Hard Rock Cafe have brought out their latest cocktail creations for the Summer season, focusing on the ever-popular Spritz, twisting them with familiar names such as Bombay Sapphire, Jack Daniel’s, Grey Goose and Chambord.
Kick-start with my personal favourite of the ‘Jack and Diane’ that see’s Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 combined with Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and topped with lemonade for a bold hit of whiskey and orange. A close second for me is the ‘Chambord Supernova’ that see’s Chambord blended with St Germaine elderflower and topped with Prosecco, soda and a lemon twist. Rich, refreshing and offers a long finish!
A fantastic Grey Goose offering in ‘Good Limes, Bad Limes’ is available, showing the flavours of St Germaine elderflower, fresh limes, Prosecco and soda, whilst the ‘Thyme Warp’ offers a highlight of the Bombay Sapphire experience with fresh lemon juice and tonic, with a sprig of thyme to bring out the fresh aromas.
The two other Bombay Sapphire creations include ‘Gin Ginie’ that see’s the bolder profiles of Chambord mixed with the British gin and bitter lemon, topped with a sprig of mint, whilst the ‘My Gineration’ focuses on the gin with orange juice, tonic and plenty of orange peel for garnish.
Six refreshing serves, priced between £9.45 and £9.95, served up, if you wish, within a Hard Rock souvenir mason jar (for £11.80) whilst rocking out in the sunshine (or what’s left of it) on their terrace. And if you’ve ever read my previous features on Hard Rock Cafe’s food offerings, you’ll know you can make an afternoon of it!
Jack & Diane with a Guinness Bacon Cheeseburger for me. I’ll see you at the bar.
Grey Goose, the world’s best tasting vodka, will pay tribute to the man who many believe invented the Espresso Martini cocktail at Tales of the Cocktail festival by live-streaming events in New Orleans and London simultaneously
GREY GOOSE, the world’s best tasting vodka, will host a trans-Atlantic celebration of the life of legendary bartender, Dick Bradsell, with Swift bar in Soho, London and specially curated pop-up bar, Le Café de Nuit in New Orleans. Taking place on Thursday 20 July during Tales of the Cocktail, the world’s premier cocktail festival, the celebrations will focus on the Espresso Martini cocktail, a now worldwide classic which Bradsell reportedly invented, when a supermodel asked him to make her a cocktail
Dick Bradsell, the man who was nicknamed ‘The King of Cocktails’, sadly passed away last year. To celebrate his legacy, GREY GOOSE is inviting cocktail enthusiasts from both sides of the pond to raise an Espresso Martini cocktail to the man and join in the parties which will be live-streamed between the bars at 1pm-3pm in New Orleans and 7pm-9pm in London.
At Swift, the statement cocktail bar from the team behind award-winning Nightjar and Oriole, Bradsell’s daughter, Bea, will host the evening with all funds from the sales of the Espresso Martini cocktail going to The Benevolent, the drinks industry charity.
Joe McCanta, GREY GOOSE Global Brand Ambassador, said: “Dick Bradsell was an industry icon, who changed and revived the London cocktail scene; setting a new standard which all ambitious bartenders strive for. This celebration is simply a way for GREY GOOSE to remember the man behind the Espresso Martini cocktail, which has become one of the most iconic cocktails to date.”
GREY GOOSE, The World’s BestTasting Vodka, has unveiled a limited edition version of its iconic bottle in time for summer, exclusively in partnership with Harvey Nichols this month.
The GREY GOOSE Limited Edition Rivieria bottle celebrates the brand’s French heritage and has been designed to transport your senses to the sparkling blue waters and sunny climes of the French Côte d’Azur.
The new deisgn features classic marinière stripes, inspired by the bathing beauties of the Nouvelle Vague, and visible brush strokes reminiscent of France’s Impressionist Movement.
The new limited edition bottle perfectly complements the GREY GOOSE signature summer cocktail, Le Grand Fizz. A twist on the classic spritz, Le Grand Fizz is an elegant blend of GREY GOOSE Vodka, St-Germain® Elderflower Liqueur, soda water and lime, served in a wine glass to accentuate its vibrant nose. Made with only the finest French ingredients, the effortless recipe champions the light and bright flavours of the cocktail’s refreshing ingredients, making it the perfect drink of the summer.
