Thursday night, the monthly latte art competition-slash-excuse for a party Thursday Night Throwdown (TNT) was hosted by Big Bear Cafe. Hosting rotates each month among various coffeeshops in the area, but with Big Bear’s roomy space and patio, convenient location, and burgeoning beer and cocktail program many attendees noted this was one of the highest turn-outs for a TNT in a long time.
Any cute kid who makes your latte anywhere in the DC area was there, probably with bits of espresso grounds under their fingernails. My hair smelled like coffee by the time I left. However, this will not be a column about coffee. Because, like everyone else in attendance, I was not there to actually drink coffee – I just came for the booze. (Even the competition’s judges just look at the drinks.)
With the space packed with coffee people and friends and the space behind the bar dominated by the competition itself, no one would have minded had the host cafe stuck to offering just a few beers for people to slurp down, but staff instead took the opportunity to show off the cocktail skills they have been developing there with a short list of special drinks for the occasion.
One of my favorite day-time spots, I had been meaning to get over to Big Bear for evening drinks for some time. They have been posting alluring Twitters about classic and inventive drinks. For TNT, they offered two new creations, easy to drink in the warm room, but with sophisticated flavors.
The Lazy Bear is a combination of rum, rye, honey, lime juice, and bitters. For visual appeal and aroma, the ice-filled rocks glass was sprinkled with sage leaves and blossoms (which had made a previous appearance at the cafe during lunch, atop a chilled zucchini soup). The combination of the rum and rye was flavorful and the honey and lime balanced each other very well – leaving the drink neither too sweet nor too acidic. It was the fragrance from the sage bits which really delighted me, though, adding a green and savory quality to a light, bright cocktail.
I did see someone eat the flower from their drink and they assured me they are completely edible – and I know it is what Jenn would have done. Still, I busied myself with sipping down the fluid and kind of forgot about nibbling on my botanicals. Perhaps I will remember to do that next time.