Last night I headed to Crewest, a cool little graffiti art gallery/shop tucked away on a nondescript side street in Downtown LA.
I was there with the promise of an interactive gin tasting and tasty cocktails to boot. The evening, cleverly called the English Ginvasion, was sponsored by Beefeater and Plymouth, two iconic English gins owned by the folks at Pernod Ricard.
As I walked into the chic intimate red and purple hued room, I was greeted by staff who guided me toward the bar for a cocktail.
From the three choices available I settled on the Bella Fragola, which had muddled strawberries, basil, lemon, simple syrup, and Beefeater 24 Gin. The drink was dry and refreshing, the tannic tea expressions of the gin still shining through the herbs and fresh fruit.
After mingling and sipping on drinks for a little, we were ushered into the rear area of the venue, where long communal wooden tables were set up with six neatly arranged glasses for our tasting session.
We were greeted by Nick Van Tiel, East Coast Brand Ambassador for Pernod Ricard’s gins.
After a quick introduction to the various distillation methods of gin and a brief history of the spirit, we proceeded to explore the various botanicals which give gins their distinctive flavor and aroma.
Being properly educated on aromas and flavors we dove into the tasting. The first gin showcased was Beefeater with its distinct juniper and citrus peel notes. Nick let us know that the gins had been cut with water to make them more palatable. This made it a bit harder to pinpoint the gin being blind tasted, however I was successfully able to identify five of the six gins!
Just as I thought the session was coming to and end, Mr. Van Tiel informed us that he would be walking us through the steps to make the classic Southside cocktail.
Being familiar with this tasty combination of gin, mint, lime and sugar, I proceeded to shake one up and help others around me more unfamiliar with the drink.
As a final surprise, each of us was given a beautiful set of Cocktail Kingdom bar tools neatly stacked in a canvas lewis bag. Thanks Pernod Ricard!
While none of the information was new to me, the English Ginvasion was a great refresher event to keep gin and its many forms on my mind. It reminded me the that the general public could still use some gentle education on their drinking options. Classics cocktails such as the Southside serve as delicious and approachable introductions into the intimidating world of spirits.
As I walked towards my car I caught eye of this beauty “The Downtown Artist-At-Large.”