We have a winner of our Russell's Smokehouse/Death's Door dinner contest, in which we asked Cafe Society readers to answer this question: How many pounds of organic grain were used in the production of Death's Door spirits -- gin, whiskey and vodka -- sold in Colorado over the past twelve months? Congrats to gabsimonelouise, who guessed 10,120 pounds, just thirty pounds off the actual number of 10,150 pounds. Gabsimonelouise, we'll send you an e-mail with info about how to claim your prize.
Original post: Two years ago, during the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, I was at a party, already at death's door, when I noticed a table of spirits perched next to where I was staggering: ironically, the spirits were actually from a distiller named Death's Door, a Wisconsin-based distillery that makes small-batch gin, vodka and whiskey using all local (and mostly) organic ingredients from Washington Island, a 22-acre shoreline of coves and inlets, knolls and farmland.
My liquor cabinet at home swaggers quite a few bottles of the distillery's gin and whiskey, although I've never had the pork from the pigs that are raised on the distillery's spent mash -- but tomorrow night, both the spirits and the pigs will take center stage at Russell's Smokehouse, Frank Bonanno's barbecue restaurant on Larimer Square.
The multi-course dinner, the dishes of which will be paired with cocktails using Death's Door spirits, is a collaboration among several of Bonanno's chefs and bartenders, including Stephen McCary and Mark Mangold (Mizuna), Burton Koelliker and Holland Rock-Garden (Osteria Marco), Mike Peshek (Lou's Food Bar) and Tim Murphy and Stuart Jensen (Russell's Smokehouse and Green Russell). In addition, Brian Ellison, the president and CEO of Death's Door, will be attendance to talk about his spirits and answer questions.
"I think what's most exciting about this dinner is the idea that the food and cocktails all have an element in common, specifically the grain that goes into the spirits and then feeds the pigs that we'll be featuring on the menu, says Jensen, the bar manager at Green Russell and assistant manager of Russell's Smokehouse. "We have some really talented chefs in our company who are putting a lot of love into their dishes, and the bartenders at Green Russell have been having fun coming up with cocktails that will highlight Death's Door spirits and complement the dishes that they're paired with," he adds.
In order to attend the dinner for free, you'll need to answer this question: How many pounds of organic grain were used in the production of Death's Door spirits -- gin, whiskey and vodka -- sold in Colorado over the past twelve months?
The person who comes the closest to the actual number without going over, will win. To enter, please submit your best guess, your name and a valid e-mail address (if you're already registered with MyVoiceNation, then we have your e-mail; if you're not, then we don't, and without an e-mail address, you can't win) in the comments section below.
We'll announce the winner at 11 a.m. tomorrow. The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m., and seats (they're $75 each, exclusive of tax and gratuity) are still available by calling 720-524-8050.
And in case you're hedging, the menu, showcased below, might change your mind.