Home » Cocktail Demo with Audrey Saunders during NYCE 2016

Cocktail Demo with Audrey Saunders during NYCE 2016

Audrey Saudners - photo by Luxury Experience
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Audrey Saunders, the owner of New York’s esteemed Pegu Club, dazzled the audience with her Cocktail Demo during lunch at the New York Culinary Experience (NYCE) 2016 hosted by New York magazine and The International Culinary Center (ICC), where participants in the 2-day gastronomical event had the opportunity to add to their cocktail knowledge as well as cooking with renowned toques. Cheers!

For 2016, the New York Culinary Experience decided to do something different during lunchtime, with interesting demos to pair with gourmet box lunches. On Saturday, the renowned chocolatier Jacques Torres gave a demonstration on creating a chocolate sculpture, and after spending Sunday morning, April 17, 2016 taking culinary classes, we enjoyed celebrating the art of the cocktail with Audrey Saunders. Known affectionately and endearingly to fellow cocktailians as “The Libation Goddess,” Audrey Saunders is someone who not only thrives and excels at her craft, she is also an educator who loves to share her knowledge and her passion.

Trained by uber master mixologist Dale DeGroff, Audrey has honed her craft and elevated the art of cocktails since 1995 by simplifying her method of approach, creating her own ingredients, and presenting them with style. We have known Audrey Saunders for more than 10 years working with her at industry events and we are always surprised and excited to see what she will create. In 2005, she opened Pegu Club, the award winning lounge that continues to set new levels for cocktail excellence.

Cocktail Shaker - Audrey Saunders Class - photo by Luxury ExperienceGet ready to “Shake It Up” with Audrey

During her 90-minute lunchtime cocktail demo she talked about bar tools including jiggers, various types of shakers, how to use a Boston shaker, (glass and metal shaker) what basic tools you need for a home bar and how to use them, demystified the preparation of cocktails, demonstrated how to create simple syrup, created cocktails which students had the opportunity to sample including the classic cocktail, the Old Cuban, and provided delicious recipes to make at home.

One of the most helpful visuals of the class was what she referred to as her, “Mr. Potato Head Recipe Chart,” which showed the similarities and differences between cocktails that allows you to easily build your cocktail knowledge and repertoire. The chart was easy to remember and very approachable.

For example, do you love Margaritas (tequila, lime juice, triple sec) but want to try something slightly different? Try a Sidecar (cognac, lemon juice, triple sec), or a Lemon Drop (citrus vodka, lemon juice, triple sec). What’s the difference between a Gin Sour and a Tom Collins; the addition of club soda.

A Few Examples from Audrey Saunders’
“Mr. Potato Head Recipe Chart”

Gin Sour
Lemon Juice
Simple Syrup
Tom Collins
Lemon Juice
Simple Syrup
Club Soda
French 75
Lemon Juice
Simple Syrup
Whiskey Sour
Lemon Juice
Simple Syrup
Pisco Sour
Pisco Brandy
Lemon Juice
Simple Syrup
Egg White + Bitters
Side Car
Lemon Juice
Triple Sec
Lime Juice
Triple Sec

Audrey loves gin for its great diversity, stating, “Gin on its own is most versatile, is most elegant on the palate that you cannot achieve with other spirits.” Why? “Gin cuts through the fat whereas other spirits do not. The botanicals fire your palate.”

When creating gin cocktails, she advises to think about what flavor profiles you want to achieve, as gin varies from distiller to distiller. As examples, Plymouth Gin has lower proof, soft botanicals with a delicate profile, whereas Beefeater Gin and Tanqueray Gin are higher proof. Beefeater Gin has more orange and citrus botanicals than other gins, and Tanqueray Gin has more juniper elements. It is important to match botanicals with the gin you use when creating cocktails; Plymouth Gin would be a nice complement to mix with Lillet, for a Negroni try Beefeater Gin mixed with Campari, and Tanqueray with its stronger elements goes well in lemon juice based cocktails.

Cocktails - Audrey Saunders Class - photo by Luxury ExperienceCocktail Time

Audrey is a strong proponent of using fresh juices and making her own ingredients including simple syrup and ginger beer. She graciously shares her recipe for Ginger Beer for you to make and enjoy and home.

Audrey Saunders Ginger Beer Recipe
Yield: 1 Cup

Ginger Beer Ingredients  

1 Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Ginger, finely grated
0.5 Teaspoon Lime Juice
1 Teaspoon Light Brown Sugar

Method: Boil water, add ginger. Bring back to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1-hour. Strain through a fine strainer, pushing down on ginger solids to extract ginger essence. Add lime juice and light brown sugar. Stir. Bottle and refrigerate.

More Tips from Audrey Saunders:

Keep Vermouth in the refrigerator.

Do not use tiny chip ice as they melt quickly and add water when you shake them with egg whites. Also, if you shake really well with good ice, you will create natural foam without the use of egg whites.

Liquor Bottles - Audrey Saunders Class - photo by Luxury ExperienceBottle Selection

Simple ratio to remember when creating cocktails:

Strong (Spirits) Sweet (Simple
Syrup, Triple Sec)
Sour (Lemon/
Lime Juice)
1.5 – 2 ounces 0.75 – 1 ounce 0.75 ounce

After a class with Audrey Saunders we were so excited that we immediately wanted to head home and start making simple syrups, ginger beer, and creating a few cocktails! Cheers!

Dorothy Cann-Hamilton, Audrey Saunders Class - photo by Luxury ExperienceICC Founder & CEO Dorothy Cann-Hamilton and
Audrey Saunders

Want to learn more from Audrey Saunders, you can take 2-week intensive cocktail classes at her school in Seattle, Washington. In the meantime, when in New York City, visit her lounge, Pegu Club for well-crafted cocktails and a graciously hip ambience, located at 77 West Houston Street, 2nd floor. New York, New York 10012.

New York MagazineWant more information on the next NYCE? For more information about the New York Culinary Experience, contact Stephanie Fray at nyce@nymag.com or +1-646-314-4413.

For information on taking classes throughout the year with the excellent chef instructors at The International Culinary Center at their New York, California, or Italian Campuses, please visit the website: www.InternationalCulinaryCenter.com

Location and Information

Internaitonal Culinary Center

The International Culinary Center
462 Broadway
New York, New York 10013
United States
Toll-Free Telephone:     +1-888-324-2433

The International Culinary Center of California
700 West Hamilton Avenue
Campbell, California 95008
United States
Toll-Free Telephone:     +1-866-318-2433
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