This year GREY GOOSE is encouraging people to live their best summer and has partnered with a number of festivals and bars across the country – alongside a wider calendar of events – including House Festival, Barclaycard British Summer Time, The Mondrian, Restaurant Ours and Harvey Nichols, to offer the classic Le Grand Fizz serve
Between 1 June – 31 August, guests visiting the Second Floor Bar at Harvey Nichols in Manchester can choose from six variations of the Le Grand Fizz cocktail – the original Le Grand Fizz, La Poire Grand Fizz, L’Orange Grand Fizz, Le Citron Grand Fizz, Black Raspberry Grand Fizz and an exclusively designed Hibiscus Grand Fizz. For every GREY GOOSE Limited Edition Riviera bottle purchased instore, guests can enjoy a complimentary Le Grand Fizz cocktail at the Second Floor Bar, redeemable with proof of purchase until the end of May.
The new GREY GOOSE Limited Edition Riviera bottle has launched in partnership with Harvey Nichols and will be available exclusively for one month at all Harvey Nichols stores nationwide, retailing at £48.00.
GREY GOOSE LE GRAND FIZZ RECIPE
Craft your own original Le Grand Fizz signature serve, or substitute Grey Goose Vodka with Grey Goose La Poire, Le Citron or L’Orange flavoured vodka for a twist.
35ml GREY GOOSE Vodka 15ml St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur Freshly squeezed lime (2 wedges) 3 wedges of fresh lime 60ml chilled soda water
Build in an oversized cabernet wine glass with lots of ice. Add Grey Goose vodka and St-Germain. Then squeeze fresh lime wedges and discard. Top with chilled soda water. Stir and garnish with fresh lime wedges and a Grey Goose stirrer
In the single most ambitious project to be held at London Cocktail Week since its inception in 2010, Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands and Patrón Tequila will bring 24 of the world’s best bartenders to London to host a 24-hour international bar clash and crown one city The World’s Best.
With a project that pits four of the world’s most exciting cocktail capitals against one another, spearheaded by the global elite of the bartending world, Bacardi Brown-Forman and Patrón Tequila cement their commitment to leading brand advocacy with bold and innovative brand activations.
Some of the most prestigious bars from New York, Paris, Singapore and London will be united under one roof for the first time to compete in 24hr Bar Build. The four city teams will be tasked with developing a cutting-edge new cocktail bar concept inspired by one of four world-renowned spirits; Patrón Tequila, GREY GOOSE® vodka, BACARDI® rum and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin.
Led by some of the drinks industry’s most well-known talent, teams will take complete control of their bar concept: from designing the space to leading the physical build and inventing an inspiring new cocktail list. Teams will also be tasked with driving awareness on social media in the lead up to the event.
An expert team of judges will award marks for creative concept, quality of cocktail list and social media buzz, with consumers having the final say as each team vies to attract the most sales when bars open for one night only at London Cocktail Week on Saturday 10 October.
This innovative project is presented in partnership with London Cocktail Week.
4 cities. 24 bartenders. 4 teams. 24 hours. Which city will be crowned The World’s Best?
Guest writer Keeley Watts experienced once of my spirit evenings a few weeks back. Take a look at what she thought of the expressions I had on offer;
Most drink related events in the North West tend to take place in Manchester City Centre. This is great for me as I live there so can just wander out but I know friends who live in the suburbs really struggle to get to some of them. Quick to recognise this was The Drinks Enthusiast who joined forces with Hale Grill for a spirit tasting with a difference.
We started with a chat about what spirits we liked and disliked. Lucky for me I had tried all the spirits Dave brought to the tasting but it was lovely to listen to others in the group who had never been to an event like this.
Dave started with Grey Goose vodka and the fascinating story of Sidney Frank. Frank was responsible for the promotion and development of Jagermeister in the States which, was huge, and decided he wanted to hit the market currently enjoying Absolut vodka. He was originally beaten by Belvedere being recognised as a premium brand. Not deterred he upped his game and decided to search for a brand in France rather than the more traditional vodka producing countries of Russia and Poland. He found an excellent base in winter wheat which gives the vodka a smooth and light taste ideal for sipping. The product has ‘slow legs’ in the glass showing no sugar has been added. On the nose are notes of butter and almond with this buttery taste coming through on the palate. It is sweet and smooth; so unlike any other vodka I have tried.
