Monday, September 15, 2014

21 Club Wine Cellar with Tanqueray Old Tom

gastronomista tanqueray old tom gin

I recently went to the most gorgeous dinner in the legendary wine cellar in the 21 Club in Manhattan - hosted by Tanqueray to celebrate one of their new limited edition releases, Tanqueray Old Tom.  For those of you who are not familiar with the 21 Club, just know that it is a New York institution.  The website lists the preferred tables of celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway, Rod Stewart, George Clooney, and Bill Clinton, so pick your table wisely.

After cocktails and canapes of foie gras, we were lead through the lively dining room, through the kitchen, down a flight of dubiously steep stairs, and asked to line up in the hallway.  Accidentally, we locked a poor chef in the walk-in, and after hearing her pounding on the glass, quickly jumped aside to free her!

gastronomista tanqueray old tom gin

gastronomista tanqueray old tom gin

In a dark recessed brick archway was the entrance to what was once the speakeasy of the restaurant.  A long thin key that resembled a BBQ skewer was inserted at a specific angle, releasing the latch, and allowing us into the incredible secret chamber.

 gastronomista tanqueray old tom gin

We passed through the hidden passage, and were led through a small but amazingly full wine cellar that was lined floor to ceiling with bottles of wine.  These weren't your typical house wine bottles, these are rare vintages set aside for movers and shakers.  Martha Stewart, President Ford, and Sammy Davis Jr were a few reserved bottles that I spotted. 

Gastronomista Tanqueray Old Tom Gin at The 21 Club

Gastronomista Tanqueray Old Tom Gin at The 21 Club

We were seated at a long and thin table designed specifically for the narrow room, covered in wood veneer inlays of the iconic 21 Club jockeys.  I was seated next to Tom Nichol, master distiller of Tanqueray, a lovely and charming man who not only makes some of the best gin in the world, but also loves a good pint.  (We did not selfie, although I really wanted to.) 

Gastronomista Tanqueray Old Tom Gin at The 21 Club

The meal started off the meal with Caviar served with Hackleback, lemon creme fraiche, and buckwheat blinis paired that was followed by a side by side tasting of Tanqueray Old Tom and Tanqueray London Dry.

But first, you might be wondering what Old Tom Gin is, and what makes it unique.  Old Tom gin originates from 18th century England, is made in a pot still, and is sweeter than a London Dry Gin yet not as sweet as Dutch Genever.  Mr. Nichol has developed the recipe for Tanqueray Old Tom using notes from Charles Tanqueray's recipe books, dated from 1835.  Tanqueray Old Tom is a sweeter variation of the classic London dry recipe, that has a silky mouth feel and flavors of juniper, lemon-lime, with a spicy undercurrent of peppercorns, anise, eucalyptus, with a distinct creaminess.

So why has this recipe been recreated?  To make historical cocktail recipes more accurately!  Many of Jerry Thomas' recipes call for Old Tom gin, and using a London Dry gin would completely change the taste of the cocktail! 

I especially loved the Tuxedo Cocktail that was paired with the Crab Cakes served with grilled corn, pickles jalapenos, dill butter, and celery ribbons.  The Tuxedo cocktail is a classic gin martini made with dry vermouth, orange bitters, absinthe, and a touch of maraschino liqueur. 


Gastronomista Tanqueray Old Tom Gin at The 21 Club

The crab cakes were followed by an epic Wild Mushroom Risotto that I am still having dreams about, and then a Steak "Diane" Filet of Beef served with pomme tournee, asparagus, wild mushrooms, and garlic chips.  Swoon!

We finished the meal with a Valrhona Chocolate Souffle with salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, paired with an Old Tom Alexander - a classic cocktail made with Tanqueray Old Tom Gin, Creme de Cacao Liqueur, Heavy Cream, topped with grated nutmeg.   

