Next stop on the cocktail train was a mixology class sponsored by Hendricks gin. It was all very mysterious. I saw an add online for a Hendricks class at a secret location. I submitted my info and within 24 hours, I got the invite and the location was revealed to be Kenichi on 4th and Colorado. I had heard about the great happy hour at Kenichi, so I headed straight over from work to try some of the offerings before class began. There is a huge assortment of rolls, appetizers, and even main courses discounted from 5-7. The crowd of trendy downtowners and better than average sushi are definitely a draw. The place was packed by 7pm. I tried the wild boar potstickers as well as a couple of the rolls. If you do not mind crowds or parking hassles, it really is a good deal on the happy hour.
After we sampled some drinks made with Hendricks gin at the bar, we convened in a backroom outfitted with a full bartenders set up at each of our seats. The entertaining presentation included details of how Hendricks is made in small batches in two different kinds of stills for a gin that has a pleasant hint of cucumber and roses. We also learned to make 3 kinds of gimmlets. As you can imagine, we were a pretty rowdy bunch by the end. I stuck around afterwards to try some of the passed appetizers including a lovely little lamb chop.
Final cocktail party was at the Wine and Food Foundation’s Big Reds and Bubbles at the Driskill. I received an invitation to pour a couple of days prior. I think my blood was probably about 60 proof after the week long festivities I had been indulging in but I knew I had to attend this and I was so glad I did. I ended up pouring for the distributor that carries Penfolds and they brought out the big dogs. The RWT shiraz received the following review from Wine Spectator- 93 points “Rich, ripe and focused, with a lovely purity to the blackberry, dark plum and sweet spice flavors, playing against bittersweet chocolate notes on the long, expressive finish. Best from 2010 through 2020.” And the fabled Grange, also from Wine Spectator- 98 points Wine Spectator: “Smooth and seductive, this delivers a full-throated chorus of currant, plum, blackberry and spice flavors, hinting at coffee and cardamom as the finish floats and sails easily over a bed of polished, refined tannins. A touch of black olive balances nicely against it all. Beautifully structured, expressive and very long. Best from 2012 through 2025.” The RWT retails around $100 a bottle and the Grange goes for $500.
This is officially the most expensive bottle of wine I have ever had. It was at the same time complex and smooth. Peppery, like you would expect from a shiraz but with a beautiful background of dark fruit and a finish that I am still tasting. I ended the evening with a gorgeous plate of petit fours from Tony Sansalone, pastry chef at the Driskill, and a small glass of the Grange sitting on the balcony overlooking 6th street. What a magical Austin moment.
So dive into cocktail season in Austin. You will not regret it!