While it may seem as though we have taken a cocktail, wine and food holiday over here at Aspen Real Life, it’s not so, we are just flowing wherever the wine takes us…or food, or French Ginger Liqueur as this case may be (and with Spring Break here, the need for the flow has increased significantly).
What is Domaine de Canton:
The French Ginger Liqueur is Domaine de Canton, a liqueur handcrafted near Jarnac, France by third-generation liqueur-maker, John Cooper, and master liqueur-maker, Jean Francois Bardo. Producing fine French liqueurs has been a Cooper family tradition since 1884.
I was fortunate enough to be introduced to this liqueur at a dinner hosted by DDC and held at Jimmy’s An American Restaurant and Bar, a restaurant known for a menu that has something for everyone, from the “locally-priced” bar menu to the highest quality steaks, crab cakes, seafood, pork and poultry. The bar at Jimmy’s is famous for its 105 varieties of tequila and mescal, which we highly recommend slinging a few shots back of before you join in with the serious Salsa and Tango dancers who gather together on Saturday nights to dance to the steamy rhythms of Latin music. Or, if you cannot handle your tequila, perhaps you should stay seated. These dancers are hard core and we wouldn’t want you embarrassing yourself.
I was attending the dinner with local food blogger, Jackie Mansfield, and foodie entrepreneur, Mawa McQueen, who runs; Wine in Heels, The Kitchen Hotline and M&M Catering. Together we tried to anticipate what kind of evening it would be, for we are often in the dark about what to expect at these dinners. One thing we did know was that if it was to be held at Jimmy’s, named one of Food and Wine’s Top Fifty Bars in America, it was going to be good.
The atmosphere was set with a Pre-dinner DDC cocktail, the Aloha Paciano, created by Erin Harris:
Recipe for the Aloha Paciano:
- 1.5 oz Vida Mezcal
- 1 oz DDC
- 1oz pineapple
- 1/4 oz amaro nonino
- 1/8 oz fresh lemon
- 1/8 oz fresh lime
- 3 drops bittermans tiki bitters
- Dash angostura
The Aloha Paciano, was the perfect introductory drink to the dinner. Taking a sip of the Mezcal and DDC combined with fresh ingredients, I almost felt a warm breeze sweep through my hair. I caught the DDC fever and was ready to take my new found love of ginger drinks to a more sophisticated level.
While I thoroughly enjoy immersing myself into the culture of food and spirits, it is the people who I meet at these parties that make my experience complete and I hop around to make sure I don’t miss anything from the travel and wine writers to the Food and Beverage Directors to the staff, I just wish I could write about the conversations, but as showy as you think Aspenites might be, generally I am ordered to not blog about…well…anything personal.
What I can say is that each of the six cocktails served transported me to water, and whether it was sailing on the Mediterranean or socializing in St. Tropez, the fantasies were all first class. As quoted by The New York Times, “Domaine de Canton feels more like a classic than something parachuted into a trend”. Each batch of DDC starts from a base maceration of eau de vie and fresh baby ginger. To this base VSOP and Grande Champagne XO Cognac, honey from Provence and a fresh vanilla bean infusion are added to enhance the liqueur’s character and complexity. Finally, a special filtration process is used to finish the batch, ensuring consistency and quality without the need for any stabilizers or preservatives.
I know I’ve used this line before but my father used to say, “Just make sure that you land where you take off from.” With intense concentration I only sipped the cocktails so I wouldn’t travel too far away. I discovered that my favorite way to drink Domaine de Canton was straight up, another reminder of my father who introduced me to B&B’s (which have a similar taste) when I was of age, or perhaps before, I can’t remember.
As dinner was served I caught the attention of Jimmy’s Head Chef, Manuel Diaz, and complimented him on the Ahi Tuna Tartar served on an ice plate, and the slow cooked Pork Tenderloin. Each food item had DDC as an ingredient, from a soy dressing, to a marinade, to a glaze, and it made for a sweetly fresh ginger sauce. Better described by Eric Ripert, of Le Bernadin, “A sublime liqueur…adds richness, spice and dimension to cuisine and cocktails”.
Soaking it all in I felt the need to better acquaint myself with the restaurant’s owner, Jimmy Yeager and so I plopped myself next to him and lest I make this article too long, I have it written in ink to give Jimmy a call and keep the wine flowing with another article on how he has managed to remain successful in this mountain resort town since 1997. Thank you Jimmy, and Crystal from DDC, for the invitation. I’ll be back for more!