Anyone who visited Vandaag during its brief but impressive lifetime no doubt recalls the restaurant’s modernist interior and no-nonsense Dutch cuisine (Sadly, this East Village gem has since shuttered its doors). Add to this a gin that boasts flavor notes derived from botanicals like Lavender, Cardamom, and Indian Sarsaparilla, and you have one heck of a delectable afternoon.
Henrietta is Hungry’s contributing writer Janeviva Uwera was fortunate enough to join Aviation Gin’s charming founders, Christian Krogstad and Ryan Magarian, as they guided a rapt audience through an array of their signature cocktails paired with exquisite small plates from Vandaag’s Northern European menu.
Food and Cocktail Pairings
- Goat prosciutto, Juniper buttermilk curds and Arugula flower : Light fare for a summers day.
- The Bijou Cocktail : Aviation Gin, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Green Chartreuse, Regan’s No.6 Orange Bitters – After taste of vermouth was strong, but this drink went over well with the crowd.
- Field and farm split pea soup, onion smorrebrod, pine : A rich and creamy soup slightly too subtle for my palate.
- The Aviation Cocktail Circa 1916 : Aviation Gin, Luxardo Maraschino Liquer, Rotham and Winter Creme de Violett, freshly pressed lemon juice and simple syrup – My favourite : tart but well-balanced.
- Foraged roots and ‘Shrooms : yellow foot, oyster, ramps, crispy farm egg, ramp borth, spruce / The Corleone : An earthy dish, reminiscent of the foraging movement; good whole foods, with minimal ingredients but a whopper of a taste.
- The Corleone: Green grapes, Aviation Gin, Grappa, freshly pressed lemon juice, simple syrup and Regan’s No.6 Ornage Bitters – A tranquil cocktail with a smooth finish; paired well with the food.
- Pan seared hake : forest and green cardoon, lemon preserve, dandelion sauce paired with The Hemingway Gimlet cocktail – A light dish with citrus undertones that perfectly matched the cocktail.
- The Hemingway Gimlet : Aviation Gin, Luxardo Maraschino Liquer, freshly pressed lime, freshly pressed grapefruit and simple syrup - As any cocktail lover knows, Maraschino liqueur is smooth but sweet. The distinct taste of the marasca cherries makes this an ideal summer cocktail.
- Lamb neck : green tomatoes, grilled spring garlic, sage-juniper jus - Succulent with a perfect balance of garlic and sage.
- The Lady Sage : Aviation Gin, freshly pressed lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white – Least appealing cocktail. More gin, less egg whites would have salvaged it.
- Indo almond flan : spiced caramel, drunken kumquats / The Alaska – Smooth as silk and quite the treat.
- The Alaska: Aviation Gin, Chartreuse and Regan’s No.6 Orange bitters - They saved the best till last! This was my favourite of all the cocktails; a pungent (blame the Chartreuse) but mildly sweet drink with citrus undertones from the bitters.