Nolet’s Gin Dinner at FIG
I was invited to a spirits dinner with Nolet’s Gin at FIG a few weeks back. We first mingled sipping on Nolet’s Dry Silver Gin martinis and Raspberry Collinses while enjoying heavy appetizers including oysters, mini pork banh mis and more from Chef Ray Garcia.
Carl Nolet Jr, 11th Generation Distiller, was on hand to describe the gin. His family has been in the distilling business for over 300 years and is perhaps best known for Ketel One Vodka. Carl’s father Carolus H.J. Nolet Sr. told his sons one day he wanted to create a gin. The father and sons came up with Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin and Nolet’s Reserve Dry Gin. The first is ideal for mixing while the later reminded me of a fine whiskey- meant for sipping.
Nole’s Silver has elements of Turkish rose, peach and raspberry. The only thing that defines gin is juniper. In Nolet’s gin, the juniper is faint but not gone. It stands up well with the other botanicals.
FIG’s head bartender Tavis Alexander paired the dinner with his signature Nolet cocktails.
First we had the Mandarin Fizz (Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin, lemon, mandarin tangerine, egg white, simple syrup, orange bitters) which was a nice, light drink to go with Chef Ray’s amuse of things he found at the Farmers’ Market that day.
The amuse bouche’s creaminess matched well with the Mandarin Fizz.
FIG has renamed this beet cocktail from We Got the Beet to Beet me Loud (Nolet’s Silver Dry gin, beet juice, apple syrup, absinthe spray). I’ve been enjoying beet cocktails lately. Is it the latest trend? Whatever it is, fresh juice is here to stay.
The earthiness of the gin and beet went well with the gin and citrus cured trout with cucumber, sea beans and basil.
Our main course was chicken from Rosie’s Petuluma Farms. Besides the breast, we also got the crispy chicken skin. It was a bit of a deconstructed dish. I actually preferred the dark meat (as always).
Our final cocktail was the Palisades Coffee (Nolet’s Silver Dry gin, espresso, cream, chocolate bitters) which was a great choice to go with dessert.
The Sticky Root Beer Pudding was served with a tiny root beer and anise float on the side.
My favorite drink was the Beet Me Loud which is a good thing you can currently find it on the menu at FIG.
We also got to try the Nolet’s Reserve which we first tasted by itself then with a teensiest bit of water. That opened up the gin like it would a whiskey. The recipe is a secret but it is know to have saffron and verbena.
I’ve been playing with the Nolet’s Gin at home and will be posting recipes soon on LA Cocktails. Let’s see how well it plays with Campari. I’m craving a great Negroni right about now!
FIG Restaurant Santa Monica at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel
101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401 — (310) 319-3111
© The Minty 2012
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