Saturday, December 6, 2014

All Present at a Craft Cocktail Class: Diageo Reserve World Class at The Curator

An intimate evening with some of the finest spirits prepared by the very best...and one awesome experience with Diageo Reserve World Class at The Curator.

Launched in 2009 globally, Diageo Reserve World Class has become the industry's most renowned and respected mixology program and competition in the world. Now close to its third year in the country, Diageo Reserve World Class hosted an interactive media cocktail tasting and mixology master class in partnership with The Curator, the winner of the World Class 2014 Bartender of the Year competition.

Walk past the wine racks at Cyrano Wine Cellar, and you'll find an unmarked door.  Beyond the unmarked door is The Curator, one of the metro's best kept secrets, and your gateway to some of the best craft cocktails. A day before their first anniversary, The Curator and Diageo Reserve World Class held an intimate mixology master class...

Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador Hannah Waters (L) teams up with The Curator's Jericson Co (C) and Yoma Rivera (R), the reigning World Class 2014 Bartender of the Year for the intimate cocktail tasting and mixology master class.

Diageo Reserve Luxury Portfolio brands spearheaded the class, with Don Julio Tequila and Tanqueray No. TEN. Regarded by many as the best luxury Tequila brand in Mexico, each bottle of Don Julio Tequila is handcrafted and made from 100% pure, blue Weber agave plants from the Jalisco region. For the evening's cocktail tasting, we sampled three Don Julio Tequila variants, starting with the Don Julio Tequila Blanco, with its distinct clear color. This is tequila in its purest form, with crisp and light citrus notes for a refreshingly clean, sharp and dry finish. Great on its own, and equally versatile for a variety of cocktails.  
The Don Hulio Tequila Anejo, barrel-aged for eighteen months, has a light amber color with smooth, full-bodied flavors. The more complex flavors are perfectly balanced with layers of agave, lime, caramel, honey and just a hint of butterscotch coming into play in every sip. Aged in white oak barrels, the flavors have a noticeably rounder note and velvety smoothness, with subtle layers of sweetness and a whisper of spice for that classic finish. Enjoy it neat in a snifter or simply on the rocks, or in one of many classic cocktails, the Don Julio Tequila Anejo offers complex yet balanced notes that's just perfect for a variety of cocktails.    
Barrel-aged for eight months in white oak barrels, the Don Julio Tequila Reposado has a glowing golden hue, with a playful range of citrus, apple, vanilla, cinnamon, and smoky notes. The finish is rich and silky smooth, capped by a subtle layer of deep chocolate notes. The flavors are elegant and refined, classy and sophisticated. The deep and bold flavors have that nice woody and smoky hint that leaves a lasting impression. Treat her right, and she'll treat you well in return. Disrespect her, and forcing it too fast and she'll hit you right back. Nice.  
Dubbed as a global favorite among the world's best bartenders, the distinctive blend of ingredients gives Tanqueray No. TEN an exceptionally smooth, clean, and refreshing taste. "The fresh citrus flavor of this super premium gin, according to many of the world's top bartenders, made Tanqueray No. TEN the gin that redefined the Martini," shares Hannah Waters.  Named after Tanqueray's number ten still, the small still was used exclusively for experimental runs and smaller batches. Tanqueray No. TEN was one of those successful experiments, hence the name. The premium gin includes an impressive list of flavorful botanicals, including juniper, coriander, angelica, licorice, fresh white grapefruit, lime, orange, and camomile flowers for that distinct citrus note.

Jericson Co begins the class with basics and fundamentals of the classic cocktail. At the very core of each cocktail concoction is the philosophy of "making something better than the sum of its parts." Bear in mind that each cocktail has three components, the base spirit, modifier and the accent, and it's the proportion and blend of these three components that can make or break your cocktail. And as Jericson Co says it, "life's just too short for bad alcohol." And the class goes into high gear as Hannah Waters and Yoma Rivera join in for the first round of drinks.

In between rounds, always a good idea to line up your belly with some pork. And The Curator's got that covered pretty well, with plate after plate of crisp and tender lechon.

As the first batch of cocktails are prepared, Hannah Waters shares the credentials, rich history and flavor profiles of Tanqueray No. TEN and Don Julio Tequila, just some of the premium brands under the Diageo Reserve luxury portfolio. Some of the world's best spirits and the best handcrafted cocktails come to life, up close and right in front of you. 

