Polo Insider: Q&A With Innovators of Polo's Cocktails and Cuisine
August 03, 2012 | Talk of the Town
Caviar has long been a preferred dish for the elite, but what of modernizing it? Owner Alexandra Kline and the team behind Pointy Snout Caviar have redesigned the dish from overly stuffy to of-the-moment, even sourcing its sturgeon using eco-friendly best practices. Bolstering the brand’s cutting-edge image is its sponsorship of the 2012 Bridgehampton Polo season and partnership with the French-based Experimental Cocktail Club. In this week’s edition of my six-part Polo series, Kline shares her inspirations, fun conversation-starters on caviar, and the secret behind the Opening Day drink that complemented Pointy Snout.
Alexandra, can you give us a little background on Pointy Snout Caviar and how it came to be?
ALEXANDRA KLINE: We were sitting on a beach in Lamu. We thought about caviar, and immediately wanted to redefine it. Why not make it an everyday pleasure—fun, easy, and accessible? Why not do away with rules and stuffy decorum? And, for a counterintuitive punch, do something good for the planet? So, we regard the sturgeon, and we regard the environment.
Tell us more about your partnership with the Experimental Cocktail Club, and why you thought it would be a great fit for Bridgehampton Polo Club this year.
AK: We met Romee de Goriainoff and his ECC colleagues over a year ago, and recognized each other as fellow travelers. Beyond their evident charisma, we love ECC’s aesthetic—call it a reinvention of tradition with verve and style. It completely resonates with what we’re doing with caviar, and we knew we would be a perfect match for the polo season. For the VIP tent, we created a purposeful environment. In homage to the ECC’s London venue, we built a bar that envelops a 1941 Steinway piano; we imported three 1930’s Kuba ceremonial “skirts” as its backdrop; we incorporated a 1920’s industrial cart as the back-bar. The whole idea represents how more and more people will enjoy our caviar in the future. In mid-September, we’ll be launching Pointy Snout Caviar in Paris at two ECC-owned venues—the Beef Club and La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels.
Romee, for those that are not familiar, can you give us a little history on The Experimental Cocktail Club and what fans of your divine cocktails will see next in your growing empire?
ROMEE DE GORIAINOFF: In 2007, Paris had no real cocktail scene to match other cities like London, New York, and Tokyo. So, I partnered with two friends of mine—Olivier Bon and Pierre-Charles Cros to fill that void. We opened the first Experimental Cocktail Club in Paris, later expanding to London in 2010 and to New York this past April. ECC is all about inventive drinks made with fresh ingredients and top spirits; housemade infusions that are unique and understated.
Alexandra, can you give us an in-the-know fact about caviar that will make us look good at a cocktail party?
AK: Some anecdotes on caviar:
-An 1808 Dictionary of Food—The Source of Health describes caviar as having aphrodisiacal effects that are “exciting to the blood.”
-A 16th century recipe for “sturgeon roe baked in poppy seed milk” claims it is a “blood-agitating substance.”
-At the turn of the 20th century, sturgeon were plentiful in the Hudson River, and were thought to be a “nuisance fish.” Thus, caviar was given away at bars throughout Manhattan—the modern-day equivalent of peanuts.
-The more recent idea that caviar should be reserved exclusively for Tsars and rich people is an invention of marketers. In some parts of the world, families eat caviar in the normal course of life—at the beach or on weekend picnics.
I know your recipes stay under lock and key, but can you give us an idea of some of the ingredients you choose to pair with Pointy Snout Caviar?
AK: This is the recipe for the drink we served at Opening Day for polo this season:
5 centiliter Fair Vodka
2 centiliter elderflower cordial
2 centiliter lemon juice
1 lemongrass peel
2 basil leaves, chopped
1 lemongrass stick
Combine vodka, elderflower cordial, lemon juice, and the lemongrass peel with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a coupe. Garnish with the chopped basil and the lemongrass stick.
Note: 1 centiliter is 1/3 fluid ounce, or 2 teaspoons
Stay tuned every week during polo season on hamptons-magazine.com for a new Insider Polo Q&A.