Gin Fling Degustation Dinner @ the NPC

3 September 2016

A Gin Fling Degustation dinner at the National Press Club not only matched the menu with a range of Australian gins but gave the guests a chance to whip up their own brew. They dressed in Gatsby style and arrived for a gin cocktail that set the mood and titillated the taste buds

Now that’s the best way to get any party started, and it did as tables started dinner and then were given the gin mixings with a bottle of natural spirit and fresh punnets of herbs to start the process with little instruction but plenty of options to develop a unique tipple which for the most part filtered down to a pale lemon tinted specimen no doctor would want to test!

There were the mandatory juniper berries, the basis of the original gin that became known for all the right reasons as Mother’s Ruin, then star anise, coffee beans, lemon verbena, lavender and a few other s that seemed anathema to the familiar flavour that is a common garden variety Gordons Gin taste. But it is a fine art that requires sniffing, cracking, muddling and maceration to mix and a whole lot of appreciation for those who make a living out of creating their blends. Our table won the prize with a basil infused version and no effort on my part, and for those who created this tipple I salute your ingenious creation.

 But it was also about food matching where the ‘dirty martini’ was the closest I got to being seduced by a gin based cocktail matched with a masterful King Reef barramundi ceviche with blood orange salt, grapefruit ice, avocado foam and a dehydrated orange and apple salad. Perfect partners and I’ll be asking for that on the regular Press Club lunch menu asap.

The featured gins included a local Canberra Gin, the Blind Tiger, a name that conjures up all kinds of images, Mt Uncle, Four Pillars, Archie Rose, Poor Toms and West Winds. Not names that spring to mind when looking for a bottle but all cleverly mixed in a range of drinks to accompany the five courses  and a Sunday recovery not experienced for many a day.

The guest participation didn’t end until before dessert with a masterclass to blend, create and name a gin cocktail to become Cocktail of the Month for the Press Club bar. And the judges couldn’t separate two so both will be featured.

For those familiar with doing the rounds for cellar door wine tasting, maybe getting to stomp on a barrel of grapes or party at a wine bottling for a good cause, this is the new ‘on trend’ kind of partying you should try. And you’d be surprised just how versatile gin can be other than in the tried and true G&T.