Ginger all evening long...
I've been enamored with Domaine de Canton, the French liqueur made with VSOP cognac and flavored with Vietnamese baby ginger, since it made its way onto my radar months ago. So I jumped at the chance to attend the official DC launch dinner of DdC at Michel Richard's Central the other night.
I love the smell and taste of fresh ginger, and I've been experimenting with DdC since I got my hands on a bottle six or so months ago. My favorite drink remains a simple Champagne cocktail, with a splash of DdC and a few pieces of crystallized ginger in the bottom of the flute. (The bubbles bring the aromatics right up to your nose...and it's just heady, exotic and sublime.)
At Central, mixologists Phil Greene (of the Museum of the American Cocktail), DC Beverage Consultant Derek Brown (also affiliated with the museum) and Central's mixologist Justin Guthrie took the gingery elixir and created some fantastic drinks to pair with each dinner course.
Phil's Gingerly Fashion was a modern twist on the Old Fashioned, and in my opinion, it went down a lot easier than the original. (I did see a recipe for a vanilla bean Old Fashioned in a magazine recently, and I can't help but think that the addition of DdC to that drink would be amazing, too):
1.5-2 oz (to taste) rye or Bourbon whiskey
1 oz. Domaine de Canton
1/2 ounce brown sugar simple syrup
2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters
In a pint glass or shaker, muddle orange slice with sugar syrup and bitters, then add ice and all other ingredients. Stir very well, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh orange wheel. Note: this drink may also be served on the rocks, in an Old Fashioned Glass.
Next up was Derek's Ginger Apple Margarita. The inclusion of smoky, brooding Reposado tequila gave the otherwise fresh and crisp drink some enticing dark notes:
1 oz. Domaine de Canton
3/4 oz. Partida Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. unfiltered apple juice
*Mix equal parts cinnamon sugar and kosher salt. Flame with torch to help heighten cinnamon aromatics. Rim glass. Add the rest of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake until chilled, strain into cocktail glass already rimmed with cinnamon salt.
Finally, with dessert, was Justin's CDG (Chiquenaude de Gingembre) or Ginger Flip. I recently wrote a piece on flips, and I've been enjoying them more and more lately, especially in the cooler weather. Salmonella be damned--the risk of eating raw eggs is very, very low, and the alcohol pretty much kills anything anyway...
CDG (Ginger Flip)
1.5 oz. Domaine de Canton
1 oz. Sauternes
1 whole egg (1 egg is typically enough for 2 flips, in case you are doubling the recipe)
1/2 tablespoon powdered sugar
splash half and half
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain. Grate nutmeg on top.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to DdC's founder John Cooper at dinner. He agrees that his product is not for everyone, but it does have a niche, both in cocktails and in cuisine (several chefs, including Eric Ripert, have created recipes that contain DdC.) Booze runs in Cooper's blood, that's for sure. His grandfather owned Jacquin's liqueurs, and his brother created that other aromatic, exotic and oh so trendy liqueur St. Germain, flavored with elderflowers from the Alps.
Domaine de Canton is available at select DC-area restaurants and bars, including Central and Arlington's EatBar.