On Wednesday, NOLET’S Gin invited us to a pairing dinner at Fig in Santa Monica. The Nolet family has been distilling spirits in Holland for over three centuries. Best known for Ketel One Vodka, the eleventh generation of the Nolets has set their sights on gin. They start with a secret base of botanicals, then NOLET’S Silver layers the spirit with Turkish rose, peach, and raspberry, all of which are macerated and distilled individually. The fruits and florals makes NOLET’S Silver perfect for cocktails. Even a coffee drink blended flavors seamlessly.
Chef Ray Garcia’s tasting did not disappoint. An amuse bouche of rhubarb and rhubarb seeds with creme fraiche was followed by Gin and Citrus Cured Sea Trout. The trout was reminiscent of gravlax, with an addictive thin outer layer almost like fish boba.
For a main, Fig presented Rosie’s Petaluma Farms Chicken, with the sous vide breasts formed into cubes and topped with a lovely crisp of chicken skin. Someone leaned over to me and asked what we were eating. “Square chicken.” The grand finale, Sticky “Root Beer” Pudding was accompanied by a Root beer and anise float.
Anise was a theme throughout the evening, with “We’ve got the Beet” garnished with anise-studded apple. The mixologist started out by giving the glass a rinse with absinthe, then creating a cocktail based on beet juice and apple syrup. Perhaps the most enjoyable drink of the evening was the “Mandarin Fizz” with lemon juice, mandarine tangerine and eggwhite. The “Palisades Coffee” was a surprise, as you don’t normally expect that combination. The cinnamon was a strong element in marrying the espresso and gin.
We’ve already been through the introduction of sipping tequilas and sipping rums. With NOLET’S roses and fruit flavors, perhaps it’s time to start sipping gin.