Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tio Pepe Sherry at Grand Hyatt

For someone who is not quite a stranger to liquor, it's actually quite surprising how "Sherry" has totally escaped my radar over the last 22 years.  Why 22 years?  Cos in the days of yore, as a poor student,  we used to cook with sherry as it was cheap, and shao shing wine was not readily available in Australia.  So really, the thought of DRINKING sherry was really not top of the list, and as time went by, "Sherry" became a forgotten word in the context of alcohol, but did pop up as names of friends and friend's wives...If liquor types were to be ranked in terms of popularity as names, I'd say Sherry is quite up there.  You don't hear people naming their kids Tequila, or gasp, Absinthe,...though Absinthe does sound like a name Hong Kong people might choose for themselves.  "Hi, I'm Absinthe Chong"....

Thanks to Ciki, I got invited to a Classical Spanish Party with Tio Pepe at THIRTY8, Grand Hyatt, an exclusive sherry wine brand from the renowned Gonzales Byass winery, awarded as the Winemaker of the Year 2010 and World’s Best Spanish winery in 2014.

Meet the very elegantly dressed Tio, .....a fine gentleman by any account.


Be at this intimate launching party with a tasting session of sherry wines and specially made sherry-based cocktail menu by a Swedish mixologist from the Tio Pepe brand. Feast your eyes on the stunning feat of sherry wine pour by a professional venenciador and special guest appearance of winemaker, Matias Calleja. Join us for an evening of hearty canap├ęs and capture the moment with a glass of sherry wine.

We were treated with lovely sherry cocktails, and sherry on its own as well, and the acrobatics of a professional "VENENCIADOR", which of course, I had to look up.  You can read about it here, there are precious few links in English re this topic, so you may thank me at leisure.   Basically the venenciador is a person who is versed with the art of extracting and verifying the sherry from the casks, and also is adept at using the Venencia, that long contraption used to pour sherry with great skill.

A lovely cocktail with balsamic vinegar dripping of the rim of the martini glass.  Called the La Modena, a combination of Gin and Solera 1847 Sherry and bitters.  A very masculine cocktail, not sweet and that balsamic gives it a fabulous twist.

It was also my first introduction to the London No 1 Gin, which was used in several of the cocktails...


A lovely refreshing Pepe Rosado, comprising Tio Pepe, Lime Juice, Rose Syrup, garnished with rose petals and mint sprigs.  A very feminine elegant drink.  If I were a woman, I'd rather get a glass of this than a bouquet of roses, which you can neither eat nor drink.

The Jerez Spritz, which is Tio Pepe, Solera 1847, Grenadine, Soda & Sparkling wine.  A lovely spritzy combination, with bubbles that go straight to your head.


Meet Johan Holmberg,   Mixologist extraordinaire, who was the youngest person to ever achieve the title of Master Mixologist, with a string of accolades, including City Weekend award "Best Cocktails in Shanghai", ...and if this doesn't put the bananas amongst us to shame...He is writing his first book on the art of mixology that will be released in CHINESE!!! He also is the founder of Serendipity Consulting, a well established bar consulting company.  Wow, I would love to run that type of consultancy.  He was also the Global Master Mixologist for Absolut Vodka, Plymouth Gin and Cruzan Rum.




Although Tio Pepe was the undisputed star for the night, the canapes served by the Grand Hyatt were rather delectable.  Chinese butter prawn with curry leaf...I must have walloped at least five of these.  One afterall cannot drink on an empty stomach, though looking at mine, one wonders if it's ever empty.

Fried crab cakes and bell pepper with remoulade sauce, Braised beef rib with roasted rosemary potatoes, Grilled eel sushi, Grilled chicken with romaine lettuce, parmesan dressing and focaccia, Seared tuna with salsa Brava, Gazpacho in shot glass with extra virgin pil and black pepper






Watching Johan use the Venencia was a sheer treat.  Riveting performances of sheer precision and skill.  Makes our best teh tarik master look like an amateur.


Higher and higher he goes....


A lovely night indeed.

Chin chin!!! Or rather, Salud!!

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