Showing posts from June, 2012

Exploring London with Beefeater

One of the things I was really looking forward to on this trip was getting a view of Olympic Stadium in London. Unfortunately, I was having sinus problems and the weather (for a boat ride) was not cooperating. I instead spent the morning resting up at the Duke’s Hotel , which left me with more energy for a full afternoon and evening. When I finally left the hotel, I walked down to St. James park and then on to Buckingham Palace. My last two trips to London had been filled with no time for sightseeing so I hadn’t seen the palace since I was a teenager. It is more regal than I remembered, and the gardens (displaying tulips when I was there) were immaculate. I walked around the grounds so I could see it all from all angles. As I started walking away through St. James Park’s Birdcage Walk, I noticed that there was a clearing an area of the road. I saw the guards at attention in front of a crowd at St. James Palace just before a car with Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla Parker

A Super Tasting Day of Beefeater Gin in London

My first full day in London was a gin lover’s dream, as I tasted my way around the world of Beefeater , as only a “super taster” should. I was up early and greeted the day with some yoga and my typical European breakfast – pan au chocolate, fruit, yogurt, and English Breakfast tea. I needed to make sure I was ready for a day filled with everything Beefeater. We were picked up in the official Beefeater cars and took a short drive to the distillery. We were greeted by Master Distiller Desmond Payne, as well as Beefeater Ambassadors – mixologists extraordinaire – Sebastian (Seb) Hamilton-Mudge and Tim Jones. The latter two had “snappers” waiting for us,  a red that was basically a bloody Mary with gin (using sundried tomato paste for a very fresh flavor); green, with pineapple juice, coriander, mint, green tabasco sauce and lime juice; and purple, with beet, orange, carrot and lemon juice. They were all good, with a slight favor for me to the green. Desmond took us o

Heading to England with Beefeater and Plymouth

I have traveled to many places in the world checking out wine and spirits, but when the invitation to go to England with Beefeater and Plymouth came, I was more excited than you can imagine. Gin is my go to spirit and the thought of spending a week drinking it as part of the job was a good one. I’ve worked with Pernod Ricard on a number of trips, including Jacob’s Creek in Australia and Perrier Jouët in Paris . They always do things top notch and this trip was no different. They sent a limo to take me to the airport for the short flight to Chicago, where I was flying British Airways . Since I had a business class ticket and had a few hours, I went straight to the BA lounge. I hadn’t had lunch so I was hoping to catch a snack. I found a lot more in a large buffet with many choices. I settled on a little spinach lasagna, which was excellent, and a small, fudgy brownie. When it was time to board, I saw my first airplane “pod.” It was a bit odd at first and took a while fo

More Tasting Through the Hamptons

New York appears to have been on the receiving end of some of the worst weather this year and my friend Lynn and I felt some of that on day two in the Hamptons, but it didn’t put a damper on the spirits we needed to sample.   We met Andrea from the Hamptons Visitors Council at the Golden Pear in East Hampton. It was one of four locations for this bakery/deli/coffee shop which seemed to have quite the selection.  I settled on a blueberry scone and we talked a bit about the Hamptons, which encompass quite an area that includes towns such as East Quogue, Hampton Bay and Sag Harbor. As she said, each hamlet has its own personality and it’s one of the few areas in the world where celebrities often mingle with locals because they consider themselves locals here. Lynn and I drove around a bit before our lunch at Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett. I have to admit that I thought it was just a local pub, but I was very impressed with the food and drink selection. We star

Hitting the Hamptons

As a teenager growing up on Eastern Long Island, I spent my share of time in the Hamptons . I even did the summer weekends as a young adult for a while. As the years went by, I wasn’t out there as much as I’d like, so when the opportunity came up to write for Hamptons Magazine on a weekly basis this summer, I figured it was a great excuse to get back in the habit of going out there. Trip number one was with my friend Lynn. Wordhampton , a public relations firm that specializes on Long Island, set up an incredible schedule that would allow us to taste my way around the east end for three days. I don’t suggest a non-professional attempt this. Instead, make plans to visit these places (all great) when you have a chance to spend more time at them. Stop one was at Little Red in Southampton and we were scheduled for a full lunch.  This is a cute little place in town, just off the water. They serve lots of seafood and Paninis, as well as salads and main dishes.  We sipped a fe

Society Fair, George Washington’s Whisky and DC Treats

My entire trip to Virginia had been packed to the brim, but no day proved to be busier – or more interesting – than the final one. The morning started at Society Fair Epicurean Emporium in Alexandria . I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I am with this place. I have never seen anything like it and can’t imagine that I will again. The Eat Good Food Group has managed to put together in one spot a combination of food and drink items like no other, many of which are from their venues. Did you love the bread pudding at Virtue? It’s here. Can’t live without Todd Thrasher’s Tonic from PX? Buy it at Society Fair. Craving the birthday cake served at Restaurant Eve or the coconut cake from Majestic? You’ll find it on the shelf. In addition to supplying the homemade products sold in the restaurants, you will also find a full bakery, cheeses, a selection of sausages from Julian the butcher, a wine bar and a coffee counter. You can take out or stay (I enjoyed a latte and a