The first round starts with the exciting Blood and Sand, a smooth blend of Singleton Glen Ord 12 , orange juice, sweet vermouth, and cherry liqueur. The brightly colored cocktail is a visual cue to the intense flavors, the sweet and tart orange juice, sweet vermouth and cherry liqueur are balanced by the deep and smoky notes of the Singleton. Off to a good start, and there's more...

The classic Martini, perfectly crisp and dry with Tanqueray No. TEN, dry vermouth, and Angostura bitters. Some say this is the only American invention "as perfect as the sonnet", and while the "shaken, not stirred" debate is far from being settled, one can't deny the drink's exalted place in cocktail lore. Clean with refreshingly sharp notes, this one gets you in the groove in no time.

The iconic Margarita, with Don Julio Reposado, lime juice, and Cointreau. I remember trying this cocktail for the first time way back in high school, thinking a drink named after a girl should be light and easy...but this can be deceptively temperamental. Over the years, you get to appreciate the balance of sweet, sour and salty notes rounded out by the deep elegant tones of the premium barrel-aged tequila. A good tequila is the only way to have a good margarita. And this one hits the spot.

The Rob Roy, a smooth blend with Johnnie Walker Platinum, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters, just the drink after a long day. It's an honest, uncomplicated cocktail, with the base spirit carrying the cocktail for that burn and bite at the back of your mouth with just a hint of sweetness to round out the flavors.

An Old Fashioned with a unique spin, the Tequila Old-Fashioned, a blend of Don Julio Reposado, sugar syrup, and bitters. As many of you know by now, the classic Old-Fashioned is a personal favorite. The deep, rounded flavors and smoky notes of the Don Julio Reposado give this cocktail a comforting familiarity, yet another sip tells you this is new and different. The subtle hints of citrus, vanilla, and chocolate notes play in your mouth. And I'm liking this cocktail...

Then, with the basics in my head and a light buzz, it was time to make my own cocktail. My inspiration comes from my favorite cocktail, the Old-Fashioned. Following up on the Tequila Old-Fashioned, I thought of giving it a sweet spin. The subtle hints of vanilla and chocolate made me think of honey to further bring out the sweetness, and Yoma suggested I round out the cocktail with a dash of chocolate.  Honey and chocolate for a Tequila that's an idea. I think even Don Draper would approve...

After preparing the right proportions, adding the honey syrup, two dashes of the Chocolate Mole Bitters, topping it with ice all the way to the top and stirring it just right, I then carefully squeezed an orange peel to release the orange essence. My very own Old-Fashioned was ready. The sweet nutty notes of the honey and chocolate paired well with the smoky Don Julio Tequila Reposado, so well, I quickly made another. And another. And you can try it yourself...

My Own Old-Fashioned:
60 ml Don Julio Reposado
10 ml Honey Syrup
2 dashes of Xocolatle Mole Bitters
Garnish with an orange peel

And just in case you're in the mood to whip up a few more cocktails, here are the complete recipes for the featured cocktails from Diageo Reserve World Class and The Curator. Cheers!

Blood and Sand
1 oz Singleton Glen Ord 12
1 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Cherry Liqueur

Build, add ice, shake and fine strain into chilled glass.

2 oz Tanqueray No. Ten
1 oz Dry Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Garnish with lemon or olives

Build in your Boston, top with ice, stir and strain.

1.5 oz Don Julio Reposado
1 oz Lime Juice
0.5 oz Cointreau
1/4 Sugar Syrup

Build in your Boston, top with ice, shake and regular strain. Salt rimmed glass optional.

Rob Roy
2 oz Johnnie Walker Platinum
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Build in your Boston, top with ice, stir and strain.

Tequila Old-Fashioned
2 oz Don Julio Reposado
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup or 1 bar spoon sugar
3 dashes bitters or soak the sugar

Add sugar and muddle (if granulated) into your old-fashioned glass. Add ice, 1 shot of spirit and bitters. Stir to dilute, add more ice then finish with the other shot of spirit.

The Curator is located inside Cyrano Wine Bar, 134 Legaspi Corner Don Carlos Palanca Street, Legaspi Village, Makati or call +63-916-355-4129 for inquiries.

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits, beer and wine categories. These brands onclude Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan's, Windsor and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray, and Guinness. For more information about Diageo, you can visit their website at 

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