WSWA: Tasting Panel Magazine Judges Dinner at Highball and Harvest
The day before I judged spirits with Tasting Panel Magazine at Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, I got to meet the other judges at a special dinner. Hosted at Highball and Harvest at the Ritz Carlton, Grande Lakes, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed H&H.
We started off with a round of beautiful deviled eggs and moved on to the cocktails.
Our first drink was the Grand Teton vodka with Highball and Harvest’s blood orange “orancello” (like limoncello but with blood orange) plus an interesting addition- dill. The result was quite refreshing.
Grand Teton Vodka drink – Grand Teton vodka, house blood orange orancello, lemon, grapefruit, dill
We also sampled a couple of wines from House of Mandela (yes, from Nelson Mandela’s family) including the Sauvignon Blanc. I like white wines like Sauv Blancs and this was great with the salad.
You can’t be a modern farm-to-table restaurant without a kale salad. H&H’s was wonderful but probably even more so with the addition of bacon. I also enjoyed the toasted quinoa for that extra bit of crunch.
To go with our main entree, we had the House of Mandela Cabernet Sauvignon which went well with our steak.
The skirt steak was perfectly cooked medium rare and served with potato puree (mashed potatoes!).
For a faintly tropical drink, we had the Atlantico rum with house falernum and Cointrea. It could be called neo-tiki or perhaps the perfect sipper for South Florida.
Atlantico Rum drink – Atlantico private cask, housemade velvet falernum, Cointreau, lime, orange
For someone who doesn’t have a sweet tooth, I surely do love chocolate and chocolate cake is a particular weakness. Highball and Harvest has a good one served with stewed cherries, butter pecan crumbles
We weren’t done with the cocktails yet. Moving on to the cognac drink with Kelt Cognac. It got fruity with spiced pear liqueur though it wasn’t a juicy drink. It was definitely closer to a stirred drink despite the addition of lemon. I was still eating cake at this point and appreciated that bit of spice to counter the sweetness.
Kelt Cognac drink – Kelt VSOP cognac, spiced pear liqueur, cacao, raspberry, lemon
And we ended dinner with a sip of Mandarine Napoleon, aFrench liqueur made with cognac and Mandarin oranges.
It was quite the dinner and fortified us for the spirits judging the next day.
- Cocktail Competition Winners and Recipes
- Understanding the Three-Tier System
- Judging 100+ Spirits with Tasting Panel Magazine at WSWA
© The Minty 2015