Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hendrick's Gin Limerick Safari 2009
coverage, photos and limericks by Kylee Van Dillen, The Liquid Muse Girl Friday

Everyone really loves Gin
To drink it is never a sin

Hearing limericks all night
On a tour bus packed tight
Is how a perfect event should begin!

The fun-loving folks behind Hendrick’s Gin are never without a whimsical event for their loyal gin lovers, and the “Limerick Competition” of 2009 was no exception! Last Fall, cities around the country hosted individual limerick competitions where contestants would deck themselves out in full Victorian “Steampunk” garb and make an original Hendrick’s cocktail…while reciting a limerick, of course. February 15th, the winners flew to Los Angeles for the finals. On "Competition Eve," these talented mixologists were treated to a “Cocktail Safari” tour of fine LA’s bars—each serving up delicious libations made with Hendricks’s Gin!

The night began at THE STANDARD HOTEL in Downtown LA, lead by delightful Hendrick’s Grand Ambassador Charlotte Voisey, the charming Jim Ryan of William Grant USA, and hosted by the ever-present MC Billy Harris. Upon boarding a glamorous tour bus filled with eager drinkers, several decorative cucumbers and a stripper pole to boot, the crew set out to their first destination, the BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL, and so the boozing and schmoozing began!

Billy was Safari leader during the long drive from Downtown to Sunset Boulevard, leading the expedition into the “wilds” of Los Angeles as he described all the locations and scenery they were about to encounter on the tour. Introductions were made, and the crowd marched into the hotel ready for fun! The classy was
décor, the music was refine—and everyone dressed to impress, notably local bartenders Marcos Tello and Eric Alperin of The Varnish (who’s “Pickled Pig” cocktail made it into the finals!) in their shiny shoes, strapping suspenders and fedoras who shook up a round of Classic Hendrick’s Cocktails—Hendrick’s Gin served straight up, in a martini glass with a cucumber garnish, of course.

The group finished their cocktails down to the very last drop and buzzed with anticipation for their next liquid treat. Popular STK restaurant on La Cienega hosted a fancy sit down dinner and of course, more Hendrick’s cocktails! The long table was adorned with many mini-cucumbers, pink roses and candles, glowing in a fun, sexy and totally Hendrick’s spirit.

STK's head mixologist Pablo Moix served his own “Roses and Yellow Jackets," a refreshing martini made with Hendrick's Gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, homemade Clover honey syrup, egg whites, and topped with Angostura bitters. Like a table of excited children, everyone tippled about, sharing personal introductions, reciting limericks from the big book and en
gaging in classic cocktail conversations with 'The Modern Mixologist' Tony Abou-Ganim and Milagro Tequila Ambassador Gaston Martinez. The eager sippers enjoyed a second round of cocktails during dinner and dessert (a delicious trio of chocolate sweets!) The aptly named “755 La Cienega” after the locations address, was a cool combination of Hendrick's Gin, Aperol, Fresh Mint, Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice, Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice, and just a little touch of Peychaud's Bitters—the perfect after dinner drink.

After the belly-filling meal and palate-teasing drinks, the crowd was thirsty for more! The tour bus took a short drive down the street to COMME ÇA, a French inspired restaurant famous for its gourmet charcuterie and classic cocktails. Head bartender Joel Black conjured up the perfect liquid intermezzo with his “Remembrance of Jerry Thomas” cocktail, a bright combination of Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germain, Bitter Truth Bitters and a dash of juniper/fennel red wine vinegar. For those in need of a second round Joel shook up a special “Coriander Collins” featuring Hendrick’s Gin, lemon juice, soda water and homemade toasted coriander syrup.

The bus ride from West Hollywood back to Downtown LA was just long enough for everyone to catch enjoy their fuzzy feelings before an after dinner delight at THE DOHENY. Monday nights are “Secret Mondays” at this private venue—a DJ was spinning great music and the Hendrick’s crew mingled amongst the full bar while GM Steve Livigni and head bartender Daniel Nelson batched up an “Eastside Fizz” for everyone made with Hendrick’s Gin, cucumber (of course!) mint, lime juice, simple syrup and just enough soda for the “fizz.” The visit was brief because time flies when the Gin is flowing and there was one spot left on the Safari to explore before bedtime...

After a long night of limericks and libations, (and swinging on the stripper pole) there was no better way to unwind than 7 GRAND while resident Whisky wiz kid John Coltharp took action. An expert on the malted spirits, his Gin skills were just as impressive! The night ended with a perfectly crafted trilogy: “Bee’s Knee’s” made with Hendrick’s Gin, fresh lemon juice and Clover honey syrup, an “Alaska” stirred up with Hendrick’s, Yellow Chartreuse, and orange bitters, and the go-to classic “Martinez” with Hendricks Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur and bitters.

It was a long and Gin-charged night
But the Hendrick’s crew sure slept tight

Feeling so warm and fuzzy

With a Hendrick’s Gin buzzy

Tomorrow they would compete just right!

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