my eyes. So please excuse me for being hypocritical if the following report comes across as laughable, or cringe-worthy, or eye-rollable. I'll try to be objective where I can, because there was a lot of praise-worthy stuff going down last night.

First, the menus:

-------------------------

Cocktail Hour Cocktails

Lady Randolph's Revenge - John Hogan, Hudson Lounge

Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Homemade Bing Cherry and Madagascar Vanilla Vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino Liquer, Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Aromatic Bitters, Maraschino Espuma

Zenzero Apertivo - Chantal Tang, Tabard Inn

Sparkling Wine, Caravella Lemoncello, Ginger Syrup, Dash of Absinthe

PaRappa the Rapper Punch - Adam Berbach, Bar Pilar

Tommy Bahama Gold Rum, Strawberry, Szechuan Pepper & Tonka Bean Syrup, Lime Juice, Tarragon and Strawberry Puree, Peychaud bitters

Tarragon Gin Fizz - Justin Guthrie, Central Michel Richard

Hendrick's Gin infused with Tarragon, Lemon Juice, Natakhtari Tarragon Soda

Puffin du Velay - Rico Wisner, Poste Modern Brasserie

Reyka Vodka, Fresh Sour Mix with Agave Syrup, Vervaine du Velay, Sparkling Wine

--------------------------

If a cocktail before dinner is intended to whet the appetite, then the most successful (for me) was Chantal's creation. Light bodied, lightly fizzy, lightly flavored, it teased the tongue, and I kept sipping, trying to discern all the flavors. Just enough going on in the glass to be interesting without being overwhelming.

Pretty much the same goes for Justin's drink, which wasn't as savory or vegetal as you might expect from the description.

Each of the others had some component that I didn't care for, which is in no way a negative comment about the drinks; it just means that I can't write with useful objectivity about something that didn't excite me. Other people praised those drinks; I hope they write about them.

------------------

Dinner menu:

The Dr. Who - Todd Thrasher, PX et al

Machu Pisco, Celery and Jicama Soda, Homemade Cerry Bitters

served with Chilled Seafood and Hearts of Palm Cocktail

Hibiscus Fizz - Derek M. Brown, Komi

Finlandia Vodka infused with Hibiscus, Rose Hips, & Orange Peel, Yuzu and Lemon Juices, Topped with Soda

Sake Glazed Salmon with Pickled Honshimenji Mushrooms, Local Asparagus, & Tamari_Radish Emulsion

Cereza la Fuma - Gina Chersevani, Eat Bar

Milagro Silver Tequila, Lillet Rouge, Cheerywood Smoked Whtie Pepper Meringue, Agave Nectar, Lime Juice, Topped with Fleur de Sel

Braised Shenandoah Lamb with Spring Pea-Tarragon Risotto and Grilled Ramps

Medicine Man (aka Sebby Potter and the Teeming Cauldron of Booze) - Sebastian Zutant, Proof

Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Blandy's Madeira, Lillet Rouge, Lustau East India Sherry, Fee Brothers Whisky Barrel Aged Bitters, Armagnac and Port Soaked Prunes

Selection of cheeses [Coolea, a blue, and two others]

Truffled Amara Flip - Tom Brown, Cork

Korbel Brandy, Ramazzotti Amaro, Egg Whites, Lemon Juice, Truffle Oil, Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Strawberry and Pink Peppercorn Shortcake with Creme Fraiche & Honey Lavender Ice Cream

----------------------

Paired drink and food should complement each other, each in balance, creating an experience more than the sum of the parts. Given this definition, the standouts (for me) were Gina's and Tom's drinks.

I laughed reading the description of Cereza la Fuma - Cherrywood Smoked White Pepper Meringue? Are you kidding me?! Didn't expect to like it at all. But it was my favorite of the evening, partly because I didn't expect to like it, but also because the drink itself balanced sweet, sour, bitter, and salty and was more than the sum of its parts, and then because of how it complemented the lamb. It was a brilliant drink brilliantly paired with food.

And then, truffle oil in a drink? paired with dessert?! Are you serious?!

Well, that's why Tom's a bartender and I'm not. Again, a well-balanced drink, playful but not silly, unexpectedly lovely and playing off the also unexpectedly lovely dessert. Wow.

Serious praise must also be given to Chef Haidar Karoum for the delightfully creative and well-prepared food, and to the staff of Proof - it must have taken tremendous coordination to pull this off.

Well done, everyone. Thank you. Please do it again next year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was well worth missing both "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Bachelor."

Seriously though. Good drinks, good crowd, good cause. Gina's was a gem. "Like a Shiraz," she said. Snap!

And Seb's drink worked great with the cheese.

Tom Brown is the most consistently good complex-drinks maker in the city.

This town is blessed, folks. Liquor geeks, mixmasters, lax liquor import laws. Are you glad to be alive?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definitely think the staff at Proof deserve a huge shout-out for the work they put into this. And that's not to belittle the other mixologists who were involved - it was very smoothly run and a very exciting and tasty event all around!

