Gastronomic wonder

The refreshing ‘Scarlet’ cocktail, a mix of cucumber vodka, black currant liqueur, Italian bitters and lemon juice, was garnished with a slice of cucumber and dried rose petals. Photo by Bev Stenehjem.

Move over wine and food pairing. It’s cocktail time. According to The Milias Restaurant, in Gilroy, pairing cocktails with dinner has become its most popular event. “We tried doing wine dinners but had very few takers,” says chef and co-owner Adam Sanchez.

After doing a men’s dinner event last year, it was Sanchez’s business partner, chef Ann Zyburra, who asked, “Why don’t we do a private event for women only? I wanted to place a focus on women-owned businesses with all spirits developed and owned by women.”

The now monthly cocktail dinners include five decadent courses of small plates and dessert—each paired with a different, over-the-top cocktail. Our party joined 30 woman at a recent women’s-only dinner, “A Day at the Beach.”

Mary Kerrigan, field manager for Re:Find Distillery teamed up with Gian Trinidad, from Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits to provide the evening’s cocktails.

“I make craft cocktails without any snobiness,” he says. “The best part of my job is being able to express my creativity at all kinds of fun celebrations.”

Making a dramatic entrance, Trinidad’s limoncello sparkler was poured into a multi-colored-sugar-encrusted-rimmed flute, topped off with a giant puff of pink cotton candy—a perfect balance to the first course Lobster Roll; a generous portion of lobster meat stuffed between buttered and grilled French bread and served alongside a summery mango slaw.

Next up was the asian chicken lettuce wrap with soba noodles—a light and refreshing dish paired with the “Scarlet” cocktail. Garnished with a slice of cucumber and dried rose petals, was a mix of cucumber vodka, black currant liqueur, Italian bitters and lemon juice—matching the vibrancy of the dish.

A tender beef satay and peanut-dressed-salad was the third course—paired with the “State of Grace” cocktail similar to a lemon drop.

The “Saturn” cocktail debuted with the last course—a pork tenderloin slider with grilled pineapple, when served with house-made Hawaiian potato chips and out-of-this-world cocktail, was a taste of paradise. “This ‘tiki’ drink will become your favorite gin cocktail after tonight,” predicted Trinidad, as he poured a shaker of Re:Find Gin, Falernum (a Caribbean liqueur made with almond syrup, ginger, clove and passionfruit) and a squeeze of lemon.
For the grand finale, the chefs plated a gooey s’more next to a waffle cone filled with whiskey spheres like Dippin’ Dots, which Trinidad made by chilling down a mixture of cream, Re:Find Rye Whiskey and honey to a minus 320 degrees using liquid nitrogen.

One of the guests, Stefania Romero, a local winemaker and frequent patron of The Milias, proclaimed,” I have been to every one of these dinners. It is a fantastic community-bonding event.”

The next cocktail pairing dinner, “Take Me Out to the Ballpark” will be held on July 31 and for the first-time ever, will be co-ed. Since predictions are being made, we’ll make one of our own. This dinner will be the hottest ticket in town.