Up next was a personal favourite of mine, Portobello Road gin. Now I like gin, this isn’t a secret. But then it comes to a sipping gin I prefer something smooth and slightly sweet with no spikiness. That is exactly what you get from Portobello Road which was brought to us by Jake Burger, Gerard Feltham and Paul Andrew Lane. Juniper is quite heavy on the nose as is lemon anise and liquorice. The liquorice is prominent on the palate too which is likely to be thanks to the cassia bark, coriander and nutmeg used in the distilling process.
A whiskey followed with Monkey Shoulder. I’m not a fan, the flavours just don’t work for me but if you are thinking of trying whiskey for the first time, this is definitely one to start with. It is a blend of whiskeys from Speyside and other none whiskey drinkers in the room described it as incredibly drinkable. Dave had a few converts on the night!
Last but most definitely not least was Old J spiced rum. Formulated by Tom Hurst in 2009 who tried 60 varieties to find the perfect blend, this rum is delicious. Butterscotch and slight honey aromas on the nose yet toffee, vanilla and lime are prevalent on the palate with a gentle spice kick.
Hale Grill has launched their new summer cocktail and invited us to try one of two cocktails featured. I chose the honeyed rum daiquiri which blends honey, lime and Old J spiced rum. A classic this is slightly sweet with the lovely toffee flavours coming through from the rum. I also got to try the apple, mint and raspberry cosmopolitan as other guests ordered this on the evening. Stoli raspberry, Cointreau, mint and apple juice gives a fresh twist to the classic cosmopolitan whilst the mint provides a lovely freshness.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening and a feast for the senses, it was really interesting to hear what beginners thought of the spirits neat. All are readily available at your favourite bar in the City but this just goes to show that you don’t need to venture too far to get your fix.
Guest writer Rowan Molyneux attended one of my spirit based events last week, taking advantage of learning about some of the venues most favourite spirits to offer;
On a grey Tuesday afternoon, I hopped on a train heading out of Piccadilly towards a part of Greater Manchester I’d never explored before. Well, technically Greater Manchester, though being just on the outskirts, Hale feels far more like Cheshire, darling.
My trusted wingman Ruby and I were off to The Hale Grill, part of the Blackhouse family, for ‘The Spirit of Hale’: an evening of tasting spirits and mixing cocktails. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it..! Rocking up at the venue, it immediately struck me as somewhere I’d love to bring the in-laws. Classic, good quality décor, a warm welcome, and a relaxed atmosphere; yet all of these paled in comparison to the Portobello Road gin and Fever-Tree tonic which was handed to us on arrival, garnished with an elegant curve of lemon zest. These guys know how to do things right. Already a fervent Fever-Tree convert (I have been known to wax lyrical to my long-suffering friends about the importance of good tonic water), Portobello Road gin was new to me, but I soon discovered how its soft citrus sweetness worked perfectly in this simple drink.
Before long, we were invited upstairs to the private dining room, where nibbles were served: chicken satay skewers, extravagantly tentacled calamari, little fishcakes and remarkably tasty spring rolls. This glorious array would have rather derailed most groups, but we had our eyes on the prize – a tantalising array of bottles lined up at the front of the room. We were told that we were going to sample four spirits, each available at the bar downstairs.
A Drinks Enthusiast-led tasting session, Dave poured us all a generous slug of Grey Goose vodka, and gave us a brief history of the brand. Only widely available in the UK since 2001, this French vodka was the brainchild of Sidney Frank, who wanted to create a premium vodka, sippable and luxurious. Frank decided on France as the origin of his vodka, touring distilleries and wineries – it’s alright for some, eh? – and thoroughly immersing himself in the alcohol culture which has such a long and excellent pedigree. Grey Goose uses soft winter wheat, which gives it a smooth, creamy quality. Those of us who are familiar with drinking cheap supermarket voddy (oh, those heady student days!) will be delighted to know that Grey Goose does not have the harsh burn which many of us are familiar with, instead lending a delicious warmth. Members of our group with particularly well-trained palates identified a hint of fresh green apple, accompanied by a suggestion of almonds and butter. Though I’m no sommelier, I put all of my palate training to the test, and thought I got a faint sense of dried apricots hidden away in there. All in all, a delightful vodka, and one I hadn’t experienced before.
