Giffard Hour: Five Generations of Savoir Faire through Cocktails and Fun Bites
Vancouver Cocktail Week is off to a fine start and having had such a great time at my very first event and VCW Happy Hour, I was excited for today’s slightly larger affair. I am already fairly familiar with the Giffard brand of liqueurs, having attended a competition where local Vancouver bartenders were asked to create an original cocktail with 1 of 3 Giffard flavoured liqueurs, that would pair well with a song that evoked a strong memory for them. It was a great showcase and an amazing introduction to the brand, however, we were only able to try the Giffard grapefruit flavour liqueur on that day, so I was excited to be able to try a more fulsome selection of their offerings today.
For those unfamiliar with the brand, here is a brief introduction as taken from the event description. “Since 1885, when pharmacist Èmile Giffard created the digestif Menthe Pastille, Giffard has been making premium liqueurs and syrups in Angers, France. Today this family-owned business still transforms top-quality botanicals into products used by the world’s top bartenders—from apricot liqueur and almond syrup to Violette and the new Triple Sec.”
This is Giffard Hour hosted by Tableau Bistro. The event was set up in a sectioned off portion of Tableau, by their bar. Admission included 2 drink tickets and an assortment of first come first served canapes. Cocktails were made to order across 4 stations. You could read the description and make your choice or do as we did and try them all. The following is what was made available, each featuring a unique flavour of Giffard liqueur.
The Violet Sky was pretty in purple with Citadelle Jardins D’Ete, Giffard Creme de Violette, Lillet, and Lemon Juice. The finisher is a tuft of purple cotton candy to crown the coupe. The cotton candy was said to be gently flavoured so that it and the sugar added layers to the drink. Surprisingly this was not that sweet. IT was very spirit forward, with a floral essence.
The Caribbean Sour was another cocktail with a finishing touch. Prepared with Giffard Pineapple, Jim Bean Black Label, Lemon Juice, Chocolate Bitters, and Salted Pineapple Foam. The drink is premixed for easy service and the foam is squeezed out of an aerosol can to finish. As is the case with most sours, this egg white mix is what sweetness the drink, balancing out all its tangy citrusy notes.
At the main bar they were topping cocktails with an assortment of candy and dried goods that had the bar looking like a candy shop. Here, we started with the Belle Epoque with Gillard Framboise de Ronce, Beefeater, Pineapple Juice, Lemon Juice, and Angostura Bitters. A single Freeze-Dried Raspberry sitting atop the foamy cocktail was the finishing touch. This was a fruiter cocktail, like a spiked berry punch.
The easiest sipper was the 60 Rue Des Lombards with Giffard Rhubarbe, Reifel Rye, Noilly Prat Extra Dry, Peychaud’s Bitters, Orange Bitters, and Freeze-Dried Rhubarb. You got a slight tartness of rhubarb and only a whisper of alcohol.
My favourite cocktail of the soierre was the La Marea Naranja with Giffard Piment d’Espelette, El Jimador Blanco, Aperol, Orange and Sherry. With its spiced rim it drank savoury and had a similar nuance to a Caesar.
The most creative cocktail was the French 1885 with Giffard Menthe Pastille, Planation 3 Stars, Lemon Juie, Club Soda, and a sugar-coated mint gummy. I have never had a mint flavoured cocktail that did not also include chocolate in the mix. This reminded many of us of mouthwash and is definitely not the cocktail you start the party with, but perhaps the one you have to perk up with. A digestif after a full meal or the start to you sobering up.
As mentioned earlier, small bites were also being passed around the room. The selection included a slice of cucumber topped with an herbed cream cheese. A crispy on the inside and rich in the centre arancini ball. Some beef tartare with parmesan over a crostini.
Deep friend polenta block that looked like and had a similar texture to fried tofu.
Tuna tataki on a crisp with a briny finish thanks to half a green olive.
A pre-dressed fresh oyster.
A classic devil’s egg with caviar topping.
And my favourite, the golden beet with avocado creme and ikura. I liked how well balanced and refreshing it was.
This was such a great time and a fun way to give the regular Happy Hour more life. If you get a chance, be sure to sign up for and attend any of the remaining themed happy hour events for the last few days of Vancouver Cocktail Week 2023. Visit the link below for details.
Tableau Bar Bistro
1181 Melville St, Vancouver, BC V6E 0A3, Canada