The Queen Mary, Long Beach’s iconic ship, has announced the newest in their acclaimed Barrel Series Dinners, to be held on Thursday, August 27. This dinner will be a fun, interactive event, the Mixology Dinner. Twain Screiber, Director of Food and Beverage for the Queen Mary, spoke about what is going to make this evening so special.
So Twain, the Queen Mary has an event coming up?
It’s a mixology dinner. In the past we’ve done the Jack Daniels Dinner, the rum and whiskey dinners and so on. I thought about this one long and hard and said, ‘Let’s have some fun with something different’. When you look at what’s hot these days it is the craft cocktails, so let’s have some fun with that. So I paired up with Infinium Spirits which is Crystal Head Vodka and Zaya Rum and other premium spirits. We thought we’d do something different with some classy cocktails. So the idea of this is that people will come in, get a cocktail, have some hors d’oeuvres and sit down. Then this is where the fun comes in. I am selecting four mixologists, they have all submitted videos of why they should be one of my four mixologists.
How will this all work?
TS: That night, they will come in, Iron Chef style and we will draw out of a hat a course that each one will get. So each one will draw a course; first course, second course, third course, fourth course. And then they go into the hat again and they will draw a liquor. For example, I draw the first course and I draw Zaya Rum. Now I need to come up with a cocktail that predominently as the main ingredient is Zaya Rum. That’s my spirit. Now I have to make my cocktail. So everyone has a couple minutes to get the ingredients together, go raid the pantry and then they will stand up on the stage and they’re going to do a show. They need to make a show AND make a cocktail! Then everybody’s going to get a cocktail and their first course and enjoy it.
Everyone will have a ballot. Each ballot will have up to five points for showmanship, up to five points for the taste and up to five points for the pairing. So how it paired with the food, how the drink tasted and how they showed their skills on the stage. The winning mixologist gets $2,000 in cold, hard cash! Everybody sitting in the audience gets to make the decision who wins. A simple concept! It’s going to be so much fun in my opinion as a mixologist that I would whoop and holler and get the crowd into it. I don’t want to just be a lame duck standing up there, I want to get the crowd into it. It’ll be fun!
There’s a renaissance with mixed drinks. How important is the mixologist in that?
I look at it like this—anyone can make a Manhattan. You can make a Manhattan, I can make a Manhattan. You can go anyplace and gert a Manhattan. I’m just using the Manhattan as an example—-it’s probably one of the best cocktails ever made. You can do a twist on a Manhattan, an ever-so-slight twist on it that’s going to make it unique. And that’s exactly why a good mixologist is like a chef. A truly great chef and a truly great mixologist in my opinion are really the same thing. Why? Anyone can put something in a glass and drink it. You can drink Jack and Coke, you can drink rum and Coke. But making something that’s unique and just a little bit different with just that little touch of whatever it is that sets you apart from everyone else, that’s where the mixologist comes in. In my opinion, when they are that creative, they’re brilliant.
With the classic feel of the Queen’s Salon, the location of the event, will we be expecting some classic cocktails?
We’ll talk to the guys, once we select them, we’re going to bring them on board so they can see the space and where they are. We’re going to make recommendations. I can’t promise, but if they’re going to look at the location, get the look and feel, look over there, well…I looked at some of the applications already and some of the applications we’ve got already, they’ve tried to steer it around something about the Queen Mary. When you look at our regular cocktail list we’ve got a lot of cocktails from the time period. So we would like something that kind of has that feel, but again, I’m giving them complete creative freedom. I don’t expect to see a martini unless it is something really unique, I don’t expect to see a Cosmopolitan. I expect to see something new, different, special and will be something that will win them $2,000 in cold hard cash.
How about the cigar part of the evening?
We’ll have cigars after the last course and we’ve got a great cigar roller for that night. She’s going to do Foundry cigars. The whole concept with Foundry cigars is that they are craft cigars and they are modeled after the ones in Steampunk so they roll them with a gear and that’s the ring, it’s metal. It’s a reverse teardrop and an amazing cigar. Then we have a gal named Lupe from General Cigars and she’s going to be rolling cigars, a made-to-order kind of thing.
The Queen Mary’s Mixology Dinner looks to be a very special evening for guests and mixologists alike. The food should be exceptional, since Executive Chef Todd Henderson has prepared a menu designed to work well with top-tier cocktails. Courses will include Pork Belly with Umbriacho Grits and Miso Nage as well as Caramelized Black Cod with a Horseradish Parsnip Mousse and Salted Apricot Dressing. After a selection of passed hors d’oevures and cocktails is enjoyed, guests will sit down to a delicious first course of Potato Latkes with Smoked Trout, Creme Fraiche and Caviar. The fourth course will be an Opera Terrine with a Golden Stracciatella Chocolate Egg.
Of course, it would not be a Barrel Series Dinner without cigars on the Verandah Deck of the Queen Mary and with a choice of exquisite Foundry Cigars or special General hand-rolled cigars, this should be an excellent capper to the evening. Standing on the deck, enjoying the view across the water to the Long Beach skyline, the upcoming Mixology Dinner will indeed be a special night for all and an especially good night for the mixologist chosen as the cash award winner by all the guests at the Barrel Series Mixology Dinner. With all the good food, cocktails and fun though, everyone will be a winner!
Mixology Dinner August 27, 2015 at 6pm in the Queen’s Salon PH: (877) 342-0738