Monday, December 16, 2013

Courvoisier - The Extravagant and Unforgettable Experience

An Unforgettable Evening with Courvoisier Cognac
(photos by: Binzento)
It’s been a while since I last posted. I’ve been putting all of my energy recently towards my study, and barely had any time to attend events. But the good news is that hard work definitely pays off – I am finally done my grad school!

Tonight’s post is really long overdue (and I apologize), but I still would love to write about it because it was one of the most unforgettable experiences I had in the last month before my thesis defense. Courvoisier, the French cognac loved by Napoleon Bonaparte, had gratefully invited me and few other writers to attend an extravagant cognac tasting evening. It was a celebration of Courvoisier’s history in cognac making and the best of YYC’s uprising restaurant industry.

Stop 1: Candela:

Began at the Candela Lounge, Courvoisier welcomed us with the Crab Apple Sazarac cocktail, which consisted of 1 oz Courvoisier VSOP, 1 oz Cointreau, muddle preserved crab apple with 1 oz of Canadians’ favorite maple syrup, 2 lemon wedges 3-4 drops bitters add spirits.
Not an experience cognac drinker, I really had to pace myself as I was told the entire evening would be total Courvoisier theme. Even the food was infused with Courvoisier spirits. In addition, we got an opportunity to taste its VS, VSOP and XO. My favorite was the VSOP, as I found its acidity was optimal for my taste buds and surprisingly smooth to sip.

For food, Candela prepared us bite size delicacy: Malpeque Oyster in a Courvoisier VS shallot mignonette, Pan seared pork tenderloin with Courvoisier VSOP apple chutney and Courvoisier VS macerated chocolate covered strawberries.

Stop 2: Yellow Door:
As the night goes on, we were picked up by a limo to our 2nd destination Yellow Door Bistro inside Hotel Art for dinner. This portion of the evening I got to experience the versatility of Courvoisier cognac in fine dining. For the signature cocktail pairing with our appetizer, we were given the Courvoisier Salted Caramel, which consisted of 1.5 oz Courvoisier VS, 0.5 oz apple juice, 0.5 oz salted caramel simple syrup, 4 dashes of Christmas bitters, 2 dashes black walnut bitters, dehydrated apple crisp and caramel salt as garnish.
For the main course, it was the Bonaparte Martini, which had special black walnut bitters and honey cardamom simple syrup flavors.  The Courvoisier Blueberry Tea served with our desert at the end however, was something truly special. The drink was served hot, which was something I had never drink before. The tea’s bitterness not over powering the fruitiness of the blueberry flavor, and also balanced out the ultra sweetness of the chocolate desert. It’s a wondering pairing indeed.

Stop 3: Model Milk:
The finale to me served the best cocktail drinks of the evening, and I could still taste them in my mouth. Model Milk Restaurant’s David specially created us cocktails that were not available for the general public. It was indeed a very special treat for all of us. The Smoked Grapefruit Courvoisier Sour was THE best (and I am not exaggerating) cocktail I ever had. I couldn’t tell you all the details as David told us that this drink took him approximately two weeks to prepare. The rich smokey flavor was almost like something you would taste at a campfire. It’s truly amazing and I wished I could have another, AND another soon.
The other drinks that were prepared for us at Model Milk was called the Sidecar, which had 1.5 oz Courvoisier VSOP, 0.5 oz Cointreau and 0.75 oz of fresh lemon juice. Then finally, the cocktail for the serious – Vieux Carre (circa 1937): 1 oz Courvoisier VSOP, 1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth, 1 oz Alberta premium 100% rye, a bar spoon of Benedictine DOM and 2 dash of Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters.
Special thanks to Courvoisier for inviting me to this once-in-a-lifetime and unforgettable experience. Also especially thanks to Andrea Helmer at PRAXIS who flew all the way in from Toronto to take care of us, and to spent the wonderful Courvoisier evening.

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