Every June 10 Gin fans around the world stage their own events to celebrate their spirit of the times.
The gin craze shows no sign of slowing down (I read somewhere recently that there’s 3 new gin releases every day around the world!), but there’s still work to do in introducing the great spirits with personality to people who have bad memories of less than ideal bottles back in the day.
For several years now I’ve been hosting sold out dinners in partnership with my friends at Nip of Courage who are the leading distributor for Australian craft spirits.
This year I featured the gin range from the McHenry Distillery located in beautiful Tasmania (they have 5 natural springs which supplies their water for distilling) with one of the family distillery team, Max McHenry coming up to Canberra for the evening. This year our event partner was Muse, a restaurant and book store located in upscale suburb of Kingston, noted for hosting thoughtful and popular events, such as writers talks and small concerts, so it was a natural fit.
Being familiar with the range of their gins: the Classic London Dry (read my review here), Barrel Aged, Navy Strength and Sloe Gin, I started working on my cocktail recipes several weeks in advance liaising with Muse’s chef along the way.
Click here to read the World GinDay Dinner Menu (PDF)
There were several courses for the guests, starting with canapés on arrival to go with my Martinis (naturally), then 2 appetisers, a main, then dessert. I created three cocktails, and decided that the Sloe Gin being so gorgeous and singular in its flavour profile to leave natural as the closing note to finish on.
Noting that I could expect several of the guests were new to Martinis I aimed for an approachable cocktail -not too austere or intense. I premixed the vermouths and gin in advance and chilled them, with glasses also pre chilled on ice, then chilled/stirred/garnished each cocktail on arrival for the guest.
I had to be quick and organised to serve some 60+ Martinis pronto. A first time drinker gave me a 8/10 so that’s fine by me!
- McHenry Dry Gin
- Dolin Dry Vermouth
- Fresh lemon peel
- 1:10 ratio of vermouth to Gin, stirred over ice, poured over garnish
- A drop of Fee Brothers Orange Bitters on top upon serving
- McHenry Dry Gin
- Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
- Green Olives, pre-soaked in vermouth, brine and gin
- 1:4 ratio of vermouth to Gin, about a teaspoon of brine mix added, stirred over ice, poured over garnish
- Several drops of Fee Brothers Orange Bitters on top upon serving
I was quite pleased with how this turned out actually! A good Negroni should be slightly sharp and bitter but with generous flavours, its a classic aperitif, but I served this as the 2nd cocktail with the appetiser, so I didn’t want it too bitter.
The tricky thing during service was the timing, it had to arrive chilled and plenty of ice, but not diluted- the Muse team nailed that perfectly. I mixed the cocktails, and left it rest on the garnish for 20 minutes to infuse slightly, then added the ice immediately before serving. Guests seemed to be divided between Negroni or Kingston people on the night as their favourite!
- McHenry Navy Strength Gin
- Amaro Nonino
- Regal Rouge Daring Dry
- Orange peel
- 6 parts Gin, 3 parts Vermouth, 1 part Amaro, stirred on ice, poured over orange garnish to rest, then add ice prior to serving.
My take on the classic Manhattan Cocktail which traditionally uses American Rye or Bourbon style Whisky, I like using Canadian Club myself. Noting that the McHenry gin is aged in Bourbon casks that gave me the idea to switch it over and marry it the lovely Australian sweet vermouth from Maidenii. I first used that product when I created the Centenary Martini back in 2013.
This was a very popular drink on the night with its perfect balance of spice and backbone from the gin, a dry finish from the bitters, with a approachable upfront flavours of strawberry and cherry from the Vermouth making it dangerously moorish.
- 1 part of McHenry Barrel Aged Gin
- 1 part Maidenii Sweet Vermouth
- A generous dash of Angostura bitters
- Stirred over ice, poured into a chilled class with a maraschino cherry garnish.
So a very successful night and most importantly, all our guests had a great evening and made some new friends with plenty of ginspiration.
Until next time!