Two new Wine and Food Festival spirit tasting events were introduced on Saturday. Over at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, guests learned all about the important elements that make up the award-winning Hendrick’s Gin. Hendrick’s ambassador Jim Ryan and mixologist Charolotte Voisey had everyone smell and taste every step of the process that they could legally smuggle into the country. We’re talking blends from two different stills and all the botanicals that go into making the gin.

  • Arrangement of Hendrick’s Gin Components

Along the way, four cocktails were shaken and served. The Clockwork Orange consisted of blood Hendrick’s gin, blood orange liquer, orange juice, orange bitters, and orange zest — obviously an orange lover’s dream come true.

  • Clockwork Orange

The setting in the Palmer ampitheater couldn’t have been better, being a classroom and all. The same could not be said about the Nectar of the Gods pulque, mezcal, and tequila tasting at Taco Boy on Huger Street. Because of the rain, everyone was crammed into a long narrow section of the extremely loud dining room. There was no PA system so only those sitting within ten feet of the liquid chef, Junior Merino, could hear what he had to say.

  • The Liquid Chef

It wasn’t too long before everyone gave up on trying to read Junior’s lips and started tipping back each of the seven samples of tequila and mezcal.

  • Tequila and Mezcal

The staff at Taco Boy was nice enough to bring out chips and and salsa samplers for the guests to snack on between each shot, and towards the end two cocktails were provided. The better of the two was the El Angel, which has been named the official cocktail of Mexico.

  • El Angel

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