Thirty-Nine Hours Later…

Jul 21, 2011 by

I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast.
–WC Fields

Gin and I have never been close. Oh, he hangs out in my closet and goes “Booga-Booga-Booga!!” every time I reach for the vodka, but I think that’s because he’s just frightened, alone and wanting of affection. Until this week, my general attitude has been one of, “whatever…” but I was told by a colleague here that gin was like smoking. Or LSD. Or any other fun, scary thing. You simply need that one good experience and the doors swing wide for gin to enter your heart. For me, this would be Charles Oxley’s Very English Summer Sorbet.

Now the last thing I would ever think I’d like is a gin sherbert, but let me tell you… divine! For those who wish to try it:

1 part Oxley Gin
2/3 part Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
2/3 part lemon juice
2/3 part Elderflower & Nettle cordial
Dash of Rice Sugar Syrup
5 oz fresh apple juice
3 sprigs of mint
1 grapefruit
3 small slices of chili (!!)
2/3 lb pwdered dry ice
Gently press mint into other ingredients and strain into a large mixing glass, removing the mint. Grate in 1 small side of grapefruit. Sift in dry ice through a wide sieve or julep strainer, stirring as you do so. once the mix has turned solid, fold in the 3 slices of chili. Serve in a small dish or large spoon.

I swear it’s like having the inside of your throat caressed by hands that have never done an honest days work in their lives. And the chili provides a nice afterbite to the tongue. This one is worth the extra effort and would be perfect for those sweltering New Orleans evenings!

Of course, the gin is subtly hidden among many flavors in that one. There’s no way I actually liked gin, is there? Well, later that evening it was time for the Beefeater Welcome Reception & Masquerade. I know I panned last years garish display but Beefeater really outdid themselves this year! With a fleet of 10 Bentleys –none younger than 40– to deliver guests from the Monteleone to Gallier hall which was decorated sublimely by Tony Leggio and Mardi Gras Productions.

The Red Carpet led up the front steps to a red main hallway. Each of the side rooms were subtly lit with the bartenders mixing drinks matching the colors of the lighting. And there were many, many drinks! The Cover Club, the Blue Moon Cocktail, the Rooibos Collins and many others which are somewhat garbled in my notes! (Don’t worry, there will be pictures!) And they were –with few exceptions– very good!

After the Beefeater reception, it was on to the Wm Grant & Sons party, but that shall wait for another day. I sit here in the Vieux Carré room of the Hotel Monteleone trying to comprehend my Thursday schedule through the haze of 37 cocktails over the last 39 hours. Luckily, I have an eye-opener to brace me for the days events, an Oxley Garden consisting of muddled yellow bell peppers and yellow tomato, agave syrup, lime juice, a drop of Grains of Paradise bitters, a sprig of fir tree as garnish and whaddya know… Oxley Gin! So I guess that makes 38. I better get a refill to make it an even 1/hour!

Things to look for today at Tales:
12:N – Cupcake Vodka tasting at the Royal Sonesta
12:N – Glassware Seminar at the Hotel Monteleone
3:00 – Swizzling seminar, HM
3:00 – The World by (Brass) Rail, HM
4:00 – Diageo Happy Hour at the Presbytyre (a must do!)
10:00 – 250 Years of Bombay, House of Blues
12:M – Zubrowka Bison Riding outside the Olde Absinthe

I shall endeavour  to shoot all of this and more for those of you who live vicariously through Flickr, but in the last day and a half I’ve taken over 900 pictures. No telling what the final count will be, but there will be some time before I get them boiled down to the best few hundred! I’ll let you know!

–M Styborski

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