Those folks at the Restaurant Association of NS were on to something when they chose February for the Savour Food and Wine Festival. A month long celebration of food and drink is the perfect way to get us through the dead of Winter, especially this Winter. While I didn't participate in Dine Around this year, I did attend Imbibe: A Cocktail Story. As soon as word got out that a new cocktail evening was being added to the Savour line up, I knew I had to be there. And man was I right. The Casino NS Schooner Room was packed full of the city's best and brightest serving up some amazing and rather inventive cocktails. And not just a small taster either. Full on cocktails. (Although I am told they were sample size, with less alcohol than a full cocktail). Needless to say, I had quite the sleep in the following day. In fact, over a cocktail (or two!) this past weekend, Brent and I decided to figure out just how much we had imbibed that night. Brent had, get ready for it, 14 cocktails and I, the big 13. But it gets better. When we got home that night, we had two more. Crazy, I know. When we imbibe, we really imbibe.
So of those 13 cocktails, what you ask were the show stoppers? First up, Gio. Both their cocktails were creative and tasty. The Cinote rocked my taste buds with jalapeno, tequilla, cilantro, white cranberry juice, cucumber, and lime. Then they upped their game with the Sea Smoke: smoke infused vodka, habanero shrub, pureed yellow tomatoes, clam juice, lime and BBQ peach as a garnish. While I don't know if it was really my thing, Brent would easily choose it as a light, more refreshing Caesar any day. Well played Gio.
But onto the top three. In the number three spot, the 'Tosh Punch by Jenner Cormier of The Middle Spoon. Auchentoshan Three Wood whiskey, beet juice, grapefruit, lemon clove syrup, orange bitters and dry vermouth. Though quite sweet, it was complex and I simply loved the use of the beet juice. It's got me thinking how I too can create some beet magic. Challenge?
Next up, The Bicycle Thief's Jeffrey Van Horne's Aperol Passion, a blend of Aperol, Appleton Estate rum, lemon, passion fruit syrup, and orange bitters. Perfectly balanced and oh so refreshing. Aperol is easily one of my new favourite drinks so there's really no surprise this bad boy makes it in my top three. Plus, I'll pretty much drink anything JVH puts in front of me. Check out his blog for some great cocktail advice or, even better, head on down to Untitled Eats every Wednesday where he mixes up new spins on the old classics.
And the big winner of the night, the Oxford Circus by Morris East. Citadelle gin, Grand Marnier, rosemary syrup, Coleman's English mustard, egg white and lemon. Mustard in a cocktail? Damn straight. That Katrina Roberts really knows her stuff plus she's lovely to boot. Their other absolutely delicious cocktail The Patsy, a cocktail with gin, elderflower, rosemary. lemon, and sparkling wine is on their cocktail menu at present. Just another reason I need to get back down to Morris East asap.
At $50 per ticket plus the cab ride home, Imbibe was certainly a very affordable night out, well for us anyway. Other than the food (where were all the carbs to soak up the booze?), the night couldn't have been better. Lia and Crad, Imbibe 2014, it's a date.