I never thought I would say this but: Forget about vodka and George Clooney. It’s all about gin (Hendrick’s) and Xavier Padovani (Global Gentleman Mixologist and International Bon Vivant). First let me preface the story by saying that gin and I have never been very good friends. Usually the only alcohol we had in the house when I was growing up was a bottle of Beefeaters and when I was in Grade 9 I once poured some in a cup of tea, thinking it would be a good mix because of the British dandy on the bottle. Well it wasn’t. And I did drink the whole thing, even back then I wouldn’t waste alcohol. But that was it for me and gin (gross!) and I would have a Pavlovian barf reaction every time I would smell it. I wanted to like it though. Gin drinks are sophisticated and have cool names like the Negroni. Then last summer at the Roger’s Cup, they were pushing a gin based drink called Pimm’s and it was yum. I like to go to the Roger’s Cup and not so much watch tennis as hang around in the tent and drink cocktails. I developed a taste for gin sort of but it only lasted for part of the summer, I forgot about it after Labour Day. It seems like its one of those Waspy rules where not only that you can’t wear white after Labour Day, you have to switch from gin to scotch. Then last week, my gym buddy Michelle Hunt invited me and my friend Lorraine to an event that featured cocktails with Hendrick’s and hosted by “the sexiest man alive”. How could I say no to free cocktails and a hot guy? Michelle and her partner, Laura, own the Martini Club http://www.martiniclub.com/ in the heart of the Distillery District. They cater events and also do the recipes for the LCBO magazine, totally a dream job! Last night they had a cocktail party featuring Hendrick’s gin http://www.hendricksgin.com/ and their mixologist , Xavier Padovani. There is something to be said about European men, they’ve got all the mojo. The party had a very glam 1920s vibe. We started with what looked like tea (there’s that gin and tea thing again) but was really mulled gin with cinnamon, cloves, and pineapple juice…so gin is not just a summer drink, it was delish! Then we went on to something called Smash….move over mojto….the Smash is similar but with gin, and replaced the mint with basil. We also had a martini with cucumber and lemon. Hendrick’s gin is infused with cucumber which makes it unique and interesting. Cucumber and booze have a perfect symbiotic relationship because cukes are so watery and fibrous, they also work well in the morning as slices over the eyes to reduce puffiness. I think I had 4 Smashes and I don’t remember the other drinks, and I am hoping the recipes will be featured in an upcoming LCBO magazine.
Here we are, The Bon Vivants: Michelle, Xavier, and me
And as all great parties do, it hopped in a cab and went across town to Barchef http://www.barcheftoronto.com/ a fantastic martini bar on Queen West at Augusta. Now I know I blog about east end neighbourhoods but I do go outside of my box for time to time. And speaking of my box, the mixologist (Frankie) had his share of mojo. Here he is in action all fired up, mixing something:
I had to sit in front of a 50 pound bar of ice to cool down. We had more drinks made of Hendrick’s, they take their cocktails pretty seriously here. Everything is hand squeezed and painstakingly mixed together. By the second cocktail, Lorraine and I were so crazed we ordered a beer. You can only consume so much exquisiteness in one evening. And I was walking around with a giant grain of sugar stuck to my nose. We were drunkity, drunk, drunk but you know, I woke up this morning and was clear and perky. Must be the cucumber in the gin!! It was the funnest night and I would like to thank our hosts. And for sure I am going get me a bottle of Hendrick’s today, but this time I won’t mix it with tea, maybe just some soda and lime.