As some of you may know, Domaine de Canton has been hosting a series of dinners throughout the US to promote their ginger liqueur. These dinners feature a number of courses of food and cocktail pairings, all of which include DOMAINE DE CANTON. They tend to pick some of the best restaurants in each locale, such as Eric Ripert’s La Bernardin in NY.
While dinner and drinks may have been free, all views are my own and unsolicited… It really is good stuff.
Likely due to the success of these outings, the folks at DOMAINE DE CANTON have been consistently adding new cities to this “tour.” I was fortunate enough to be invited to one of these dinners in the DC area. If this wasn’t exciting enough, RESTAURANT EVE, in Old Town Alexandria, was chosen for the DC dinner. To those unfamiliar with RESTAURANT EVE, they feature a daily changing menu based on the freshest and highest quality ingredients they can find. Let me say that they prepare some pretty amazing dishes to show them off, not to mention it is by far one of the best restaurants in the area.
RESTAURANT EVE has two separate dinning areas inside. The first is the Bistro, which is a “standard” a la carte type menu, where you pick and choose the items you’d like to enjoy. Entrees on this side range from $30-40. The smaller Tasting Room features a Chef’s Degustation menu, starting at $120/person for 5 courses and scaling up to $150/person for 9 course.
Another benefit of choosing RESTAURANT EVE for the dinner, is that their Sommelier/”Liquid Savant”/Partner is non other than Todd Thrasher, who some may also know from his speakeasy lounge, PX and recently opened TNT Bar, which features “Rock n’ Roll” inspired cocktails.
Like other dinners, Crystal Fanale, Senior VP of Distribution and Sales, was the on site host, who guided us through the meal and tasting notes on DOMAINE DE CANTON.
Ok enough backstory, let’s get to the good stuff…
Shortly after arriving, my wife and I, and a few other guests, were escorted to the Tasting Room. Crystal Fanale and Todd Thrasher were waiting for us. After a brief introduction, Thrasher made us our first beverage of the night: Canton @172 degrees, a delicious sparkling wine based cocktail, using DOMAINE DE CANTON cooked at 172 degrees over night, with pineapples, bitter orange peels, Graham Beck and Orange Bitters (see recipe at the end). Canton @172 degrees merely set the stage for what was to come.
While sipping on our bubbly cocktails, more guests began to arrive and mingle. Shortly after, hors d’oeuvres began to circulate through the crowd of bartenders, restauranteurs and writers/bloggers. The hors d’oeuvres definitely wet our appetites for the night to come. After getting to know some of the other folks and as our first cocktails began to disappear, we were asked to be seated.
Waiting at our DOMAINE DE CANTON adorned tables, samples of this fine spirit. The idea was for us to get a taste of the liqueur on its own before diving into the additional cocktails utilizing it. Crystal gave everyone a formal welcome, introduced Todd Thrasher and Restaurant Eve’s Chef de Cuisine, Jeremy Hoffman. She then gave us a few tasting notes on the product and encouraged us to enjoy it neat while we look over the menu for the evening….
The first course was Sashimi of Summer Flounder with Eve’s Garden Plums, Crispy Ginger and Genovese Basil paired with “Most of it is from the Backyard,” featuring Canton, Lillet Blanc, Plums, Basil Air and Coconut Bitters.
The sashimi was incredibly fresh and light with great accents from the plums, ginger and basil. Thrasher’s cocktail pairing had similar notes, light and refreshing with creative utilization of the basil and plum flavors. This was one of my favorite cocktails of the evening.
For our second course, Chef Hoffman created Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Carrot-Vanilla Coulis, Shaved Serrano Peppers and Lime Yogurt.
Thrasher made us “It’s Not Ready Yet,” featuring Canton, Barr Hill Gin, Lime Juice, Carrots and Vanilla (see the recipe at the bottom). I love lobster and this was definitely my favorite course. The cocktail really paired well with this one, adding a completely different dynamic to the combination.
The “entree” course was Beaver Creek Farm’s Squab with Virginia Peach, Roasted Onions and Harissa Squab Jus. The squab was cooked perfectly.
