Across the world, a variety of celebrations are taking place to celebrate the officially recognized birthday of the cocktail. It was on May 13th, 1806 that we find the earliest known definition of the cocktail, and so it is on this day that we decide to celebrate the cocktail, and its noble history.
As reports come in from the various venues which participated in the celebrations we will provide details and hopefully photographs here, and it looks like I get to be first with providing you with details about the first event that I was involved in.
Lisa Dupar has long been known across Seattle as one of its premier caterers, and together with her husband Jonathan Zimmer, has built a strong reputation for providing exquisite and fresh creations to events of all sizes. They recently opened up Pomegranate Bistro, which has quickly become a favorite of the neighborhood.
They invited me to host a special cocktail seminar at Pomegranate to celebrate World Cocktail Day, as well as expose their customers to the delights and potentials of a classic cocktail. Along with a full complement of products (as shown in the photograph above) to discuss with the attendees, I also brought along my “mini-museum” (as seen in the photograph below), a set of panels based on part of our regular exhibit which has been seen in New Orleans and Las Vegas.
The evenings event was a full-house, with 26 guests signing up to be part of the celebration. As the attendees started coming in, the evening started out with a “Welcome Drink” of the “Pom Drop” a signature drink of the Pomegranate Bistro made from Pomegranate vodka, Lemoncello, Pomegranate puree, and lemon juice. We then quickly got down to business, and I launched into the history and evolution of the cocktail from its earliest beginnings on through to American prohibition and slightly beyond. Attendees were provided hands-on experience by actually mixing up for themselves each of the three drinks which I used to demonstrate the qualities and craftsmanship of a classic cocktail. We started with the Old Fashioned made with Maker’s Mark bourbon whiskey, to illustrate the core concepts of the cocktail, as well as to show how what was once such a fine cocktail has fallen upon hard times due to bartenders and customers loosing site of how this drink is properly prepared. We then discussed a variety of early cocktail concepts and creations, leading up to the next major step in cocktails which was when cocktails such as the Manhattan and Martini came onto the scene. We mixed up a Martini using the classic proportions which was popular just prior to prohibition (3 parts Plymouth gin, 1 part dry vermouth, dash of orange bitters), illustrating how such a balanced approach to the cocktail really embraces the culinary potential, and presents a far better drink than the “glass of cold gin” which is so commonly served today. In closing we switched to the earlier version of the Martini, which was made with equal parts Plymouth gin and sweet vermouth, along with a dash or orange bitters. The realization that this was the original Martini, and that the “dry” in a dry Martini referred to simply the substitution of dry vermouth for sweet was an epiphany for the attendees which further helped them to see the value of restoring a historical perspective of the cocktail, and treating it as a cuisine instead of simply an alcoholic libation.
Throughout the evening, Chef Jonathan Zimmer rolled out an exquisite set of dishes designed to specifically compliment the cocktails which were being served. These included baskets of house potato & root chips, mini Ruben’s on Jim’s rye, mini lamb sliders with basil mint aioli, cups of parsnip squash bisque, hot and sour scallop ceviche with won ton chips and platters of sweet treats chocolates & nibbles.
18005 NE 68th Street
Redmond, WA 98052