Last night my birthday celebrations kicked off at Grey Goose’s Taste By Appointment, which took place at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen in the City.
I’d known that Taste By Appointment had taken place at other venues including Nobu, Gilbert Scott and The Savoy – but I didn’t know what to expect exactly.
Arriving at the venue, being seated and seeing a tray of vials and glasses was also intriguing. What was Taste By Appointment about?
As Grey Goose ambassador Joe McCanta started to speak, it all started to make sense very quickly.
We were about to embark on a quest to learn about our personal tastebuds through the art of cocktail-making. To say I was very excited is an understatement. All I kept thinking was, this is SO me! And I couldn’t wait to understand more about how I tasted cocktails.
After a glass of Grey Goose Le Fizz and some canapés, we embarked on a couple of experiments.
We studied the five fundamental tastes and we learned how to create our own cocktail formulas at a most basic level, from the solutions in the vials.
Once we grasped the basics, we progressed to the bar. At the main bar, Joe McCanta made up cocktails specifically tailored to our personal preferences.
Using my favourite cocktails as reference: Dirty Martini and Margarita, he made me something that was savoury with a touch of grapefruit and that had an underlying tea flavour.
The cocktail was both familiar and surprising at the same time. The tasting experience involved layers of flavours which encompassed what I love about a good cocktail: a simple drink that is packed with the complexity of a single meal.
At the drinks trolleys, we tested our tastebuds further as we made up our own cocktails.
My cocktail involved Grey Goose, coffee, grenadine, white chocolate and kirsch. Ironically when making my own cocktail, I felt more comfortable going for something very sweet rather than savoury. Mine was yummy but I’m not sure I would order it at a bar though.
I also ended up making only one cocktail because in the name of research, I thought I’d try the Grey Goose La Poire and Le Citron straight-up first.
After Bread Street Kitchen, I headed to Hawksmoor Guildhall for something to eat.
I hadn’t been to any of the Hawksmoors before and I absolutely loved the Guildhall venue. In fact, I just loved being in the City. Isn’t the architecture just stunning?
At Hawksmoor, I had a rump steak and stuck to the Champagne. And for dessert, I was surprised by this!
Our waiter Sam really looked after us. He was so amazing. When it comes to great service, I never take anything for granted. Sam really made our night at Hawksmoor Guildhall. Thank you Sam!
I had also discovered earlier that night, at Bread Street Kitchen, that Richard Turner who is Hawksmoor’s Executive Chef, is also one of Grey Goose’s Taste Makers.
In this video, he talks about Umami which is one of the key tastes we explored. Umami is the savoury taste and can be related to cocktails such as a Dirty Martini.
So another year passes and another cocktail-fuelled birthday is behind me. But this time, I feel somewhat wiser as a result of all that clinking.
What a great night!