Grey Goose Vodka hosted a Taste By Appointment event, an immersive, sensory tasting experience based on cocktail dining exploring sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami flavours through food and cocktails.
Appointment was first launched in London in 2011 and Global Brand Ambassador, Joe McCanta brought the experience to Sydney’s QT’s hotel. The aim of the experience was to help guests understand their personal taste and identify which cocktails suit their palate.
Grey Goose Taste by Appointment*
Three factors contribute to individual tastes, genetic influences, where a person is raised and repeat exposure, Joe McCanta explained.
The first cocktail served was Grey Goose Le Fizz, a refreshing mix of Grey Goose Vodka with St Germain Elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice and topped with soda water. The cocktail acted like a palate cleanser with a well-balanced flavour where the lime juice offset the sweetness of the elderflower liqueur.
Sonoma organic sourdough was served with unsalted Pepe Saya butter to highlight the mild sour flavour. When salt was added, the flavour was enhanced and the experience was a prelude to the rest of the tasting.
Amuse Bouche Plate of Sweet, Sour and Bitter
An Amuse Bouche plate of sweet, sour and bitter canapes followed. The sweet component was a tartlet of salt-baked beetroot, goats curd, beet pepper and spring onions. The sour in the middle was line caught snapper ceviche with lime, red peppers, young coriander, avocado and crispy shallots and the bitter was a purple witlof leaf filled with cured ocean tout, lime aioli, salmon roe and chives.
When guests were asked to raise their hands to indicate which was their preferred option, the response was evenly split across all three flavour profiles.
Sweet is the first taste humans develop when born, McCanta explained. A week after birth, we develop the bitter and sour, the former to warn off poisons, the latter to indicate that food was going off.
Sensory Tasting Experience
Next was an experiment in mixing our own drink using Grey Goose Vodka, soda water, salt, sugar, Angostura bitters and lemon juice them modifying it until it suited our individual palates.
Lemon peel, mint and pepper were also to be used in our cocktails with tips from McCanta about slapping the mint to extract flavour and rolling the inside of the lemon peel across the rims of the glass.
Shiro-kin full blood Wagyu Rump with Anchovy Butter
The main course and the matching cocktail was to explore the umami flavour, the savoury side of taste.
The main dish was Shiro-kin full blood wagyu rumi with anchovy butter, watercress, shallots and horseradish salad. Paris mash and, sautéed mixed mushrooms with river mint accompanied the dish. The meat was cooked medium rare and melted in the mouth like butter with the savoury elements.
Grey Goose Martini a La Truffe Maison
The dish was matched with a remarkable cocktail created by James Wynn-Williams. Grey Goose Martini a la Truffe Maison was inspired by the truffle season, Wynn-Williams explained. Fresh Perigord truffles from Tasmania were finely grated, Grey Goose Vodka added, extra virgin olive oil then cooked sous-vide in a 60°C water bath for 30 hours. The mixture was then frozen to solidify the fat and oil then fine strained.
The cocktail was made in the wet martini style, with 20 ml of Grey Goose Vodka, 20 ml of Truffle Vodka, 30 ml of Noilly Prat and 5 ml of plum vinegar with a Sicilian olive as garnish.
The umami flavours of the cocktail along with the pairing with the beef were simply sensational and a tough act to follow.
Poached Pear Tart with Cinnamon and Anise
The dessert experience was about exploring the three “T”’s, texture, temperature and trigeminal. Poached pear tart with cinnamon and anise was paired with Grey Goose La Poire, served chilled, made from Anjou pears in France.
Bespoke chocolates were served with coffee highlighting the trigeminal effect we experience such as tannins from wine and coffee. The chocolate trio highlighted texture with smooth chocolate, crunch and heat from chilli.
L-R: Loy Catada, Joe McCanta, James Wynn-Williams
After dinner, guests were invited to the QT Lounge for bespoke martinis based on preferred flavours profiles and influenced by the experience. The evening ended with a long time favourite, a perfectly chilled and well-balanced Martini.
The Grey Goose Taste by Experience was held at Sydney QT on Thursday 18 September 2014.
Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved. Photograph marked with * is by Dominic Lonergan Photography. Used with permission.
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