Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gin Blossom in Brooklyn

I was passing by LeNell's, the idiosyncratic and well-worth-visiting wine and liquor store in Red Hook, the other day when I was accosted by a man in wool pants, white shirt, suspenders and wool cap, beckoning to me in a put-on English accent to come in and try some Hendrick's Gin. The pitch was hokey, to say say the least, and not at all the sort of style one associates with LeNell's, which is a reserved, fairly serious shop. But, I thought, what the hey: free Gin.

Inside, serving up two different Hendrick's based cocktails, was none other than Charlotte Voisey, the famous (in her circle), award-winning London bartendress who recently move to New York and now represents a variety of name liquors including Glenfiddich, Milagro Tequila and Henrick's. Depsite her many achievements, it is perhaps fair to say that, in addition to her mixology skills, Voisey is also well known for being extremely pretty. LeNell's advertised the event as being hosted by the "gorgeous Charlotte Voisey" and the hawker outside the shop said "come in and meet the beautiful Charlotte Voisey." What can you say? She is attractive. But she is also unfailingly polite and just plain nice, making her quite approachable. And she knows her drinks, no question.

Both drinks she mixed up were good, but the more memorable was the Cucumber Collins, a take on a Tom Collins which brought out the cucumber flavorings in Hendrick's.

Voisey will be hosting several events at the upcoming Tales of the Cocktail spirits convention in New Orleans this July, including one in which she will be joined on the dais by the southern-born, tough-talking Tonya "LeNell" Smothers. Two more different women I can not imagine. Should make for a fun panel. I look forward to attending.

LeNell's own Red Hook Rye is back in stock, by the way. I missed it last time around, but intend to buy a bottle this year, if I can scrape up the necessary jack. Small batch spirits do not come cheap.

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