An evening of cocktails and fine dining at Arbour with Elemental Distillers

Ben Leggett, spirits guru

I’m used to going to dinners that match posh food with snazzy wines. But on Saturday night it was time for something different. Arbour restaurant, the top fine dining destination in the Marlborough region, hosted Ben Leggett of Elemental Distillers for an evening of cocktail and food matching. Ben already sells a range of bitters, and will soon be selling his Marlborough ‘Roots’ gin. We began the evening with a classic G&T made with this. Then it was on to a multi course meal with dishes chosen to match five different cocktails. Both the food and the cocktails were memorable. It’s so nice to see professionals on top of their game cooperate like this.

The bitters

Forgotten Orchard
Roots gin, cucumber, apple, jasmine, yuzu, Roots Grapefruit and Hop bitters

Crayfish, octopus, cucumber, buttermilk

Chelsea Rose
Roots gin, vintage rose syrup, orange, lemon, Roots Grapefruit and Hop bitters

Swordfish, vadouvan, yoghurt, cauliflower

Fairhall Shrub
Roots gin, damson, rhubarb, spice, balsamic, Roots Blackberry and Balsamic bitters

Smoked pork jowl, ruby beets, parsnip cream

Antico Negro
Roots gin, Campari, PX Sherry, Italian amaro (Fernet Branca), oak

Wild venison, sunchoke, mushroom, hazelnut

Petit Bisou
Cognac, ginger liqueur, citrus and fig leaf foam, Roots Blackberry and Balsamic bitters

Spiced tea cake, fig leaf crème, blackberry sorbet

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