And getting to meet (or re-meet) people like Jake, Heather, Don, and ol ironstomach helped too!

(I wonder if those were the shows that the one woman near us insisted on watching on her small TV. Why would you go to an event like that and watch TV the whole time? She told me on the Metro home that it was due to wanting to see the season finales of her two favorite shows, but she couldn't hear them. Seriously? You came because you saw it in the Post, didn't know anything (before or after) about the food or drinks, and basically took up a spot that someone who was more interested might've been able to use while you watched your TV shows? Sorry. Things like that annoy me.)

porcupine's already posted the menu so I won't repeat it, but I'll comment on what I liked the most. I'll say that I didn't think anything was bad just some I liked more than others.

Cocktail hour cocktails (in order of drinkage):

PaRappa the Rapper Punch - I enjoyed this one a lot more than I expected since I'm not a huge strawberry fan. I also dug the name, but hey, I'm a video game critic as my second unpaid job.

Lady Randolph's Revenge - This one was good, too, though it was a bit too much something for me. I have a friend of mine who would absolutely love it. I think I would've liked it better with some of the food.

Zenzero Apertivo - This was nice. A very good apertif. I managed to avoid impaling my eye, fortunately.

Tarragon Gin Fizz - this was the big hit of the cocktail hour for me. I could've drank gallons of it. Very very good. Now to figure out where to find that Georgian soda...

Puffin Du Velay - This wasn't bad, but had the misfortune of coming just after the Gin Fizz. D'oh!

Dinner:

The Dr. Who Cocktail - very good, one of those "oh, I can't make this at home :-( " type drinks for me. ;) It went very well with the seafood cocktail, which was surprisingly good (to me).

Hibiscus Fizz - Much like the Tarragon Gin Fizz, I felt like I could've drank a lot of this one. The salmon that came with this was really good, too, and a hefty portion. The combination was delightful.

Cereza la Fuma - I liked this one, especially with the lamb, but at least one lady at our table wished for a glass of wine with the lamb, and I couldn't help but wonder how the Lady Randolph's Revenge would've gone with the lamb. It was good but the next drink so bowled me over.... The lamb and risotto was heavenly here. I never wanted that little bowl to end, at least, until I tried the cheese...

Medicine Man (aka Sebby Potter and the Teeming Cauldron of Booze) - wow oh wow this was a great drink. It came with four different cheeses which I completely missed as to what they were but all were also extremely good. Had the meal ended up here I would've been in nirvana. I was just - wow.

Truffled Amaro Flip - This drink was good, but came on the heels of the previous. Still, I liked it - it was kind of random, having truffle oil in there, but I liked it a lot. I think I could've gotten my parents to really like this one. The dessert itself I wasn't overly impressed with, but I'm not a huge fruit/berry for dessert kind of guy. The shortcake itself was pretty good, and the ice cream wasn't bad, but it was a bit overwhelmed in there.

As I've said, I had a great time last night and I can't wait until next year. And the pressure to go to Tales of the Cocktail is getting unbearable! I think we need to get some sponsors for the Den to help send us down there...:):(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everyone has said just about all I could say in a much more well written way that all I can add is:

WOW.

Last night was awesome. Being a cocktail geek and getting to meet some of the heavyweights of the DC cocktail scene was a real treat. Every person was fantastic. I enjoyed every single drink and the food almost made me cry (in a good way).

Jake - Yes it is a good time to be alive and a cocktail geek in DC!

Kudos go out to all of the mixologists, Chef Karoum and the staff at Proof! You all deserve a standing ovation.

Now, about those benefactors to send the Scofflaw's to Tales . . . ;)

Cheers,

Marshall

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last night was a seminal event; it will be marked as the day this town became a cutting-edge city for world-class cocktails. Everything has been falling into place for awhile now, but on May 12th, 2008, Washington, DC was transported back to April, 1874, and Proof became Nadar's studio.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last night was a seminal event; it will be marked as the day this town became a cutting-edge city for world-class cocktails. Everything has been falling into place for awhile now, but on May 12th, 2008, Washington, DC was transported back to April, 1874, and Proof became Nadar's studio.

Cheers,

Rocks.

...Meyer's Restaurant 1888 as well.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When a mixologist makes one classic flip or fizz, the shaker is vigorously agitated to combine and froth its contents.

When you need to make 90+ of them at once, you need the best arms in town (and lots of them) taking turns.

post-710-1210905121_thumb.jpg

The DC Mixology Chorus Line 2008

blurs left to right: John Hogan (Hudson), Rico Wisner(?) (Poste), unknown couple, Todd Thrasher (PX),

Justin Guthrie (Central), Adam Bernbach (Bar Pilar), Derek Brown (Komi), Tom "not so blurry" Brown (Cork)

Sebastian Zutant (Proof) was ferrying finished shakers from the end of the line back to the head.

My apologies to Gina and Chantal if you were also in the photo and I missed your blurs!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...