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The crowning cocktail taking out first place at QT x Four Pillars cocktail competition this past winter, meet the Gilded Elixir made with QT x Four Pillars very own Gilded Chaos Gin. Designed by QT Auckland’s very own Arish Khadka, Bar Manager of Rooftop at QT and cocktail extraordinaire, the Gilded Elixir is now featured on menus across signature bars throughout QT’s New Zealand hotels. We talk to Arish about the inspiration behind the Gilded Elixir cocktail, and the recipe so you too can make this at home (or visit Rooftop at QT to have one made by Arish himself).
QT: Congratulations on having your creation featured on menus across New Zealand. What was the inspiration behind the cocktail?
Arish: The cocktail was based off the Martinez, a sophisticated and elegant drink that emerged in the mid to late-19th century (very popular during the Gilded Age). As soon as I heard about the Gilded Age themed cocktail competition, the Martinez was the first thing that came to my mind and I decided to do a twist on it.
QT: We love when old-school classics make a comeback with a contemporary twist. Describe what we are experiencing in the flavour profile of the Gilded Elixir.
Arish: Cherry sweetness from the Maraschino liqueur and tangy citrus of verjus; a concoction to complement the aromatic botanicals of the Gilded Chaos Gin. Verjus: meaning “green juice” in French, is a tart, acidic juice made from un-ripe, green grapes. It was used as a souring agent in cooking or substitute for vinegar and lemon juice in culinary ventures during and after the Gilded Age.
QT: The caramelised lemon wheel chip is a standout of the cocktail, what made you use this as a garnish?
Arish: The wheel is to be dissolved into the drink to add natural citrus and sweetness at the choice of the drinker. We sprinkle white sugar evenly on top of a thinly sliced lemon wheel, and blow torch it lightly. We let it sit while preparing the cocktail. By the time the cocktail is ready, you can gently pull off the caramelised sugar from the lemon wheel, which has absorbed it’s citrus.
QT: What food pairing would you recommend with the cocktail?
Arish: I would definitely recommend charcuterie and cheese. Even dark chocolate desserts and seafood.
QT: For those keen to make the drink at home, what are your tips for achieving the perfect balance of flavours in the cocktail?
Arish: Everyone has different tastes. The main aspect of the Gilded Elixir is to balance the flavour as per the choice of the drinker using the caramelised lemon wheel chip. I’m a sweet tooth so I like cocktails on the sweeter side. With the Elixir, if you want it more on the sweeter and a slightly citrus side, dip the caramelised chip into the cocktail and let it dissolve. If not, drink it as it if for the OG taste. Or for some cocktail enthusiasts, I would recommend to drink half of it as it is and dissolve the lemon wheel chip and finish the drink on the sweeter side.
The Recipe: The Gilded Elixir
40ml Four Pillar Gilded Chaos
20ml Buton Maraschino Liqueur
30ml Wright Verjus
1 x Lemon, cut into wheels
1. Pour the maraschino liquor and verjus in a mixing glass over ice, stir for 20 seconds then double strain in a Nick & Nora glass.
2. Sprinkle sugar onto a lemon slice and torch it gently to caramelise the sugar. Place a skewer into the lemon slice for ease of mixing into the drink.
3. Add the garnish to the glass and mix in to add sweetness as you desire.
Stir, strain and sip the Gilded Elixir at home by purchasing our QT x Four Pillars Gilded Chaos Gin here
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