Thrasher’s “These Are The Good Times People” made with Canton, Chairman’s Reserve Rum, Bob’s Peaches, Lavender and Peach Bitters was my other favorite cocktail of the night (check out the recipe below). As a predominantly stirred cocktail guy, this one was right up my alley and I loved the combo of peaches and lavender with Domaine de Canton.
Time for dessert: Preserved Leedstown Farm Strawberries with Toasted Brioche and Lemon Verbena Ice Cream, created by Restaurant Eve’s Pastry Chef, Joshua Jarvis. This “lighter” dessert was the perfect way to finish off the meal and was paired by a great dessert cocktail.
This one featured Canton with Canton Preserved Strawberries, Sullin and Ginger Spiked Whey. Thrasher called it “Thanks Josh” as a nod to the preserved strawberries he used from Jarvis’ dessert.
All good things must come to an end…
As the night began to wrap up, we were presented with yet more dessert bites. Thrasher and Chef Hoffman again came out and Crystal did a little wrap up and presented everyone with a DOMAINE DE CANTON tote bag, containing product info and a bottle of DOMAINE DE CANTON to take home. As if my wife’s company weren’t good enough, we got two bottles to take home, since she received a tote as well.
Overall this was a really memorable event. The food was excellent and the service at Restaurant Eve was some of the best we’ve ever had. The ambiance of the tasting room is classy and romantic as were the table settings with DOMAINE DE CANTON and the recipe books. I’m also pretty sure we had some of the best cocktails of the dinner series, thanks to Todd Thrasher’s Canton laced creations. This place was certainly worth the “hype” and should be on your shortlist for DC area restaurants.
Crystal was a natural host, having been with the company since the first case shipped. She sat at our table most of the evening and it was a lot of fun to get to know her and Canton a little bit better.
If you have the opportunity to attend one of these dinners I highly recommend you go, it will definitely be a night to remember. Either way, pick yourself up a bottle of Domaine de Canton and try it, you won’t be disappointed (if so I will gladly take it off your hands).
A few of the cocktail recipes from dinner are presented below. If you are looking for some additional recipes, check out a few of my Domaine de Canton cocktails, as well as the recipes featured on the company’s website.
Before you go…
To help you get started, here are some of the recipes from the evening:
Canton @ 172 Degrees
1.5 oz Canton Mixture (chilled)
5 oz Champagne
In a Champagne Flute add the Canton mixture and top with Champagne. Float the Orange Bitters on Top
1 btl Domaine de Canton
1 Orange Burnt (Cut in half put in oven until skin is golden brown)
1 cup cubbed pineapple
1 cup pineapple sage
Put all in a mason jar and cook at 172 degrees with an immersion circulator for 24 hours
It’s Not Ready Yet
1 oz Canton
.5 oz Barr Hill Gin
2 oz Carrot Ginger Vanilla Mixture
Add all ingredients to a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously until well chilled. Strain into a Serrano chili rimmed Martini glass.
1 pint water
1 Tbs, ground fresh ginger
1 Vanilla Bean Scraped
1 pint sugar
1 Quart Fresh Carrot Juice
In a sauce pan bring water to a boil add sugar wisk until dissolved, add ginger and vanilla and reduce by half. Let cool and add to carrot juice
These are The Good Times People
1 oz Canton
1 oz Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum
1 oz Peach Mixture
4 dashes House-Made Bitters
In a chilled mixing glass, add all ingredients (you can use another bitters, such as Angostura). Add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a coupe. Garnish with 3 Lavender blossoms.
10 Peaches Pitted and Quartered
2 Tbs Fresh Lavender Chopped
.5 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- Domaine de Canton (drinkstraightup.com)
- Restaurant Eve (restauranteve.com)
- Domaine de Canton (domainedecanton.com)
- The Dark Storm (drinkstraightup.com)
- Guardian Angel (drinkstraightup.com)
- Choke the Treuse (drinkstraightup.com)
- Domaine de Canton Cocktails Paired with Dishes from Eric Ripert (manhattanwithatwist.com)