In the calm before the storm (what? there’s another blizzard coming?), we were able to take a breather and have a little fun out of the house on a day when the brown/green grass was just starting to show itself again.
Good times were had last night at Wisdom Cocktail Parlour in SE DC. Guests who arrived with an ingrained hatred for the taste of gin were quick and surprising converts to the smooth and simple pairing of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.
Cocktails in hand, the near-sellout crowd was buzzing with the talk of juices and liquors — with occasional pleas for another educational happy hour mixed-in. It was a moment of true concentration on and excitement for the subject at hand, with no fear or discussion of impending snow.
Do you like it tart or sweet? Dry or long? Erik, the owner and bartender of the place, held court throughout the evening in the couch-filled and velvet curtain-draped nooks to explain the art of the cocktail.
I loved hearing Erik’s passion for how to mix different cocktails and how to make it more of an art form. He talked about how he wants to make cocktails so that people aren’t just drinking but really enjoying their drinks. To be honest, I was actually overwhelmed by it. I don’t know that I could make any of these at home. But I think that was his point, that you come out to a place where somebody really knows how to make them well and do a cool spin on different cocktails. — Guest, Claudia - “The Hill is Home“
Easily demonstrating his intense passion for, interest in, and love of cocktails, Erik sat down with each of the night’s guests to talk about flavors, ingredients, pairings, and how to pick the right combination for your taste.
I discovered the Masquerade drink tonight. It was great! I had never thought about having a cocktail with chocolate shavings in it. It’s a nice place. I’ll be back. – Guest, Ben
Wisdom’s detailed menu even includes a scale system that he invented to help explain the flavor profile of his creations to his clientele.
I love that this is an interactive experience whenever I come here, even if Erik isn’t here. I’ve always had a very positive experience with the bar staff. The first time I was here I actually mis-ordered. It was totally my fault. I made the mistake, and they replaced it for free! — Guest, Nichole - “The Hill is Home“
Erik went above and beyond to speak with everyone about their interests. When he wasn’t involved in an intense, in-depth conversation with a small group, he was mingling and recommending specific drinks for each person. Guests started the night as amateur cocktail drinkers and left with the wisdom to find a better cocktail for their taste.
Erik is extremely knowledgeable about his liquor. He has opened a comfortable establishment for cocktails. I had the Pears of Wisdom cocktail. The scale that he’s developed is actually pretty accurate. If you don’t know exactly what you want or you don’t drink a lot of cocktails, it’s easy to come in here and say – “Here are the things that I like. What fits my palette?” — Guest, Jason
We’re ready for this blizzard weather to blow on out of town, too. Thanks to everyone for joining in last night - and most especially thanks to our readers and fans. We loved hanging out with all of you and can’t wait to start planning our next shindig to unite us in warm, spring weather!
And a sincere thanks to Erik at Wisdom for his passion for cocktails – which also caused him to lose his voice. And to Chris Rief (aka Spodie Odie) for the incredible photos from last night; we know the mood lighting didn’t make your job very easy!