All Photos: Dave Stroup
All Words: Danielle
And you thought this would be just another cocktail event. Au Cointreau.
Cointreau has introduced DC to its unique, one of a kind Cointreau Pearls – tiny drops of Cointreau that have been transformed from a liquid liqueur into a solid. Cointreau teamed up with Fernando Castellon, noted mixologist and author, to take the principles of molecular gastronomy and mixology to change liquid into solid droplets. Molecular mixology has been around for a while in the form of foams, gels and mists but not until now have they actually been able to create solid matter. Anyone who’s ever tried to freeze alcohol knows that the alcohol content makes it impossible to work with in solid form. Until now!
What’s truly noteworthy is that not every city and not every bar has the ability to make Cointreau pearls. St. Regis is the only one in DC – one! – that has the materials and kit needed to make these pearls, and only roughly twenty bars in the whole country have what it takes to make the pearls. These are made in house to the mixologist’s tastes and specifications with a kit that includes everything, even the beakers! This isn’t a product that’s created in a food lab somewhere, frozen en masse and shipped off to every bar in the nation, kept to strict specifications and conformity. Cointreau and the unique production method are the only two constants in the equation. The person behind the bar can make the pearls softer, harder, gummier, whatever they choose with ingredients they choose, including but not limited to cayenne pepper, fresh herbs and seasonal fruits. The process is fascinating and it felt more like a show on the Discovery Channel than a cocktail session. Check it out for yourselves.
The St. Regis will be featuring three drinks with Cointreau pearls this February: Aphrodite’s Pearls (white wine is infused with tropical fruits and six liqueurs, topped off with prosecco and Cointreau pearls flavored with cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon); Acai of Spring (Cointreau pearls infused with acai berries served with cherry and acai-infused vodka, topped with Piper-Heidsieck rose champagne) and for those who want to truly savor the pearls, Piper-Heidsieck champagne with a generous portion of pearls floating on top.
The pearls themselves are tiny, golden hued and are similar in texture to roe. Sweet and delicate, they pop in your mouth and have a clean, nectar-like finish. They don’t dissolve at room temperature and refrigeration is unnecessary. If you’re a texture person (or anyone who wants their mind blown while drinking a great cocktail) try the Cointreau pearls.