Wednesday, February 09, 2011

CCDC Tasting at Food Matters

I'm cross posting this entry from another blog, John Shope's excellent The Next Rounds On Me blog.  John is the mixologist and bartender at Food Matters in Alexandria.  We had a great time there earlier this month, and I wanted to share his experience and ours.

Read his full blog posting here.

From The Next Rounds On Me:

In a Shot: Loudon County famed Catoctin Creek comes to Food Matters and showcases their spirits and my cocktails for each expression, all while wearing a kilt!

This past month has been insane. With so many changes in my home and work life alongside so many great opportunities, it's been a common thread for me to lose site of The Next Rounds on Me and all the different things relating to it. As we stand, there is a blog up for a scotch tasting along side others for Awamori, aged rums, and rye's. There's the A. Smith Bowman distillery tour, Port City Brewing Company and a few others I can't even remember.

I want to find the time to be able to release these images, memories and thoughts into electronic paper. There was one such instance recently that should've been posted a while ago and that's the Catoctin Creek Distillery cocktail tasting I participated in at Food Matters.

Scott and Becky Harris showed up wearing kilts, also bringing an additional one for me! We introduced the Harris' to Food Matters and the guests in the private dining room. As Scott and Becky took turns explaining who they were, what they were pouring and answer any questions, I returned to the bar with the help of other staff and manually prepared twenty drinks based on the spirit being poured. Cocktail shaker, kilt and the whole nine yards!

The 1st drink based on Mosby's Spirit, was christened by Scott Harris himself as "The Cool Hand Cuke" - The fruity aspect of Mosby's really blends well with raw vegetables, herbs and spices. With very little time, I, Johnny Cocktail, blended cucumbers and lemon/lime juice with house made rosemary salt and a peeled cucumber syrup. this drink, is clean, refreshing, flavorful & a favorite of Scott & Becky Harris themselves.

The second drink, Sweet Cherry Rye is a variation of a cocktail I've been developing for a George Washington Cherry contest taking place February 6th - 12th - Wish me luck and stop by the restaurant during that time period and cast your vote for my drink as your favorite! You combine Roundstone Rye whisky with freshly muddled cherries and allow them to infuse over night. Then it's a combination of ice, preserved cherries, peychaud's bitters and a squirt of lemon. Topped with house made maraschino cherries & a two years aged cherry bourbon, the cocktail has been described a rye Manhattan/Old Fashioned with complex levels of cherry and spice while others described it as a really strong and flavorful cherry coke.

The final cocktail has been described by the Food Matters owners as a liquid sweet tart, I've always considered it a G&T with character. Traditionally, a G&T is gin and tonic mixed to taste and usually garnished with a lime. Most people who buy G&T's squirt the lime in the drink or ask for more limes. It was a no brainer to start squeezing fresh lime into the gin before mixing it with tonic. Then, a few years ago I was introduced to orange blossom water and began mixing that into my gin and tonics and love it. With time, I started adding different bitters into my tonic and it made sense to blend citrus bitters into the drink. I'm on my way to making a cocktail. I try not to use one spirit in a cocktail unless it's a showcase and now that this gin and tonic is no longer a simple showcase of two ingredients I wanted to big up the floral perfumey blossom water and citrusy fruits while accenting the botanical/medicinal qualities of gin and tonic. A splash of Cointreau orange liqueur and St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur rounds off this drink. I recommend using a light and higher quality tonic for this drink, such as Fever-Tree or Q-Tonic.

By the end of the evening, Scott and Becky answered more questions, told more stories and plugged in their low stock hard to find quality product, the Pearousia, a pear brandy made from pears harvested at Fabioli Vineyards of Leesburg fame. They gave out T-Shirts, shot glasses and brochures and we all enjoyed the company of distillers, restaurant owners, chefs, mixologists, Catoctin Creek enthusiasts old and new. It was truly a night worth writing about and I hope to write about many more just like it.

Thanks Scott & Becky Harris,


(P.S. ---  Thank you to Remy (And her Aunt Jackie) for all your support and the really cool videos/photos.  To you, I give the next round on me as well!)

To all those who continue to support me, for me and for the drinks I passionately create I give to you, my glass held high.  I salute you.


© Copyright 2005-2014, Scott E. Harris. All Rights Reserved.
Please do not reproduce or copy without the permission of the author.