Way back in late March (Monday the 20th to be more precise), we were invited to attend an “Esteemed Members of the Media” gathering at Center City Philadelphia restaurant Aldine, where Boardroom Spirits, makers of B Beet Spirit, would be premiering C Carrot Spirit, their latest and greatest eau de vie style spirit made from 100% Real Carrots. Since Limpd couldn’t make it due to work commitments, my partner in crime at this event was our dear friend Rick. As expected, everything that we ate and drank at this delightfully casual event revolved around C and carrots. Here’s all that was on offer…
When we first arrived, we were greeted with samples of C which were served in long-stem eau de vie glasses that were topped with pretty little glass caps which I assume were being used to keep all of C’s aromas contained. The cap must have done its job because upon removing it, we were immediately hit with the aroma of freshly grated carrots, and a taste that reminded us of a very good Silver Tequila. While I would love to tell you more about the spirit itself, we’ll save our detailed tasting notes (Limpd needs to weigh in on this stuff!) for a future post which will include our attempts at cocktailing with C. For now, all I can say is that C Carrot Spirit made a very good first impression.
After our brief introduction to the spirit on its own, we moved on to trying the Classic Cocktail variations that Aldine’s bartender pulled together. Here’s the man in action…
For our first round of cocktails, Rick and I ordered the C-Sour and the C-Collins. While waiting for our hand crafted cocktails, we were treated to several unique carrot creations from the Aldine kitchen. One of the first things that we sampled was the Whole Wheat Bread and Carrot Butter. You wouldn’t think that something with such a mundane sounding name would be loaded with flavor, but let me tell you, it really was. The hearty pieces of fresh baked bread and creamy/savory/lightly sweet carrot butter went really well together. I found myself going back for that and all of the other bite sized snacks over and over again. With food that looks and tastes this good, you would do the exact same thing!
While the Whole Wheat Bread and Carrot Butter was a binge worthy snack that would be a welcome addition to late night drinking sessions at The Barthenon, the one dish that impressed us most was the Carrot Custard with Smoked Carrot Relish. Did I mention that all of the dishes served during this event were 100% vegetarian? You would never know it when you tasted this Carrot Custard because the Smoked Carrot Relish that was sprinkled on top tasted just like smoked salmon.
After that first round of snacks which helped get us ready for a couple rounds of cocktails, Rick and I went back to sampling our drinks. The winner of the first round was the C-Collins thanks to it’s subtle hit of ginger which added a little heat that went perfectly with all of the carrot-centric snacks. The C-Sour was no slouch, but we found it to be a bit too tart for our liking.
As is usually the case at events like this, at about the mid-point, our hosts from Boardroom Spirits (owner Marat Mamedov) and Aldine (owners George and Jennifer Sabatini, and head bartender Zeq) spoke briefly about where they drew inspiration for everything that we were eating and drinking. Words like “locally sourced” and “sustainable” were used often, and based upon the quality of everything that we ate and drank that night, I firmly believe that these people are committed to using the best of what’s available in their products, and whenever possible, sourcing those ingredients locally.
While I enjoy hearing about all of the work that goes into making a finished product (How It’s Made is always in the rotation at our house), most times, these talks tend to go on for a bit too long. Thankfully, Marat, George, Jennifer, and Zeq kept the lecturing to a minimum which allowed for more one-on-one conversations throughout the rest of the night. More importantly, it left us with more time to try the other cocktails and dishes while chatting with a few of the attendees and our hosts.
For our second round of cocktails, we ordered the C-Rita and the C-Gimlet. Here’s what the finished products looked like:
Based upon taste alone, picking a winner between these two drinks isn’t that simple as both were deliciously tart and refreshing. Now if you just happen to be the type that would put a gun to my head and force me to pick a winner (as a native Sicilian, I can appreciate such extreme measures), I’d have to go with the C-Gimlet, but only because it was oh so pretty (and photogenic as hell!).
As we worked our way through our second round of drinks and tasty vittles, we managed to get some one-on-one time with Marat and Zsuzsa (Marat’s wife and co-owner of Boardroom Spirits). They gave us a bit more background about their products and mentioned other spirits that they currently have in development. We also talked about the cocktail possibilities for spirits such as B and C. Although it was a very short conversation, Marat and Zsuzsa came across as two highly knowledgable and very approachable people that love what they do, and that love to share their enthusiasm for what they do with anyone that will listen. We’re hoping to pay a visit to their Lansdale distillery very soon.
In case it wasn’t obvious in the words and photos up above, we had a superb time with the good folks of Boardroom Spirits and Aldine. Under normal circumstances, drinking on a Monday night isn’t usually the best way to start the work week, but when the food, drink, and company is this good, we’ll always make an exception and venture out to partake in the boozy fun!