I’m very excited to announce the first ever G I V E A W A Y on Taste & Tipple! Thanks to the generosity of event organizers, I’m giving away two tickets (value of $150) to the Ottawa Regional Finals of Made With Love coming up on Monday, March 19th from 6-11 p.m. at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne.
If you haven’t heard of it, Made With Love is an annual celebration of craft cocktails wherein barchefs from across the country compete to create the most compelling and delicious drinks. The public, along with a panel of esteemed judges, are invited to participate in this interactive competition by savouring these inventive alcoholic concoctions and voting for their favourites.
The Ottawa qualifiers took place at Common Eatery back on January 22nd and saw a field of 40 of Ottawa’s finest barchefs compete for the opportunity to advance to the regional finals. Now the group has been whittled down to 18 finalists who will face-off on March 19th for the opportunity to take home the crown of either Public’s Choice or Judges’ Choice and represent Ottawa in the National Finals.
I met up with one of the finalists, barchef Julien Forrester, over the weekend to get a glimpse into what he has planned for the big competition. Julien has been bartending for three years and took the reins of the cocktail program at Steak & Sushi back in September.
The qualifying round of competition involved a Chopped style black box of must-use ingredients. Julien discovered Grand Marnier and raspberries in his, could have been a lot worse! He used his ingredients to create a riff on the Clover Club cocktail which garnered him an impressive 5th place finish in the qualifiers. He said his only misstep was his garnish that pushed him slightly past the 5-minute time limit. He said he plans to bring his own knife to the finals to prevent history from repeating itself.
In terms of cocktail trends, Julien is really excited about tea-based syrups, infusions and shrubs. His competitive cocktail for the finals might just feature something to that effect. He was tight-lipped about what else will be involved in his forthcoming creation but you can get tickets to see what he and the other 17 finalists come up with from the Made With Love event page.
While we have to wait to see what he has in store for us on the 19th, he was kind enough to whip up a little something for me and even shared the recipe! This pretty little tipple is a take on a gin sour that we named the Bed of Roses.
This drink uses Ungava Canadian premium gin. Ungava has a distinctive aroma, colour and flavour thanks to the combination of six indigenous botanicals used in its distillation. In particular, wild rose hips lend this gin its saturated yellow hue and contribute a sweet-tart, fruity dimension.
Julien pairs the Ungava with a hit of lemon juice and a Rose Congou tea syrup of his own making. Rose Congou is a Chinese black tea that is scented with rose petals. You can pick it up locally at The Tea Store in the ByWard Market.
Using both wet and dry shake methods gives Julien precise control over dilution and flavour AND gets the egg white to achieve that perfect frothy topping.
Garnish with a sculptural lemon peel and a dusting of rose petals (also available from The Tea Store). Boom. Beautiful, easy-drinking cocktail.
My thanks to Julien and the organizers at Made With Love for making this post and giveaway possible! Good luck to all the entrants and hope to see many of you at the Ottawa Finals on March 19th!
Bed of Roses Cocktail
- 2 oz Ungava gin
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1 oz rose congou syrup
- 1 egg white
- 1 cup water
- 4 tbsp Rose Congou loose-leaf tea
- 1 cup sugar
Chill a coupe glass with ice and water.
Combine ingredients in an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain and remove ice cubes. Shake again, without ice, for another 30 seconds.
Dump ice cubes from your chilled glass. Double strain the cocktail into chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon peel and dried rose petals.
Add water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add loose leaf tea and let simmer for 5 minutes until the tea has fully steeped. Strain out tea leaves.
Add sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is fully dissolved. Let cool to room temperature before using. Syrup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two weeks.
Made With Love Giveaway
Enter below for your chance to win two tickets to the Ottawa Regional Finals of Made With Love being held on Monday, March 19th from 6-11 p.m. at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park. Contest open to residents of the National Capital Region who are 19 years of age and older. Winner(s) will be notified on Sunday, March 18th.