Plenty of people have dinners which pair drinks with food to highlight the flavors of the cuisine. Randall's Wine and Spirits (14201 Manchester Road; 636-527-1002) and Gerard's Restaurant (1153 Colonnade Center, Des Peres; 314-821-7977) are doing it a little differently.
The wine and spirits store and the seafood and Italian restaurant are hosting a whiskey dinner, for which courses will be paired with cocktails with the intent of bringing out the flavors of different whiskeys.
"I'm not saying it's never been done," Jeff Knight of Randall's tells Gut Check, "but it's fairly new, at least in my experience and in Gerard's experience, as well as bunch of other people who I've spoken with about it. They've all been like, 'So how do we do this?' and I've been like, 'I don't know!'"
The whiskey dinner will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 9. Tickets are $75 per person and include a four-course dinner with whiskey cocktail pairings, as well as whiskey aperitifs and digestifs. That's six cocktails, for those of you who are counting.
The menu features sashetta, a ricotta-filled noodle paired with Kilbeggan Irish Storm, lamb osso bucco paired with Canadian Club Sherry Cask Boardwalk Empire, ahi tuna with Lahproaig Smoke O'Scotland and tiramisu with Maker's Mark 46 Haymaker.
"The sashimi-grade tuna we're pairing with a cocktail based on a very strong, smoky scotch," Knight says. "It's one of those things that you might not think of initially, but it's going to be an absolutely fabulous combination."
Because cocktails are generally stronger than wine or beer, they will not be full servings with each course, but generous tastes. Knight assures us they will still be very full-flavored drinks, though, so guests can get a good sense of how they pair with the food.
"I worked with Joe Cavatiao, my Jim Beam rep, to figure out the cocktails," Knight says. "We decided what whiskeys we wanted to feature and what cocktails would best illustrate whiskey in all of its permutations."
Cavatiao will be doing the presentation during dinner and discussing the whiskeys, their places of origin, how they're made and how Irish whiskey differs from Scottish or Canadian. Knight hopes that the tasting and the eating is an educational experience for the guests.
Gerard Whatton, owner and chef at Gerard's Restaurant has done plenty of food and beverage pairing dinners, but never with whiskey.
"Generally, I find out what they want to pour, and I'll put together a food item to complement that," Whatton explains. "The menu items for the whiskey dinner are all my own recipes. Two of them are things I've made before, and two are things I decided to do just for this dinner."
Reservations are required for the Whiskey 'Round The World meal, so call Randall's, and claim your seat now!