The evening began with talk of a "vodka backlash" occurring in New York. Too many brands, too much ubiquity, too neutral a flavor. Enter gin, with its' aromatic botanicals and complex flavor -- the ideal antidote to dull cocktails. Or at least that's the world according to Simon Ford, the brand ambassador for Pernod Ricard USA -- whose portfolio is bolstered by the super-premium Plymouth Gin, produced in West England since 1793. And a beautiful world it is, especially after my sixth or seventh cocktail at Eos' gin dinner this past Tuesday evening.
Our first drink was a Floradora, the Plymouth gin mixed with ginger beer, raspberry, and angostura bitters. This is a modern cocktail usually concocted with ginger ale, but Eos' bartender added his own spin by switching to ginger beer. It tasted like a lime rickey to me, even though it contained no cherry or lime. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have guzzled it. Passed hors d'oeurves included a grouper ceviche with essence of gin and more of an essence of chipotle. It was delicious.
My next drink was the classic Negroni, a trilogy of gin, Campari, and vermouth. Kick-ass. Dinner began.
A trio of malpec oysters with gin mignonette came first, followed by a
fantastic lobster bisque -- with caviar, sherry gelee, a puff of
gin avgolemono, and a delicate little dill flower. Pairing drink was another classic, French 75, which is
champagne with gin, lemon juice, and sugar. Second course likewise
rocked: wild mushroom risotto spooned over a plate of foie gras, quail
egg, mushroom-gin foam and bone marrow. It was accompanied by my
favorite cocktail of the evening, the Clover Club, an extremely herbal
blend of gin, lime juice, raspberry syrup and Peychauds bitters, with
an egg white foam.
Next four courses didn't get photographed -- that's what happens when
the photographer gets too ginned up. But the third course was pretty as
a picture, a surf/turf combo of bay scallop with pressed prosciutto,
pistachio butter, feta cheese and juniper-gin-butter sauce alongside a
square of pork belly atop herb salad with honey-white balsamic-gin
vinaigrette. Bramble was the cocktail match with this, followed by a
venison chop and an Aviation drink of gin, lemon juice, creme de
violette. Dessert was a deconstructed gin & tonic, with lime cubes,
caramelized white chocolate, and gin pearls. Final drink was the Pegu
Club, a mix of Plymouth gin, Grand Marnier, fresh lime, orange bitters,
and angostura bitters.
What was learned: Plymouth gin is a dry, smooth spirit made from 7
botanicals and Dartmoor water. Lemon and juniper notes are most
noticeable, the finish is long. You can try cocktails made from
Plymouth at Eos, and also at the Florida Room, among other places
around town. It is a fine gin, and is available at our main liquor
And Eos' kitchen crew again proved that it is one of Miami's best.
Recipe for Clover Club, which, seriously, is a great cocktail:
2 ounces of Plymouth Gin
1 ounce fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons raspberry syrup
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1 dash Peychauds bitters
1 egg white, whipped
lime wheel for garnish (optional)
Shake well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.