One of the challenges in being an introverted, semi one-woman* show for 2shots is the need to find time for myself (and family and close friends) so that I could chill out and recharge. I feel that listening to what my body needs is essential to my mental health, and it’s not a bad thing for me to disappear off the face of the earth (or events!) from time to time.
That’s how I spent this week, and looking back on the week prior, it was unsurprising that I needed a break:
Martin Miller’s Gin Masterclass
Granted, I had one of our partners Jean Park attend this one, but as I’ve said in a previous post, I find that a fresh pair of eyes (and palate!) keeps things interesting.
According to Jean’s research during the Masterclass, Martin Milller’s Gin began with Martin Miller and his two close friends David Bromige and Andreas Versteegh. Miller, after quietly stirring his gin and tonic, promptly announced that he wished to create his own gin, which he envisioned to be the world’s first premium, very unique, non-craft (to keep the consistency) quality gin that has a broad appeal and would be something that can be drunk neat.
Keeping in mind that the original name of Martin Miller’s Gin was actually Martin Miller’s Reformed London Dry Gin (hint: clue is in the name!), they armed themselves with a vision to revamp the Gin scene.
“Our aim was very simple: What we wanted to do was to redefine gin… To create a broader spectrum or church of consumers, so young people would drink it, but old people would think that, ‘Oh, this is still a really nice gin!’.” – David Bromidge
The three friends began to do various tastings with young up-and-coming bartenders and some older sommeliers. During one tasting, Miller saw a bottle of citrus vodka and a bottle of Gourdon’s Gin on the kitchen counter and decided to create a cocktail. The cocktail was a rousing success in the blind tasting and all following blind tastings after that. This was the beginning of Martin Miller’s Gin.
It was during this exercise that they realised Scandinavian vodka usually had a particular softness and sweetness to it that, in combination with Gordon’s Gin, created what they thought of to be the ideal gin. It had the right balance of citrus, juniper, and softness.
The next two years were spent trying to create that particular combination without the use of glycerin. They thought of using Icelandic water because they have seen what the water could do in the creation of vodka. They discovered that Icelandic water gave the gin a unique property and through its higher surface tension, and exactly the characteristics of the gin they wanted.
This meticulous research and trial and error is something that Bromidge attributes to luck and the right opportunities. “We got lucky in lots of ways… It’s the best gin ever made by accident,” said Bromidge.
Presently, Bromidge mentioned an ongoing project with ageing using the solera system in Iceland, and the use of different vessels.
Another must-try is the Martin Miller’s Westbourne Gin, which was conceptualised in response to the clamour to have gin that gives a more flavourful experience. It’s a more earthy gin with peppery notes from the cassis, and has a higher ABV at 45%.
Jean recommends the Martin Miller’s Gin as a Gin and Tonic (the event had a pretty yummy cocktail made with dehydrated strawberries), the Westbourne Gin slightly chilled or on the rocks.
Opihr Global Cocktail Competition 2019
Nothing makes one feel old than seeing an old student compete in a bartending competition, whose cocktail was inspired by his wife (and child).
That’s what I thought to myself as I attended the Opihr Global Cocktail Competition.
Opihr (pronounced “o-peer”) Oriental Spiced is a gin brand that takes the drinker on a journey through the ancient spice route with its exotic botanicals, which includes cubeb peppers from ancient Malacca, Telicherry black peppers from India, cumin seeds from Turkey, juniper from Italy, coriander from Morocco, and oranges from Spain.
Having said that, it was pretty cool what the contestants came up with, keeping in mind the rules of using Opihr Gin as a base and introducing local elements to the mix. The contestants and their cocktails were:
Josiah “Ji” Agumat (Versus Barcade) – Nostalgia, Jeremy “Auie” Benisano (Raffles Makati) – The winning Floradora, Arnulfo Calvo, Jr. (The Peninsula Manila) – Minorca, Ralph Canonoy (New World Manila Bay) – TeaPache Colada, Karl del Rosario (Sofitel) – Singkaban, and Loreen Hernandez (Solaire Resort) – Classic Piña Colada with a twist
Benisano went on to compete in Hanoi, Vietnam.
World Food Expo – Wofex 2019
It was a blast going through Wofex 2019, this time with my husband Chad, who looked to understand the industrial side of the food and beverage industry for his business.
Highlights included catching up with my longtime friend (and WSET classmate) Chef Gene Gonzalez during his Meet and Greet with Masflex Kitchenware, discovering Havva Brew Tea and fancy Turkish-style teacups, reacquainting myself with several craft beers from different local brewers, and messing around with food and drink pairings from the delicious meats we saw in the USDA booth (they were selling some of the meats at a marked down price during the event, and were telling us where to source them… Turns out, some of their best meats are found in our neck of the woods, South Supermarket!).
End of part one, watch out for Part Two: Inside. 😉
*So grateful for the people on the 2shots team, don’t get me wrong! 😉
Photos of the Martin Miller’s Gin event courtesy of Jean Park