For our second spirit, we took a trip back to our earlier g&t, this time sampling the Portobello Road No 171 London Dry gin without the Fever-Tree tonic. In addition to the pre-requisite juniper, Portobello Road featured lemon peel, bitter orange, orris root, liquorice, angelica root, nutmeg, cassia bark, and coriander seeds. A pleasantly citrus-forward gin, the liquorice adds depth but is not intrusive, and the coriander rounds it all off with a slightly peppery finish.
Next up was Monkey Shoulder, a blended whisky. The unusual name comes from an injury (thankfully, now confined to history) frequently suffered by workers shovelling grain all day, whose repetitive lifting motion would lead to a one-sided stoop. Charming! The whisky itself was smooth and light, intended as a gateway to the whisky world. Sweet in a typical Speyside fashion and very accessible, this whisky launched in 2005 and has been converting non-believers ever since. I’ve been assured that it absolutely sparkles in a cocktail.
The last of the spirits, we came to a particular favourite of mine: Admiral Vernon’s Old J Spiced Rum. Technically a rum-based spirit, as it only weighs in at 35%, it is nevertheless outstanding in its category. So full of vanilla, toffee, honey and cinnamon, this sweetness is balanced by the ever-present lime. A historical character, Admiral Vernon enforced a reduction in the strength of the rum ration received by his crew. When the men complained, he implemented the addition of lime and spices, to create a deliciously palatable drink which more than made up for the loss of ABV. Perfect with all of your standard rum mixers – rum and coke, rum and ginger, rum and Ting, rum and milk! – this remarkably versatile spirit works with them all. Their newly launched overproof version, Tiki Fire, 75.5%, rocked my world the other week at the Northern Restaurant and Bar show. Keep your eyes peeled for it in bars around town.
Four spirits sampled, and lots of fascinating info absorbed! But the night was not over yet. We trotted downstairs to the bar, where we were presented with a choice of two cocktails: An Apple, Mint, and Raspberry Stoli Cosmopolitan, or an Old J Spiced Rum and Honey Daquiri. Well, Ruby and I decided that the only sensible thing to do was order one of each and share. The Cosmo was beautifully delicate and freshened by the mint, while the Daquiri was remarkably piquant, its potentially heavy sweetness lifted by a whole load of lime. Some of our group even decided to step behind the bar and mix their own cocktails under the expert eye of the bartender; a highlight of the night, and an experience which The Hale Grill actually offers to the public in their Cocktail Master Classes.
Ruby and I also decided to explore the cocktail menu a little further; well, it would have been rude not to! I ordered a Black Forest Martini which was possibly the most decadent cocktail I’ve ever had – the cream float layered over a sea of deep purple fruit liqueurs was insane – and Ruby decided on the Sloe Gin Crush. How can you say no to a combo that involves sloe gin, elderflower and passionfruit? Both were elegantly presented and tasted fantastic. If these cocktails are tempting you, get a new skill under your belt by learning to make them yourself! You can book in on a Cocktail Master Class in a private area of the restaurant and practice making your choice of classic cocktails in a lighthearted environment, under the expert tutelage of professional bartenders.
The Hale Grill are currently in the process of revamping their cocktail menu for the summer months, bringing in some light, refreshing, seasonal treats, and for those of you who fancy something hoppy, they have a frequently rotating beer menu, featuring some of my old favourites – Thornbridge Wild Swan, anyone? They also have an extensive wine selection for you grape fiends.
Thanks to Kerry of The Hale Grill for her hospitality, and to Dave for talking us through a great selection of spirits. A fantastic evening, and one sunny afternoon I’ll definitely be making the short train ride back out to Hale to sample their new summery cocktails. Cheers!
GREY GOOSE® presents GREY GOOSE Le Fizz Gift Box for Christmas
GREY GOOSE, the World’s Best Tasting vodka, presents the perfect Christmas gift for discerning vodka drinkers – the GREY GOOSE Le Fizz Gift Box.
