Cocktail Kitchen Series II – Thai food and Driftwood beer
– by Shawn Conner/photos by Robyn Hanson
With the city in the grip of Canucks fever, and every second person walking around with “Luongo” on his or her back, it’s no wonder that the Refinery wasn’t the packed party place its been for past episodes of the Cocktail Kitchen Series.
No matter – those of us who did show up for the third in this month’s Thai theme were treated to some delicious pairings of beer-based cocktails and Thai food, and a screen on which to watch the game if so desired.
The night’s competing bartender, David Wolowidnyk from West Restaurant, worked with the CK program founder/director Lauren Mote’s bitters collection (a requirement in this competition) along with three kinds of beer from Victoria brewery Driftwood. The first drink mixed the Farmhand Ale with fresh yellow and orange pepper juice – a mix that turned out to be the nice variation on the red-eye, and added some bite to the creamy, lemon-y Thai soup.
A foamy, frothy drink announced the presence of egg white in the second beer cocktail. Along with some orange flower water and orange and kaffir lime bitters, the egg white plus Driftwood’s wheat beer added up to a cocktail reminiscent of the classic pre-Prohibition libation, the Ramos Gin Fizz. The frothy one – Wolowidnyk didn’t, as some bartenders do, name his cocktails (one mark off on the testing sheet!) – was served with a mango and papaya salad.
For the final dish, the massaman curry with potatoes and chunks of pineapple, Wolowidnyk mixed Fat Tug IPA with pressed pineapple juice, cinnamon syrup, pineapple burnt chili and citric acid. The result was a little too sweet to go with the dish – or maybe the dish wasn’t spicy enough to balance the sweetness.
After the last course, we stuck around to sample some new additions to the cocktail menu. The game over, more people started trickling in, and the restaurant returned to its usual, more convivial state. As we left, we couldn’t help but notice that, outside The Refinery’s front door, even the door-girls were wearing Luongo jerseys.
There’s one more Thai night, this Wednesday May 25, and then in June the Cocktail Kitchen Series focuses on Britain for what The Refinery website calls “whimsical British tea party”-themed food with Beefeater gin. You can make reservations here.
Thanks to Cocktail Kitchen director Lauren Mote for setting us up with two media tickets to the event.