Fine & Rare Restaurant and Bar © WhereNYC
“The book was inspired by my time living by Venice Beach,” guest author Kat Odell said of her cocktail recipe book Day Drinking: 50 Cocktails for a Mellow Buzz. Beautifully edited, it tells a personal story full of happy memories with friends. Like the 19th century French food author Brillat Savarin extolled “the pleasure of table”, Ms. Odell’s book also seeks to recreate the ‘laid back, low-key’ nostalgic moments in the company of others.
Themes of taste memory, compatibility and seasonality summed up the Domaine de Canton cocktail launch at the mixology-themed restaurant Fine & Rare in Midtown, where some of New York’s most creative bartenders came to showcase their own personal cocktails using the French-style, ginger-infused liqueur.
With a meticulous attention to detail, right down the flowers or herbs used to garnish the drinks, each mixologist brought a unique personality with every cocktail.
Inspired by a Second World War era tiki-style drink known as Suffering Bastard whose roots go back to the British army in North Africa, St. John Frizell’s The Monty Buck, was an absolute winner. With a splash of Domaine de Canton, Laird Apple Brandy and El Dorado 5-year rum, it was both bold and refreshing without being too sweet.
Made in the French tradition of marrying Eau-de-vie with Vietnamese ginger, Domaine de Canton is incredibly adaptable. The tropical style cocktails included Le Nonne Blanc by Lynnette Marrero of Llama Inn -a mix of Domaine, champagne and Zacapa, a Guatemalan sugarcane-based rum. Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, it had subtle note of ginger. There was, however, a slightly peculiar cough syrupy aftertaste which took over.
Porchlight barman Nick Bennett’s Lunazul tequila-based cocktail, The Dr. Ian Malcolm, combined classic tequila and citrus flavors, but for my personal taste, I would have liked a little kick of chilli.
My Fellow Traveller had a summery Northern Caribbean feel, which according to Orlando, was a nostalgic summer-on-the-porch cocktail with a clever hint of lemongrass. Sterling’s Warm Embrace made with Apple Cinnamon tea, Apple cider and Domaine de Canton was deeply fragrant and warming, perfect for a cold, wet rainy day.
Nostalgia and comforting aside, there were bold, challenging cocktail creations that really pushed boundaries. Young Kim’s Ginger Brenne House bravely incorporated a smokey single malt scotch with citrus juice. Not for the faint-hearted, it delivered a burst of an Orange-Crush like fizziness, but it oddly worked very well.
Finally, Gates Otsuji of the Standard Grill delivered his Day Dreamer, a gingery martini, an eclectic concoction reflecting Gate’s own mixed background of Italian, Scottish and Japanese descent. Its simple garnish of marigold flower gave a nice earthiness, but the martini was a bit too sweet.
The beauty of Domaine de Canton lies in its versatility. Whether with tequila, rum or whiskey, the ginger-infused liqueur can take on big flavors or serve as a perfect accompaniment with its delicateness. Even after the party began to wind down, the buzz continued as the guests happily chatted over their cocktails. Like Kat Odell said about her book Day Drinking, good drinks with friends create warmth and happy memories.
For upcoming events or mixology classes, visit Fine & Rare.