Gastronomista Tanqueray Old Tom Gin at The 21 Club

New York never ceases to amaze me with its history and its secrets.  For those of you who have had the opportunity to dine in the wine cellar of the 21 Club, you know what a special place it is.  And to be there in the legendary wine cellar (a room that holds more secrets than the Situation Room), drinking Tanqueray Old Tom Tuxedo Cocktails next to the man who makes the stuff, was beyond amazing.

I was without a doubt the last to leave, reluctant to return to the real world.  As I ascended up the steep stairs, past the dishwashers in the kitchen, through the already empty dining room, and out onto the noisy street, it was clear to me that I was just a part of something very, very special. 

Want more?

Make Old Tom cocktails at home!

Gastronomista Tanqueray Old Tom Gin at The 21 Club

Tuxedo Cocktail

1-3/4 oz. Tanqueray Old Tom Gin
1-3/4 oz. Dry Vermouth
3 dashes Orange Bitters
1 dash La Fee Parisienne Superieure or a preferred Absinthe
1/8 oz. Maraschino Liqueur

Stir all ingredients with ice, fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Help Gastronomista Become a Quarterly Curator!

I have exciting news!!!

I have been asked to curate a cocktail tools and toys box for Quarterly!!!

But FIRST I need YOU to sign up and show your support!!!  I need 1500 people to say they are interested in Gastronomista becoming a Curator for Quarterly.

support gastronomista on quarterly

Ideas for the box:

-Exclusive Bottle Opener designed by yours truly
-Stylish Cocktail Picks
-Gastronomista designed cocktail napkins
-Selections of some of my favorite products, including bitters and brandied cherries!
-Emergency Cocktail Kits!!

So much more!!!

Please go to - and show your support by this Friday 9/12!!!

Let's make this happen!!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Indian Summer Wines

All the kids might be back in school, but I stand by the calendar - summer is not over!!  We've got two solid weeks until the official start of fall, and I plan to maximize every second of it!  Which means, lots of grilling, eating garden fresh veggies, and of course, drinking lovely summery wines. If you're looking for a great wine to serve with a burger, or just to sip outside on the porch, look no further, here's my list of my favorite wines for the Indian Summer!

Gastronomista Wines for the Last Days of Summer

Friday, August 29, 2014

Survival Guide: The Dog Days of Summer

I can't believe it's Labor Day weekend already - summer really flew by this year!  Even though Labor day is considered the finale of summer - we technically have a few more weeks of glorious summer to enjoy!   Celebrate, we must - break out the pool toys and the pineapple rum!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Watermelon Aperol Spritz at Saxon + Parole

Masa Urushido's Watermelon Aperol Spritz at Saxon + Parole in NYC

If you haven't heard of Masa Urushido by now, you should.  He's running the bar program at Saxon + Parole, The Daily, and Public, in addition to winning global cocktail competitions!  In my opinion, he's one of the insanely talented young guns of the cocktail world creating delicious cocktails that are sophisticated, seasonal, and yet approachable for even the most novice imbiber.

Masa Urushido's Watermelon Aperol Spritz at Saxon + Parole in NYC
S+P Monthly Cocktail Cabinet

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gastronomista + The American Whiskey Trail

Head over to the Huffington Post to read my latest notes on the American Whiskey Trail.  A lot has changed since I was last there in 2008, and it sounds like there are going to be dramatic changes happening in the next few years as numerous companies are investing millions of dollars into their distilleries.  Looking forward to what is to come (I hope it brings more delicious whiskey!).  

Read on >>

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Boxed Wine Hack - Instant Granitas!

This is my new favorite trick for summer.  Freeze boxed wine, drizzle with a delicious liqueur, top with fruit, and you've got yourself and easy, picnic-friendly wine granita!! Genius!!

Gastronomista Boxed Wine Granita Hack

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Honey Solera Aged Daiquiris

 Gastronomista Honey Solera Aged Daiquiri

Happy National Rum Day!  Does one need a national holiday to drink rum? NO!  Will we celebrate anyway, YES!

The Daiquiri has been a long misunderstood cocktail, often drowned in saccharine sweet mixes, creamed coconut, and blended to oblivion with god knows what.  If you've been to New Orleans, you know what I'm talking about.

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