The GREY GOOSE Le Fizz Gift Box contains a 70cl bottle of GREY GOOSE vodka, two beautifully designed crystal GREY GOOSE Le Fizz flutes with a frosted finish and lone goose detail and the recipe for making a GREY GOOSE Le Fizz, the ultimate celebratory cocktail.
GREY GOOSE Le Fizz is an elegant and refreshing combination of GREY GOOSE vodka, fresh lime juice and elderflower, served in a flute topped with chilled soda. A cocktail guaranteed to add a touch of sparkle this Christmas.
GREY GOOSE Le Fizz Gift Pack is available to buy from Selfridges in London, Birmingham, Manchester and online for £65.00.
GREY GOOSE Le Fizz Recipe
GREY GOOSE’s signature cocktail is an elegant and refreshing combination of GREY GOOSE vodka, fresh lime juice and elderflower, topped with chilled soda water.
35ml GREY GOOSE vodka
15ml bottlegreen elderflower cordial
15ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
Top up with ice-cold soda water
Shake and double strain into a flute and top up with ice-cold soda water
GREY GOOSE WINTER BALL
To Benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation
Saturday 10 November 2012, London
GREY GOOSE, the World’s Best Tasting Vodka, is set to host what has become one of the most hotly anticipated event of the international social calendar: The sixth annual GREY GOOSE Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation on Saturday 10 November 2012. Some of the most renowned characters from the worlds of film, fashion, food, art and music will come together in London, combining their unique talents to create an exceptional Grey Goose Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
This year’s Winter Ball will see one of London’s most iconic venues, Battersea Power Station, beautifully themed around a scene from a 1950’s Côte d’Azur summer. A firm favourite amongst the style leaders of London, the Winter Ball has previously taken inspiration from a Chateau in Cognac to a five-star Biarritz hotel, to the rooftops of Paris. This year, it will evoke the dreamy elegance of the south of France, a favourite region of Sir Elton John and David Furnish, during its glamorous heyday; pastel colour palettes palm trees and poolside sophistication will be the talk of the evening.
Hosted by GREY GOOSE and the Elton John AIDS Foundation attended by Sir Elton John and David Furnish, the Winter Ball aims to raise funds for the Foundation, with which GREY GOOSE has enjoyed an eight-year partnership. To date, the ball has raised in excess of £2.3M for the Foundation, supporting a range of hugely significant and worthwhile projects in Cambodia, Africa and the UK.
Each year, GREY GOOSE invites a handpicked selection of character partners to design a unique lot that is auctioned at the Winter Ball past years have seen names such as Elizabeth Hurley, Giles Deacon, Patrick Cox, Christopher Bailey, Theo Fennell, Eva Herzigova, Lily Allen, Christian Louboutin, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lily Cole, Sam Taylor-Wood and Gavin Turk create bespoke cocktail bars that encapsulate their personality and style. Fashion designers Roland Mouret and Jonathan Saunders have donated one-off cocktail dresses and artist Marc Quinn last year contributed a bespoke commission of one of his most iconic Iris canvasses
This year, for the first time, the GREY GOOSE Winter Ball character partners have been invited to lend their creative talents to designing a portable cocktail bar that reflects their individual character. One of most renowned photographers, Ellen von Unwerth, famed for capturing some of the world’s most beautiful women and one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Fashion Icons, will be taking up the challenge. She will be joined by international fashion designer Gareth Pugh, who is celebrated for his outlandish designs exploring structure, light and dark, as well as Karim Rashid, one of the most prolific designers of his generation, honoured with over 300 awards and with more than 3,000 designs in production.
Guests on the night will be treated to an exquisitely prepared dinner by two Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze. Sharing the GREY GOOSE passion for the finest French ingredients and absolute dedication to taste, Hélène is the toast of her hometown, Paris. Having cut her teeth working under Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Hélène now leads the team at The Connaught in London and will be serving up her signature sublime cuisine to the delight of guests at this year’s ball. Hélène follows in the footsteps of the worldrenowned El Bulli and Marcus Wareing, both of whom have previously served unforgettable menus for the GREY GOOSE Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
A long-standing tradition of the GREY GOOSE Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation is the creation of a collection of unique cocktails by the character partners involved. This year, GREY GOOSE ambassador and taste expert Joe McCanta will work with each character to weave their favourite flavours and taste sensations into a perfectly conceived drink that represents them.
