Thursday, November 10, 2011

cocktails in wine country? mutineer magazine's red carpet gala

when you live in the napa valley of california you drink wine...often.  you know people in the business, you attend events celebrating wine, you contrubute to fundraisers  including wine in the silent auction, you have friends who spend countless hours discussing get my point; in napa, wine rules.

so it was exciting to be invited to mutineer magazine's 3rd annual 'red carpet party' and king's ginger cocktail competition this past sunday.  finally...a night celebrating cocktails and food a "dress to impress" environment....(and all of my book club girls in attendance!) it was held at the napa valley opera house in downtown napa.  what a blast!  a cocktail competition and the opportunity to sample the contest entries along with bubbles, beer, water and appetizers.

the official press release for the event describes it this way:
"Beverage influencers from across the country came together to celebrate drink culture and the exciting cocktail renaissance in Napa Valley, with some of the top local bartenders on hand to showcase their skill. The partnership for the event was with two iconic spirits brands on the event: Luxardo, the legendary Italian distillery now in its sixth generation of production, and Chinaco Tequila, which introduced the United States to ultra-premium Tequila in 1983.  In addition, three inspired Napa Valley voices were officially announced in partnership with No.3 Gin."
"best book club ever"  photo courtesy julie dalrymple

i am not sure i would describe myself as a beverage influencer...maybe student?  i love reading about interesting cocktails and about the very cool bartenders creating different and delicious sounding combinations.  i think that is why i am such a fan of mutineer magazine.  every issue is chock full of stories and interviews from restaurants and bars around the world spotlighting top bartenders.  walking around the red carpet event last weekend, i finally figured out why these articles resonant with me...the successful bartenders all share the same characteristic; an emphasis on fresh, best-quality-possible ingredients .  but it wasn't until i watched eight bartenders from some of napa's best restaurants compete in the king's ginger cocktail competition, that i truly understood the care and craftsmanship that goes into each drink. truly works of art and no machines in sight.  lots of muddling lovely looking fruit, vegetables and herbs; eye droppers dispensing precise measurements, homemade syrups, hand blended tinctures...each drink made one at a time.   the cocktails served to the guests were made the same easy task...handmade drinks for a huge crowd...each delicious. 

congratulations to the contest winner: michael jack pazdon from solbar at the solage resort -calistoga, ca.  his submission, named the king’s waes hail, is pictured in the next 3 images and was my favorite of the night. want the recipe? is included at the end of this post.  (and please let me know if you make it at home).  check out the november/december 2011 edition of mutineer magazine for all eight cocktail recipes.

Photo by Phil Jimcosky of Mutineer Magazine

Photo by Phil Jimcosky of Mutineer Magazine

Photo by Phil Jimcosky of Mutineer Magazine

have i mentioned the food?  created specifically to pair with the cocktails served, the menu included both savory and sweet treats...really interesting and very, very good....with the same attention to detail and quality ingredients adopted by the bartenders.  a dish called spherification of margarita with chinaco tequila was delicious and weird at the same time.  picture a thin gel membrane encasing a shot of margarita....not sure why this technique has become so trendy...but hey, a margarita is a margarita. (thanks ronda, for convincing me to try it!).  my favorite bite was the "aerated" milk chocolate treat...light as a cloud but packed with flavor...really excellent. 

so...what's not to love about a night filled with great friends, delicious cocktails, good food and a beautiful setting. thank you ash and alan for the invitation. what fun! looking forward to next year...

Photo by Phil Jimcosky of Mutineer Magazine

Savory, Chef Gary Penir:

-Poached Scallop, Agadashi, Instant Sesame Tofu Noodles with King's Ginger Froth
-Local Albacore Tuna Tartare, Tempura Nori, Wasabi Tobiko Aioli with No.3 Gin
-Pork Belly Yakitori, Sangue Morlacco, Avocado
-Spherification of Margarita with Chinaco Tequila

Sweet, Pastry Chef Sara Wurst:
-Aerated milk chocolate with Luxardo Amaretto di Saschiro and Freeze Dried Cherries
-Luxardo Limoncello Mousse with Basil and Juniper Berry Butter Cookies, Micro Basil

Photo by Phil Jimcosky of Mutineer Magazine

The King’s Waes Hail

by Michael Jack Pazdon, SolBar

1 oz. Christian Drouin VSOP Calvados
3/4 oz. The King’s Ginger Liqueur
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. Carpano Antica Formula
1/2 oz. egg white
dash house-made grenadine*
dash Maraschino Orginale Luxardo
5 drops gingersnap spice tincture**
5 drops Genevieve Genever-style Gin

Combine all ingredients, aside from the genever, in a mixing glass, dry shake for 10 seconds, add ice, shake hard and double strain into a chilled coupe. Float dehydrated apple chip, fresh grated nutmeg, rosemary flowers, 5 drops gingerbread spice tincture and 5 drops Genevieve on top of foam.

*Bring 1 part fresh pomegranate juice to just below a simmer then add 1.2 parts granulated sugar, stir until dissolved. Let cool then add rose water to taste. Bottle and refrigerate.

**Grind 2 tsp. cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 9 black peppercorns. Grate 2 whole nutmegs. Toast gently in a pan, remove and combine with 1 oz. grated ginger and 1 c. over-proof rum in an airtight container. Steep for 2 weeks, shaking daily. Strain and bottle in a medicine dropper.


diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885
"live a green life of style™ "

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