Research suggests memories are retained longer if more than one sense is activated during an experience. With this in mind, Scapegrace Distillery invited media guests, social media influencers, and liquor business pros to participate in a botanical, color-specific, multisensory gastronomic journey for the U.S. product launch of its New Zealand-made premium spirit.
Held in May, the scenic setting for the event was the verdant outdoor garden venue at downtown Los Angeles’ Redbird restaurant within the historic Vibiana event complex, a lauded adaptive reuse of the former Cathedral of St. Vibiana and its grounds. (The singular outdoor venue accommodates 96 seated or up to 200 standing.) Dinner was under the expert culinary direction of Redbird’s chef and owner Neal Fraser, while Bar Director Tobin Shea handled the creative cocktails.
Exploring the nature of color was the evening’s engaging premise and inspiration for the flavorful and multihued dishes and craft cocktails. All were designed specifically for the six-course tasting menu served to 50 guests.
The night began among the blooming vegetable and flower garden beds with the purple-hued All Black Cocktail: a well-balanced mixture of Scapegrace Black Gin, lemon, and Curaçao liqueur. Once guests were seated under a canopy of heat lamps and olive trees, the colors of the overhead lighting changed with each course, as did the bespoke cocktails.
A Study in Blue cocktail (Scapegrace Black Gin, Butterfly Pea flower, white vermouth, blue Curaçao liqueur, Fernet-Branca liqueur, and lemon essence) complemented the seafood entree—a John Dory filet with morel mushrooms surrounded by white asparagus that had been dyed blue.
An Instagram-ready tableau laid out all the elements found in the small-batch gin (including pineapple and sweet potato), an appropriate visualization and tactile rendering of Scapegrace’s botanical ingredients. Another table was covered in a canopy of green ferns serving as a photo-ready backdrop for the elegantly shaped dark bottles. Scapegrace Black Gin uniquely pours out black, but when it’s mixed with tonic and/or citrus, it transforms from noir to a light lavender. Drinks that change color? That’s every influencer’s dream and a memorable finale to the night when participants poured tonic into a tall cocktail glass for their last picture-perfect cocktail.