The GREY GOOSE Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation wouldn’t be complete without a spectacular musical performance: following the dinner and auction, the award winning singer and songwriter Emeli Sand will collaborate with producer and musician Labrinth to offer guests an unforgettable show.
Tickets for the GREY GOOSE Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation will be available to buy from ejaf.com with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the Elton John AIDS Foundation. (Charity registration no 1017336)
DISCOVER YOUR PERSONAL TASTE IN COCKTAILS WITH THE WORLD’S BEST TASTING VODKA
Grey Goose, the World’s Best Tasting Vodka, is bringing an innovative campaign to the UK this Summer, aimed at helping cocktail lovers discover how to select a
cocktail that is perfectly suited to their own personal taste. Every person has a unique taste profile, with a different reaction to each of the five elements of taste: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. In the same way that coffee drinkers know whether they like their latte ‘extra hot’, ‘skinny’ or ‘triple shot’, Grey Goose aims to give cocktail drinkers the vocabulary and understanding they need to be able to discover a cocktail that is just right for them.
Running from May until July, Taste by Appointment will introduce two tools designed to educate cocktail lovers about how to ensure the best possible drinking experience: Taste by Appointment consumer events and GreyGooseTaste.com, a website dedicated to helping users find their perfect cocktail.
Taste By Appointment
Throughout 2012, Grey Goose UK Brand Ambassador Joe McCanta is hosting a series of fascinating consumer events at some of the finest locations across the country, the first being held at the Gilbert Scott on 6th & 9th of May. Carefully tailored with a personal touch, Taste By Appointment will ensure that everyone from the cocktail connoisseur to the occasional drinker will discover something about their own personal taste and perfect cocktail choice to match.
At each event, guests will be welcomed with a Grey Goose Le Fizz reception and a selection of delicious canapés, before being guided through a series of exciting and surprising taste experiments. With Joe’s expert assistance, each guest will learn how to identify their own personal taste and create bespoke cocktails to match, before enjoying a personal taste consultation, during which they will have a cocktail constructed that is perfectly suited to them at that moment. Every guest will leave with a fuller understanding of how to order a cocktail that they can feel confident they will enjoy.
GreyGooseTaste.com will be the online home of Taste By Appointment where cocktail lovers can discover everything they need to know about the campaign, from downloading cocktail recipes to booking tickets for Taste By Appointment. The site will feature a web application that guides users through four simple questions in order to discover their personal taste. A cocktail perfectly suited to them at that moment will be generated from more than 300 exquisitely balanced drinks designed by Grey Goose’s taste experts.
Also on hand are a series of films featuring top tastemakers, each of whom has a fascinating story to tell about their passion for exceptional taste and their relationship to one of the five different elements of taste:
Sweet is showcased by Gerard Coleman, founder of Artisan du Chocolat; Sour bu Jonathon Downey of TheRushmore Group; Bitter by Henrietta Lovell, founder of the Rare Tea Company; Salty by Simon Mulins, founder of Salt Yard, Dehesa & Opera Tavern
and Umami by Richard Turner, head chef at The Hawksmoor.
Taking place across a number of iconic venues in the UK, Taste By Appointment is a unique opportunity to discover something new, with the help of some inspiring Tastemakers.
If you know me personally, or have followed my journey since the beginning, it’s no secret that one of my favourite vodka brands is Grey Goose. There’s not many brands in the world that I don’t like to be fair, each liquid has its own unique trail, but Grey Goose is one that sticks in my mind as the first premium level vodka I ever had the chance to experience almost 8 years ago. I’ve worked with the brand in nearly every bar or restaurant I managed, and I am more than happy to promote their activities and expressions through my work with Drinks Enthusiast. So you can imagine my delight when I recently had the chance to visit Le Logis, the home of Grey Goose!
Although I’ve already covered Grey Goose on my site before, It’s always good to attack the brand at a different point, as the trip to the Cognac region of France would put a lot of perspective on what I write for your (hopeful) viewing pleasure. So I’ve scrapped my original piece, and replaced it with a more thorough insight into the life of Grey Goose.
