Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Grey Goose Taste by Appointment

Last night I was invited to Grey Goose Vodka Taste by Appointment. It is something I've has my eye on for a while to go to. The events are held in iconic London bars and restaurants, this particular one was to be held at the W Hotel on Leicester square.

Also on this night was the premiere of Katy Perry’s movie. After fighting through the throngs of fans gathered outside the Empire Theatre to catch a glimpse of Ms Perry, I arrived in the Wyld Bar of the W Hotel only to find ourselves with a front row view.

The welcome (and ‘theme’) cocktail for the evening was Grey Goose Le Fizz, a mix of their signature vodka, elderflower and sparkling water; Perrier for optimum ‘carbonation’. This is based on a champagne substitute as it has the same lightness and bubbliness. It tasted delicious, whereas for me those flavours individually…not so hot.

Amazing stirrers...quite hard to drink with them in though
Joe was to be our compère for the evening tasting. In his own words…a loud New Yorker. We started with an intro to tasting, I’m not going to try and recreate – I’ll just give you some of the interesting facts.
11 weeks old in the womb is when taste develops, and aside from your fingerprint taste is most individual thing about you. How many of the tastes can you name? Quick…bitter, salt, sweet, sour and the hardest one to guess umami, which basically means savoury. The thing about umami? It’s scientific name is Monosodium glutamate, but you and I will know this as MSG. So take something with no taste whatsoever (yes McDonalds I’m talking to you) add plenty of umami, sweet and salt…you have not only a winner but an addiction.

One of my favourite quotes of the night? "There's not a child I know that likes black espresso"
We were exploring repeat aversion and how your perception of taste changes over time. Didn’t like beer the first time you tried it but stuck with it right? That’s what happens…hear people say Brussels Sprouts are disgusting? It’s no surprise you don’t like them. So what happens when all these preconceptions are taken away? This is what the night explored. If you are thinking of going to an event, spoiler alert this may give the game away!

Taste profile cards
Part of the tests
We each had a very serious looking tray that looked like we were breaking out the chemistry set…but in a swanky hotel with cocktails…chem chic. The test profile was the first thing we carried out. Eating cubed food that could have been disguised of its true characteristics? Scary. Spraying random flavours into your mouth that could be horrible? Scary. One of these was later revealed as broccoli (which I had chosen I didn’t like when tasting blind. The guy next to me had commented it was celery and this put me off…he swayed my perception as really I love brocolli.)

One of the sprays was flat tonic water. If you have never drank flat tonic water, I advise you not to. It is gross. One of the tastes I’ve been ‘acquiring’ of late is gin and slimline tonic. I have grown quite accustomed so the flat tonic was really disturbing.

Next up (punctuated by cocktails to cleanse the palette) was this little tray. Admittedly I'd seen this before so felt like I was cheating. Taste by Appointment was featured on Channel 4 show ‘Sunday Brunch’, the show with Tim Lovejoy, who I used to love until he sold himself out to Giovanni Rana. Anyway...I knew the green liquid was actually tomato juice so my perception wasn't suspended as it should have been.

The wine gum was the experiment of smell. Hold your nose. Chew a wine gum…do it now… are you back? Keep chewing that wine gum with your nose pinched between your fingers. Taste anything? No? Now release your nose. The mouth floods with flavour. All wine gums are (and other comparable confectionary) is sugar and added actual flavour. Wine gums are a myth and trickery...but also where did the Grey Goose team hide all the black and red ones?!

Next up, the meringue. Smell the doily, to me it smelt like Christmas. While smelling the doily we ate half of the meringue. It tastes good. When removing the doily we ate the other half. What was in the tiny meringue? The equivalent of a whole lemon. Without the sweet vanilla sweet shop smell of the doily it was completely bitter. Your taste perception has been changed by the smell.

We also got to become our own bar tenders and mix Grey Goose cocktails based on what we had learnt about our taste (surprisingly I’m a big fan of bitter tastes…who knew?) This was really difficult trying to get quantities right and mix the 5 distinct flavours into something resembling enjoyment. I preferred to leave it to the experts. Once Joe had finished teaching us all about taste we got to enjoy some of his expertise first hand. He became our own personal mixoligist. This is the recipe he produced for me based on my flavour profile:

  • 50ml GREY GOOSE Le Citron
  • One handful Blueberries
  • One handful Coriander
  • 15ml Fresh lime juice
  • 25ml domaine canton (a ginger liquor)
  • 1/4 chile
  • Garnish with fresh chile and coriander

Uri, the resident mixologist of W Hotel

Joe hard at work
Radioactive for S
S & I cocktail comparison...
...S always seems to win
As well as delicious cocktails we also had some amazing canapés. I was a terrible blogger thinking of my tummy before my camera and most of them didn’t stick around long enough to get photographed. I made a point of getting these beauts.
The chicken liver pate was my favourite
Venison Sausage Rolls
These chocolate deserts were ridiculously good
It was a fantastic evening and I would recommend it. Thank you Grey Goose!

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1 comment:

  1. It's all about the drinks trolley