When you think of food pairings, the natural inclination is to assume wines will be paired with each course. That classic concept can be lovely, and definitely has a time and place, but at times can be considered almost limiting. Wine is finite; it’s flavors already sealed and ready to go. When pairing cocktails with food, the options become a bit more plentiful. When the chef and beverage designer work on a food and cocktail pairing, it’s almost like having two chefs, two mixologists of flavors working on the perfect pairing.
There exists a certain knack for an efficacious food and drink pairing, and that devil is in the details. There is more complexity as there are more components, however, the experience can be all the more sensational because the endless flavor profiles and possibilities. If you think about it, people tend to automatically pair cocktails and food without necessarily noticing it. If you order seared tuna, suddenly a dry martini sounds like a good idea; if you go for a steak a Manhattan starts springing to mind. The pairings at The Winslow just expand on this simple concept. With their food and cocktail pairings, bold flavors can be matched with bold flavors, subtle with subtle, or mix an match– creating a perfectly curated and utterly unforgettable experience.
At The Winslow, they are bringing food and cocktail pairings to the next level. From last years trip through the decades to this years Dinner and a Movie pairings, Executive Chef Nathan Pauley and Beverage Director Cait Moorhead seem to have a handle on presenting delicious dishes and drinks in a fun and inventive way. Pairing food and cocktails isn’t for your average dinner party. The chef and beverage designer have to work closely to balance, but not overdo their flavor profile. Pauley and Moorhead mentioned they look at each dish or drink through one another’s perspective to enhance how they in turn design their own creation.
Last year Pauley and Moorhead did their take on contemporary classics. One such pairing took guests on a journey from 1920 to 1940. This pairing explored the origin story of played out dishes and cocktails– where they come from, when they were invented, how they became cliché. It was off the trolly and killer diller. The below menu exhibits their takes on the famous food and cocktails from each era:
First Course: Interpretations of Oysters Rockefeller, Baked Ham, and a Punch Romaine
Cornmeal crusted fried oyster, baked ham vichyssoise, green goddess emulsion, tarragon
Orange peel infused rum, Brovo Orange Liqueur, heavy cream, lemon, fresh squeezed orange juice, egg white, and a Wolffer Dry Rosé Cider float
Second Course: Interpretations of Caeser Salad and a Bloody Mary
Summer vegetables, brown butter bourbon poach egg yolk, smoked anchovy and black truffle parmesan sauce
House made mushroom gin, Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur, tamarind, tomato, molasses, gochujang, lemon
Third Course: Interpretations of corn dog, meatloaf and a Manhattan
Aged beef and wagyu meatloaf, sauce oeil rouge
Planet of the Apricots
Brown butter fat washed Woodford Reserve Bourbon, homemade apricot brandy, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, Dry Vermouth
This years pairings were “Dinner and a Movie” themed. Each pairing comes with three courses, all of which matched with a corresponding cocktail and a few surprises sprinkled in here and there. Each course is based on a different film. Taking inspiration from film was a new challenge and a fun one at that. The list of muses varied from food characters ate or referenced to out-side-of the box concoctions. For example the next pairing will be thriller themed and featuring food and drinks inspired by Silence of the Lambs, Inception, and Se7en. Under the thriller genre umbrella, The Winslow’s version of dinner and a movie breaks down each course into a subgenre: horror, science fiction, and murder mystery respectively.
You don’t need to be Detective Somerset or Mills or even young and upcoming FBI agent Clarice Starling to discover how delectable this is going to be. It will leave your top spinning. It would almost be a deadly sin to miss it. You’re going to want to know what’s inside the box. Cocktails not Chianti will be served. This list of references could go on and on. The creations may be based on horror films, but your taste buds will experience nothing but joy.
First Course: Inception
Tomato, Squash, Eggplant, Parmesan, Almonds
Sotol, verde, lime, bell pepper juice, jalapeño, agave
Second Course: Silence of the Lambs
Lamb Tartare, Fava, Beets
The F. Beet. I.
Midsummer Solstice Hendrick’s Gin, St. George Poached Pear liqueur, Cardamaro, pear puree, beet, lemon
Third Course: Se7en
Pork Belly and Skin, Peach, Tonkatsu
Honey butter washed rye, homemade apple brandy, homemade grenadine.
Even Dr. Hannibal Lector couldn’t fault this team’s flavor profile. With each featured movie playing in the background while you tuck in to each course and sip each cocktail, you’ll be transported. Pauley and Moorhead keep this event very reasonably priced because they want people to be able to afford this level of experience, which you don’t find at this price point anywhere else in NYC. The Winslow duo creates these events under the simple motto, “Would this be something we would want to go to?”
Given their attention to detail, their love for creating new flavors, or complementing classics– the answer from the audience of eaters and drinkers is always a resounding yes.