Over 100 km away north of Bordeaux, the small commune of Juillac-le-Coq in the Charente department of south-west France now houses the home of Le Logis, a Grey Goose home so-to-speak that is now open to teach the journey of the brand. The Château sits upon a hill overlooking the vineyards and sunflower fields, with baking sunlight touching every part. Perfect atmosphere then for a Grey Goose Le Fizz, a blend of St-Germain elderflower liqueur, freshly squeezed lime juice and soda water, chilled and ready for your arrival. The idea behind a trip like this is to unwind, relax and ultimately soak up the surroundings in the peaceful commune. A couple of hours can fly by with a bicycle ride through the vineyards or exploring the village, returning to the private pool complete with a Grey Goose bar offering a variety of simple Grey Goose creations such as Grey Goose La Poire and tonic.
Fresh food served up by the pool caps the day off, with a selection of canapes followed by lamb chops with thyme, beef bavette with confit shallots, large prawns with garlic, parsley and aniseed alongside marinated and grilled vegetables. A selection of regional cheeses follows, with small desserts including pear and Grey Goose in a chocolate shell, caramel toffee tart and raspberry and green aniseed macaroon amongst others. To finish the evening off, espresso and Grey Goose cocktails amongst company, which for this trip included London lifestyle media as well as drink based journalists.
Waking up to a sun shining view from your window is a sight that will etch in your memory for ever, as will the fresh croissants, pain aux chocs and brioche available in the kitchen quarters for breakfast. An early morning start on the Grey Goose timeline, effectively from grain to bottle, starts with the Grey Goose Maître de Chai François Thibault. François, alongside Global Brand Ambassador Ludo Miazga. Talking within the Le Logis vineyards, François talks about how he grew up in Cognac where his father was a wine-grower. With such a passion within the family, he trained to be a Maître de Chai (effectively referring to the person in charge of the vinification and aging of wines) from a fairly young age, training in the regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy until receiving the title back in 1992. Since then, he worked for cognac distilleries including H. Mounier before meeting a gentleman named Sidney Frank, an Europe to America liquor importer for which François created the cognac Jacques Cardin along with other cognacs and brandies.
It’s here in 1996 that Sidney Frank approached François about an idea to create a premium vodka.
Once back in the walls of Le Logis, François explains that he took on the recommendations of French pastry chefs, utilising three local farmers in Picardie, northern France for their harvest of soft winter wheat. The harvest is a 9 month cycle, with the longevity in the soil creating a better base ingredient for Grey Goose. After harvesting, the wheat is taken to Saint-Quetin, a town not too far away from the wheat fields, and is stored within silo’s, moistened and rested for a period of 24 hours, humidified to remove and impurities since the harvest and then milled through metal rollers to create flour. Once they have their milled grain, it is added to a metal tank (lauter tun) for fermentation, wherein the starch will break down into sugar. Hot water is added to the flour within these tanks, with cooler water later added to break down the larger molecules, followed by the introduction of a yeast strain. The fermentation process happens over 6 tanks, making sure that all the glucose turns into alcohol.
Distilled 5 times in continuous columns soon after the fermentation process creates a spirit at 96.3% abv. It is then transported to Gensac, south-west France, where Grey Goose have their own purpose-built blending and bottling plant. Just outside the bottling plant, a well can be found which houses ‘pure’ water 40 metres below the limestone ground. To become the perfect water, it is demineralised by reverse osmosis which involves it being pumped through tubes at very high pressure through a ceramic membrane. The membrane stops any of the larger molecules (residue, sedimentation etc) from passing through, therefore leaving only pure water. It is then filtered through charcoal before being blended with the 96.3% abv spirit and bottled.
Grey Goose was launched in 1997 (the UK in 2001) to compete with the expansion of Belvedere in the US, and by 2004, Sidney Frank accepted a rumoured $2.4bn for Grey Goose by Bacardi. Not a bad journey in seven years by François and Sidney!
