Thursday, 17 March 2016

Classics.Perfected at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort

Last night I was privileged to attend the South African launch of the Fairmont Hotel & Resorts Classics.Perfected cocktail menu at the beautiful Fairmont Zimbali Hotel in Ballito. It is always special to just be able to set foot inside the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort as it is elegant and tastefully decorated. This theme of elegance was carried through in the setting and table décor for the Classics.Perfected launch. Candlelight, crystals, pearls and white feathers decorated the tables and gave the feeling of the 1920’s. I love the many Orchid plants scattered around the reception area and I even discovered an Orchid plant inside the ladies bathroom. As with every event done by Fairmont Zimbali the food was sublime.

We were warmly welcomed by Liezl Meier who explained a bit about how the menus came about and then we watched a short video showing the Tastemakers in action. There were two bars and we could choose and order any Classics.Perfected cocktail of our choice. The “Pomegranate Paloma” was recommended to me so that is what I ordered. We also had a live demonstration from Fairmont Zimbali’s mixologists in the making of the “Right Word”, “Perfect Martinez” and the “Pomegranate Paloma”. Cocktail making is a science with a measure of this, a tot of that and the added fruit flourishes.

For over a century Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has had a history of cocktail creation and discerning guests have come to expect a delicious and high quality drink every time they order.  This new menu would ensure that the classics are perfect in every hotel and it would offers guests something refreshingly new as well. This is the third global menu that has been launched in partnership with global spirit partners. Classics.Perfected will run for two years and will be available in all Fairmont Hotels & Resorts globally.

The menu features three sections:
v  The most requested classics that guests know and love
v  Revived classics to entice cocktail enthusiasts and
v  The “neats” for those who wish to savor the richness of the program’s carefully selected spirit partners.

So how was the Classics.Perfected menu created?

Senior management at Fairmont surveyed its bars and lounges and the chosen Tastemakers stood out as masters of their craft. Each Tastemaker is seen as a leader not just within the brand but also within the broader cocktail world. Geographic distribution was also taken into consideration to ensure that the new menu would appeal globally.  In June 2015, the Fairmont Tastemakers came together in Seattle, Washington at Kathy Casey Food Studios to create a cocktail menu together. They created a list of the best classic cocktails and secretly voted on their top 12. Various spirit combinations were suggested for the top 12 classics and the Tastemakers then got behind the bar to experiment. In most cases, each of the final cocktails went through over a dozen trials before the perfect recipe was finalized. Selected for their individual talent and mastery of cocktail methodology, the Fairmont Tastemakers include Grant Sceney from Fairmont Pacific Rim, Nader Chabaane from Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Erik Lorincz from The Savoy (A Fairmont Managed Hotel) and Tom Hogan from Fairmont Singapore.

Spirit brands were chosen based on premium market positioning, history, craftsmanship and global availability.

They include:

Remy Martin VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac a brand that started in the early 1700’s

Belvedere Vodka created exclusively from Polish Dankowskie Rye and quadruple-distilled

Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label which was founded in 1772 and is harvested entirely by hand

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin a progressive exploration of the botanical heritage of the isle of Islay with 22 hand-foraged local botanicals

Bombay Sapphire distilled in a process called Vapor Infusion

Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey which is distilled at the oldest registered distillery in the United States

Woodford Reserve Distillers Select which is crafted in small batches

Cointreau a unique spirit combined with the subtle harmony of bitter and sweet oranges

Mount Gay Rum the world’s oldest rum producer established on 1703

Casamigos Tequila was created by longtime friends George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman

Louis XIII which was first created in 1874.

So what are the Classics.Perfected?

Woodford Reserve Bourbon | Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum | Local Bitters
The Old-Fashioned has now become identified as the first cocktail, defined in print for the first time in 1806. It got its name for its simplicity, and it holds true to that standard today. In this case, rum is added to the traditional whiskey, thus making for a richer, worldlier flavor.

Casamigos Reposado Tequila | Cointreau | Pomegranate Fresh Grapefruit & Lemon
In certain parts of Mexico, the Paloma is ordered far more often than its cousin, the Margarita. Tequila and grapefruit soda is the simplistic way this drink is known in Mexico, but here fresh grapefruit soda is made with fresh pressed grapefruit, simple syrup, and soda water. Pomegranate adds a rich and tart modern flavor and flair.

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin | Cointreau | Sweet Red Vermouth | Dry Vermouth | Bitters
The Martinez was first recorded in 1884, and has become something of a cult classic since being rediscovered at the turn of this century. It gets its “perfect” name due to the equal portions of vermouth (like in a perfect Manhattan). The botanicals in the gin add layers of flavor that play well with the two types of vermouth.

Belvedere Vodka | Fresh Mint & Cucumber | Lemon and Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label
The Collins and its many variants (like in the form seen here) date back to at least the 1850’s. This variant is our tip of the hat to this rich tradition with the addition of mint and cucumber and a sparkling champagne finish. Light and refreshing.

Bombay Sapphire Gin | Lillet Blanc | St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur | Fresh Lime
The Last Word reigns as the bartenders favorite rediscovered classic cocktail, first invented during Prohibition in Detroit. Elderflower liqueur and Lillet Blanc provide a variation in a floral and elegant way stepping in for the traditional chartreuse — a light and lovely cocktail.

Gentleman Jack  Remy Martin VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac Campari | Sweet Vermouth
A classic rediscovered with the recent cocktail renaissance, the Boulevardier is simply a Negroni with whiskey stepping in for gin. A luxurious splash of cognac has been added in our global variation of this classic. A guest who enjoys a Negroni or a Manhattan may also enjoy this cocktail.

Looking for a place with style, elegance and superior cocktails? You just have to make the worthwhile drive to the beautiful Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort. The Classics.Perfected cocktails are exclusive to the 31 Degrees cocktail lounge (no need to book). While you are there you can make it a more memorable occasion by dining at their superb restaurant OSA. Don’t leave it to chance! Phone ahead to book for the restaurant on 032-5385000.

Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort
5 Corkwood Drive
Zimbali Coastal Estate


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