Archive for October, 2006

October 7th, 2006

Warm gin and Iron Chefs at District

I love gin, especially Bombay Sapphire gin, especially when it’s free. That’s why I decided to don my club clothes and go to the Bombay Sapphire “Perfect Pairings” night at District this week. The event, co-sponsored by GQ magazine, involved an Iron Chef-style cookoff between chefs Andy Husbands (Tremont 647, Sister Sorrell) and Marc Orfaly (Pigalle, Marco). Teaming up with the two chefs were two bartenders — Candace Smith of Excelsior was paired with Husbands, while Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard was paired with Orfaly — who concocted Bombay Sapphire-based cocktails to accompany each dish. The chefs had a weird array of ingredients to work with, including cucumbers, steamed clams, Frosted Flakes and Minute Rice, and 20 minutes to whip up three dishes. Truth be told, the dishes smelled wonderful, and the cocktails Jackson and Candace mixed looked cool and mouthwatering. If only I could have been the judge!

Instead, I stood amid the crowd, sampling little phyllo-and-goat cheese thingies and drinking “Inspired Cocktails” that were being liberally distributed by attractive waitresses in short, strapless dresses the color of the Sapphire gin bottle. The girls were nice, but the drinks were warm. Was there an ice shortage? The bartender who made my first drink, a Martini, stirred the mixture over about five cubes for 10 seconds. The temperature of the resulting cocktail was perfect … if I had been drinking red wine. I also tried a Strawberry Basil cocktail. The flavors were nice, but again, the drink was tepid. Bombay’s official mixologist, Jamie Walker, was there. But he didn’t seem horrified by District’s lackadaisical production of his creations as, say, chefs Husbands and Orfaly would be if their dishes languished under a heat lamp before being served.

Look, I’m not an idiot. I understand the persuasive powers of plentiful free booze. And Bombay certainly doesn’t need to convince me to drink their gin. I already do. It’s really good stuff. But if they’re going to promote their brand of gin as a worthy complement to top-notch cuisine, shouldn’t they bother to show their potential customers the beauty of a properly made cocktail?

Posted in Boston bars, Cocktails, Events, Gin | No Comments »

October 3rd, 2006

Local heather ale wins GABF gold

Drinkboston is brimming with pride over a local brewery’s triumph. The Cambridge Brewing Co. (1 Kendall Square, Cambridge) recently won its latest medal — a gold — at the Great American Beer Festival in the Herb and Spice Beer category for its Scottish heather ale, The Wind Cried Mari. This rendition of an ancient ale is brewed with heather — you know, that pretty purple grasslike flower you see growing on the side of the highway sometimes — grown locally, in Westport, MA. The Herb and Spice Beer category was one of the most crowded at the GABF, with 64 entries. The Cambridge Brewing Co. has also won GABF medals for its Charles River Porter, Tripel Threat Belgian-style tripel, Benevolence specialty strong ale, and Blunderbuss Barleywine. It just so happens that drinkboston’s creator once worked as a brewer at the CBC. (Alas, no medals were won during the time I worked as assistant to head brewer Will Meyers.) Clearly, then, this post is biased, you say. Nuh uh. If my own mother was the head brewer there, and she made mediocre beer, I wouldn’t give the place the time of day. Of course, you shouldn’t take my word for it. Go there and taste Will’s beer for yourself. The next CBC Brewer’s Dinner, featuring the heather ale, is November 11.

Posted in Beer, Boston bars | No Comments »

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