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Published on : Saturday, May 23, 2015
The days are getting longer, the temperature is rising, and on the first Saturday of summer, National Gin Tonic Day, Executive Chef Pascal Meynard has partnered with Gin Lovers to create a gin-centric menu that highlights this much-loved drink and turns the traditional menu-creation process upside down – the Chef started with the drinks, and then created the food to match.
Guests are invited to dive into a multisensory universe at Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon where the pairing is done at all levels. Never before has the trip through the world of gin and tonic been so original, and every detail has been thought of. Even the ice is premium, made from demineralised water, and the huge ice rocks will help keep each G&T at the ideal temperature.
The menu is kept secret, revealed only to the lucky guests of this surprising dinner, but it’s known that it includes an amuse-bouche, an entrée, a main dish of fish and a dessert – all of the dishes accompanied by some most unconventional gin and tonics.
Chef Pascal’s entrée was inspired by Beefeater 24 Gin. The original recipe includes the core botanicals that define the distinctive, instantly recognisable Beefeater taste – juniper, coriander, angelica root and seed, Seville orange peel, lemon peel and almond. Finally, a unique blend of Chinese green and rare Japanese sencha teas, extra citrus in the form of grapefruit, and liquorice were added. The Chef created an entrée of obsiblue shrimp with ginger and bergamot broth, that elevates and highlights this gin’s natural taste. Never has the gin and tonic ritual been so original.
For dessert, Pastry Chef Fabian Nguyen has created a ribatejo strawberry, green tea biscuit and rhubarb sorbet, and the accompanying gin will be distilled during the dinner and in front of guests inside Varanda Restaurant.
An unexpected product of the hustle and bustle of the kitchens of neighbouring Spain, the revitalisation of gin as we know it started a little over seven years ago when chefs, after a long day of work in the hot kitchens of their restaurants, started drinking this spirit with tonic water in large, ice-filled glasses, to unwind and cool down. Gin is a cereal-based distilled drink, which goes through an infusion process with juniper berry and is aromatised with botanicals and other spices. Among the most used ingredients, besides juniper, are cinnamon, citrus zests, coriander, Jamaican pepper and almond flour.
It’s a drink whose presence has become almost compulsory in Portugal’s restaurants and bars, and the Ritz Bar, which has the best gin menu in town, is no exception. Today, the consumption of gin in Portugal is almost ritualistic, and one of the rare cases where the education of the customers almost surpasses that of the bartenders, with customers having their own theories about the perfect serve.