G and E’s wedding in San Diego was a very special occasion. They both are people who value simplicity and natural design. His craftsmanship was apparent in everything from the candle holders to the handmade trays for passing food and beverages. Gather Events and Occasions was the event planner and designer.
High upon the Southern California coast in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve the event got underway as the sun was setting against the backdrop of a calm ocean.
G and E wished to honor their Japanese heritage by featuring a Japanese inspired cocktail. The cocktail, titled Yuzu Gimlet featured a fresh Yuzu Juice direct imported from Japan, Junmai Sake, and John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, a liqueur made from rum, lime, almond, clove, and sugar. The cocktail was served of shaved, ‘snow’ ice, and topped with a homemade honey Chrysanthemum foam that bled a deep purple gradient into the the bright green yuzu.
To start things off, we featured a pre ceremony table with two non-alcoholic options. The first was a homemade Mugicha, or barley tea. Desiring to deepen the complexity we made tea from lightly roasted, medium roasted, and dark roasted barley and combined them together reaching the color of fresh cream in coffee. The second was a special request in a Ginger Mint Lemonade. To make this one we used Eureka lemons from Peter Shaner of Shaner Farms (based in Point Loma), Ginger, and steeped Maggie’s Mint, a curiously strong varietal that we’ve used for quite some time on a variety of cocktail concepts.
We took advantage of nearby Green Flash Brewery for their celebrated and well known Green Flash IPA which we served in growlers, picked up just hours before the wedding and still ice cold – we also served Scrimshaw Pilsner.
The bar fruit display featured the bounty of fall; cinnamon persimmons, damson plums rhubarb stalks, black cherry tomatos, meyer lemons, and dry farmed apple hybrids (the prized Sierra Beauty, Gold Rush varietals) as well as the rare and delectable Ya Pear or Chinese White Pear, which has notes of rose and pineapple.
The highlight of the bar program was the flight of sake that guest were invited to experience, as well as the education on tasting points, rice polish, and SMV (sake sweetness value) provided behind them by our knowledgeable team.
We Featured Kanchiku Junmai Daiginjo, Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo, and Sho Chiku Bai Toku-Junmai.
After dinner, we debuted a traditional Tea Service. Our tea was selected from Wing Hop Fung, a specialty purveyor in the San Gabriel Valley. We brewed to order Gyokuro Sencha, “Tama Shizuku”. This is the proclaimed ‘Foie Gras’ of green tea, undergoing a special process designed to increase the nitrogen uptake of the plant, resulting in a deeper more concentrated flavor at a lower brewing temperature. Ethereal with kind of like a rich seaweed taste with a slight sweetness – very pleasing mouthfeel. Beneficial for beginning tea drinkers we also featured Queen Pearl of Jasmine from Fujian as another option. While largely unneeded on the tea station were several sweet additions in ginger simple syrup, cranberry sugar, and demerara.
We decided feature an accouterment of roasted pumpkin seeds to go alongside the tea. Our thinking here was that the naturally sedative properties of magnesium in which pumpkin seeds are naturally high, would balance out some of the effects of the caffeine. For a decaffeinated option we offered 2nd and 3rd infusions of the delicate leaves, as they possess a markedly lower caffeine level.
[We source Maggie’s Mint from Nate Pietso of Maggie’s Farm (who just recently welcomed the addition of his first experimental organic wheat crop, that is being stone ground and baked into bread by two of our good friends and coworkers at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.]
Special thanks to Mutual Trading Company’s Toshio Ueno, a Master Sake Sommelier for consulting on the Sake selection and sourcing.