Not every great chef is on the Food Network – we believe there are many awesome individuals cooking adventurously in their homes, for their friends and families, every day. We like the idea of meeting and experiencing different kitchen cultures first hand. So we decided to host a series of events where we get to hang out with a guest chef or food blogger who acts as our muse. The guest chef chooses a DRY pairing menu and gets to invite their friends over for a dinner on the house. Everyone wins!
To kick off this event series, we started small. We just wanted to have a great night, with great drinks, great food, and a few great people. We knew Amber Kercmar of “Loves Food, Loves to Eat,” from even before she had a cameo on DRY’s highlight on the Food Network’s Unwrapped (and we quote, “DRY really takes ‘soda’ to the next level!”). We were honored to ask Amber to work with us on our inaugural meal of the series and she graciously accepted. She got to planning the menu and guest list right away – she invited some friends and even Sharelle, DRY’s CEO and Founder, joined the party.
Rather than have us tell you what happened, we’ll let Mrs. Kercmar do the talking. We asked her a couple questions, and here is what she said:
Why did you decide to do the dinner?
The two things I love most about cooking are getting creative with fresh flavors and fun combinations, and bringing people together over good food, drinks, and conversation. This dinner party was an opportunity to do both! I love a good kitchen challenge, so I was really excited about developing a fully-paired menu. Also, I’m a big fan of supporting local companies, and I happen to think Seattle is the greatest place on Earth, so hosting a DRY dinner party was a no-brainer!
What’s unique about DRY?
DRY is a mix of fun and sophistication—everyone can get behind classic (yet elevated) flavors like Blood Orange and Vanilla Bean, but then there’s something extra special and intriguing about flavors like Juniper Berry and Rhubarb. I love that balance… it’s the way I approach food: nachos and donuts one day, fresh oysters and roasted bone marrow the next!
What’s your favorite DRY pairing?
My favorite DRY pairing is super simple: Lavender DRY paired with a decked out cheese plate.* The floral, herbaceous flavor of Lavender DRY goes so well with a variety of cheeses, crackers, nuts, honey, and berries. A lot of times I’ll add a lavender element to a cheese plate (like lavender honey), so moving that component from the plate to your glass is super fun!
Favorite booze to mix with DRY or favorite DRY cocktail?
Cucumber DRY + Gin (Hendricks is my go-to) + a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, maybe with a few blackberries thrown in for good measure. The DRY team also whipped up some really impressive cocktails at the dinner party… something with St-Germain that tasted fruity and amazing!
What were you thinking about as you planned your menu?
For dinner parties and menu planning, I always think about what flavors pair well together and what dishes will make a well-rounded, satisfying meal.
*Cheese Plate, paired with Lavender DRY.
Pea Pesto and Ricotta Crostinis, paired with Cucumber DRY. Peas, mint, and lemon are so bright and fresh, so it sounded like the perfect way to get everyone in a springy mood!
Garlic Rosemary Chicken Roasted with Fennel and Baby Potatoes, paired with Juniper Berry DRY. Roasting chicken is about as simple as it gets, yet if you do it right, guests will always be impressed! These flavors go well together, and the Juniper Berry DRY has a slight sweetness that brings out the savory notes in the chicken.
Ice Cream Floats, DRY Style: I set up a self-serve ice cream soda bar, so that everyone could have fun, get a little creative, and play with their own DRY flavor pairings. We had coconut, vanilla, ginger, and coffee ice cream, paired with Vanilla Bean and Rhubarb DRY.
What was it like to have Sharelle at your house?
Sharelle is fun and outgoing, so she was a welcome addition to my dinner party! I was a little nervous since I was showcasing her drinks, and I wanted to make sure my menu did the flavors justice, but I think she enjoyed the meal and pairings! (she did.)
What’s that? You want her recipes? Well you’ll just have to visit her blog, “Loves Food, Loves to Eat” to get them.
We already can’t wait until our summer dinner. We’ll let you know when we decide who’s hosting.