Of course, no Grey Goose tutorial would be complete without a chance to sample and experience the range –
Grey Goose – 40%
A clean nose with a slight mix sweetness as well as subtle nut and pepper gently arising. A smooth palate with cracked pepper, liquorice and butter with a lingering aniseed flavour. Creates a rounded finish.
Grey Goose L’Orange– 40%
Uses the natural essence of 1 kilogram of fresh oranges per 1 litre of Grey Goose. A deep, rich aroma of ripe orange with lots of freshness on the nose. Very smooth as it hits the palate, with a burst of flavour and a long finish.
Grey Goose Le Citron – 40%
Using the essential oils from the zest and peel of lemons from southern France. Very fresh and zesty with a lemon meringue aroma making its way around the nose. Light and subtle on the palate, with a long mouth-watering finish.
Grey Goose La Poire – 40%
Using fresh maceration of pears harvested 300 km north of Cognac. Strong and sweet combines on the nose with lots of fresh, juicy pear aromas. Short and sweet on the palate, but full of bold flavour when it hits.
Grey Goose Cherry Noir – 40%
Harvested Basque black cherries from a small village in western France. Fresh, deep nose of cherry. Rather floral, with a sweet finish of cherry bakewell. A sweet start on the palate, with sharp hits of the cherry that grows to a light, fragrant and slightly tart finish.
Grey Goose Le Melon– 40%
Uses Cavaillon melons from the south of France. A rich, fresh melon aroma on the nose follows boldly onto the palate. A long, sharp flavour of the ripe melon flavours comes through, creating a soft, dry finish.
Grey Goose VX (Vodka Exceptionelle) – 40%
Launched in July 2014. A blend of 95% Grey Goose and 5% Cognac created from grapes from the Grande Champagne cru that is slightly ageed.
Light on the nose with a distinct cognac fragrance. Soft, white grape and wheat producing a floral honey aroma. Soft on the palate, subtle hints of the cognac coming through, with developing aromas of white fruits blended with wheat. A lingering finish.
One the vodka experience is wound up, lunch on the La Terasse is served, before more hours to wind away before a cocktail masterclass hosted by Ludo Miazga himself.
Housed within Le Logis is a newly refurbished bar, perfect for demonstrating three classic Grey Goose serves –
Grey Goose French Mule
50 ml Grey Goose Le Citron
1/2 Fresh lime
Fever Tree Ginger Beer
Squeeze the lime into a copper mule and drop half in. Add good quality ice cubes and pour in both Grey Goose and ginger beer. Garnish with a lime quarter and sliver of ginger.
Grey Goose Dry Martini
60 ml Grey Goose
10 ml Noilly Prat Dry
1 Dash of Orange Bitters
Fill a shaker with ice and add the Noilly Prat. Stir to coat ice and strain out. Add Grey Goose and bitters, if desired, and stir well. Strain into a chilled Martini glass. Present with a lemon twist.
Grey Goose Le Fizz
35 ml Grey Goose
25 ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
20 ml Fresh Lime
70 ml Soda Water
Hand squeeze lime into a large wine glass. Add al of the ingredients, top with cubed ice and stir.
All three serves can set you up nicely for the last evening meal, a more formal sit down occasion. A starter of gravlax salmon, Saint Moret cream cheese with Grey Goose L’Orange, followed by beef wellington, sauteed chanterelles and confit shallots with baby carrots kicks of proceedings perfectly, accompanied by a choice of red or white wine. Cheese plate served on a piece of cognac barrel, with a finish of a chocolate sphere, roast apple with a pastry cream and Grey Goose vodka capped the evening, and trip off perfectly.
The trip to Le Logis and to discover Grey Goose first hand is a fantastic opportunity which looking back at it, I’m now more confident at delivering Grey Goose showcases when using the brand within my work. To meet someone like François Thibault, who has single-handedly, and still to this day, created Grey Goose and its flavour expressions is a real honour. The energy that Ludo has in presenting the aspects that Grey Goose offer is shows why he is the man to represent the brand all over the world, and to see it in the new home of the Grey Goose experience, Le Logis, the 17th century property restored by the brand since its ownership in 2012, really makes the trip worthwhile.
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny the legacy that Grey Goose has carved out, and with the experience it can now show first-hand, I’m sure it can re-establish, or even convert many a persons thoughts on this French brand.