Thursday, 24 November 2016

Orchid Aberdeen: Winter menu preview

It doesn't take a lot for me to agree to go for cocktails. Ask my friends, it really doesn't. So when I was invited along to Orchid Aberdeen's winter menu preview there was no chance I was missing out...

Heading down to the bar one chilly Thursday evening, we were greeted by the bar team, and bar manager, Nick Gordon, and welcomed into the cosy, modern bar with open arms. An avid customer of the bar, and almost boredering regular status, I immediately felt at home.

Split into three different stations, the event was goign to showcase the new menu, cocktail mixology and gin tasting. Naturally, and on cue we all formed into smaller groups and headed to our first stations. Gin tasting it was.

Brand Ambassador of Porter's Gin, Sean Moggach, talked us through the history of gin, explaining the journey of gin since the 19th century, and chatted about how the team at Porter's ended up where they are today. After two years of trial and error and a solid gin recipe featuring 12 botanicals under their belt, the trio behind the Scottish gin created what Porter's is today, a delicious, zesty London Dry gin.

With a distinct understanding and appreciate of time and taste, the team behind Porter's managed to create what they see as the ideal London Dry style of gin which can be used in any drink - liquid gold to any bartender. By using exotic fruits like Buddha's hand and pink peppercorns, Porter's offers the market something very different. Sean also told us the stories (and fables) of Old Tom and commented on the popularity, and the accessibility gin boasts.

Sampling Porter's Gin, and the type of gin people used to drink back in the 19th century, its safe to say gin has come a long way in appealing to the palette.
Moving on to the second station we were invited to have a wee chin-wig with Nick, chatting all things cocktails and the concept behind the new menu launching this month.

After an inspiring visit to New Orleans, and learning about concepts carried out in the US, Nick was keen to put his new found knowledge into practice. He wanted to remove the stigma that seems to be the opinion of many that there is nothing to do in Aberdeen.

With a menu consisting of eight different spirits and drinks, the concept is simple...order a drink which is associated with an Aberdeen landmark, visit that place, take a selfie, post the photo on social media, return to the bar to collect your special badge and repeat again for the seven other drinks/locations. Once you've collected all the badges (and all the selfies), return to the bar and you will receive the honour of having your name printed on the next cocktail menu - pretty cool huh!? Not only is there the chance to have your name printed on a cocktail menu, you're also visiting a number of the cities landmarks and expriencing places you may have never been before.

The locations include;
  •  Porter's Lock-in. You guessed it, it features Porter's gin. (Religious Robbery)
  • 13 King Street. This drink has whisky in it due to the location being the old headquarters for whisky giants Chivas Regal back in the day.
  • Fittie.  Due to its connections with the sea, Fittie is the perfect place to associate this drink which features rum with...(Honey Rider)
  • Aberdeen Beach. A cocktail with a twist on a daiquiri - white rum features.
  • Duthie Park. The Beerlini - perfect on a summers day...
  • Music Hall. £1 from every cocktail made in association with this cocktail is donated to Meningitis UK
  • Secret Location. Grab the infamous Pink Orchid right there in the bar. They couldn't make it any more obvious if they tried...
  • A local bartender who cannot be named for the purposes of fun and mischievous games, is also on the list of selfies to gain - I cannot wait for this person to find out who they are, and I'm delighted I guessed it right! My lips are sealed for now though...
The bar will also offer six bottled cocktails that are non-perishable on its new menu. These cocktails will also be available for delivery straight to your door through food delivery company, Deliveroo.
 Grapefruit cordial, salted Campari and topped with lager - a twist on a traditional bellini, but with beer instead of prosecco

Religious Robbery
Porter's Gin, a spiced pineapple syrup, coconut juice and a dash of Dr Adam Elmegirab's Teapot Bitters.

Honey Rider 
Mango infused rum, grapefruit oleo saccharum and Dr Adam Elmegirab's Orinoco Bitters. 
Fun fact: This is an Old Fashioned style drink which was named after the first ever Bond girl.

Last but not least, we were treated to a mini cocktail masterclass with Matt. To begin with, he fixed us up a refreshing daiquiri and talked us through the history behind the infamous drink and sours. Educating us on sours and how they are the most accessible drink, we learned about the first bartender to write things down, Jerry Thomas, and how he began creating drinks lists - now drinks menus. We then learned about Jennings Cox who established the daiquiri which was very interesting too.
Next, he put our cocktails skills to the test, getting us to make our very own Pink Orchid. A signature drink of the bar, and the only drink to have managed to secure a spot on every menu since the bar launched in 2009, the Pink Orchid is a must-try. Smooth, sweet and extremely delicious I can highly recommend this drink.

Pink Orchid
Vanilla Vodka, Raspberry Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, Lime Juice, Sugar Syrup and Egg White.

As a group, we were tasted to create our own sour cocktail which was extremely fun. After tasting, smelling and a lot of debating, we decided on our very own Beauregarde sours. Created with Porter's Gin, violet liqueur, lemon juice and agave, the cocktail tasted exactmly like parma violets, hence the connection with Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We got so excited by our creation that we also came up with the perfect place to associate the cocktail with - Aberdeen's very own Botanical Gardens. Sadly we didn't win the cocktail competition, but this cocktail was a winner in my eyes. I'd actually sampled something quite similar at the Butchershop in Glasgow, so was pretty impressed with the drink. (You can read my review of The Butchershop here).
To finish the evening off, we were then treated to some cheese and meat platters which went down great with everyone. A little merry to say the least, everyone was excited about the addition of food into the mix. It may have been nice to have some food whilst indulging in all the drinks to help soak up some of the alcohol, however I had no issues delving into it after the evening had finished.
A big thanks to the team at Orchid for hosting us, and giving us a sneak peak of what's to come! The new menu launches very soon (mid - end of Nov) so keep an eye out on their social media pages for when it launches.

  For Now...

Just Julia

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