Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Bistro Bohem

I have been hooked on Bistro Bohem since the I first went there for a job interview (for this job actually). I love everything about the place, It’s a bar and a restaurant and a cafe and a late night spot and a brunch spot and a pretty-much-whatever-time-of-day-spot all in one. They have good, cheap, hearty food, a great tea selection, everyone I’ve met on staff is really, really friendly, and some of the drinks I’ve never even heard of before. Bavorak, Beton (Czech for concrete)? Sure! But the drink that first caught my eye was the Becherovka Old Fashioned.

I have a bit of a love affair with amaro-based Old Fashioneds; Campari-gin, Fernet-bourbon, sometimes I just want to sip something strong and bitter. No surprise then that I immediately noticed Bistro Bohem’s Becherovka Old Fashioned. It’s a mix of Becherovka, Bols oude genever, and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, all muddled with a lemon (bye bye, winter weather blues). Don’t worry If you’ve never tried Becherovka. It’s a rather uncommon ingredient in cocktails because not many people know what the heck it is. Actually, no one does – the recipe for this spirit is a closely guarded secret. Continue reading

Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Lion’s Share Cider at Tryst

I was asked recently what I consider my guilty pleasure drink. I didn’t know what to say. Most of the time I’m drinking rather straightforward drinks. I like to get a little extravagant sometimes and experiment a bit, but I wouldn’t consider that a guilty pleasure. That I reserve for marshmallow vodka or whiskey from a plastic jug. I thought about it and decided that the closest thing I have to a guilty pleasure is day drinking. Even when I had a more traditional 9 to 5 style job I had a tendency to mix up a sherry cocktail before I made my way into work. It was how I got my morning OJ.

Before brunch cocktails became a weekend staple, I had such a hard time cajoling my friends to commit to serious day drinking. Bottomless Bloodies, Mimosas and Bellinis are some of the greatest things to happen to recent cocktail culture. Now it’s suddenly trendy and it’s not just me and Hemmingway drinking Daiquiris at ten in the morning. And thankfully cocktails for brunch are such a big thing in DC. Working as much as I do, I’d never get a chance to go out for a nice cocktail if it wasn’t for brunch. Which is exactly why I hoofed it across town to Tryst on a Sunday morning, to get my day drinking on (the food was good too).

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Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Mezcal, Los Spirits de Muertos

As a native New Englander there’s no time of year that I enjoy more than autumn and, hands down, the best part of the season is Halloween. No question about it. When you’re young, you get to dress up like a monster and get free candy for it. How amazing is that? Then, when you’re an adult, you get to use it as an excuse to go out drinking at inappropriate times–got work on Friday morning? Who cares!–and dress as ridiculously as you can financially and imaginatively afford. That being said, I’ve always had a fascination with the Day of the Dead too. Maybe it’s because my mother was a Spanish teacher for over twenty-five years, and each year she would set up her little sugar skulls and Catrinas around Halloween. I’ve always been intrigued by the holiday and wished that more people celebrated it. So this week we’re doing a tribute to seasonal cocktails and Dia de Muertos. And to me that means we’re doing mezcal (whoops!).

If you’ve never had it, mezcal is a little spirit that comes from the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Similar to tequila, it’s distilled from agave (albeit a different species, but that’s a bit too wonky for now), the primary difference is that the hearts of the agave plants are roasted for three days in ovens dug into the ground, which imparts this beautiful, earthy, smoky flavor. Continue reading

Friday Happy Hour: Chartreuse-Fernet


I am having a hard time imagining the origins of this drink. I think it would have to have gone something like this:

“Hey, what do bartenders like to drink? Chartreuse and Fernet? Okay then, pour both of those into a glass and add vermouth and bitters for good measure!”

Eventually everyone in the industry, bartenders and voracious cocktail drinkers of Hemingway-esque proportions alike, will find themselves in a rut. It’s at times like this that you find yourself doing strange and frightening things, like ordering vodka on the rocks, when what you really need is to go back to your roots and rediscover what you’re passionate about. There aren’t many things that will excite jaded bartenders, but Green Chartreuse and Fernet Branca are near the top of that list.

Look at respected institutions like Range on Wisconsin Avenue and Canon in Seattle, winner of Tales of the Cocktail World’s Best Drink Selection, and veteran haunts like Bar Pilar on 14th Street NW. Range and Canon have Green Chartreuse on tap and Bar Pilar has a Fernet Branca tap. Why on tap? Because why the heck not? They enjoy enough of it, they might as well reserve a tap line for ye olde “Bartender’s Handshake.” But this is not just a drink for bartenders. Somewhere between the equal parts of Green Chartreuse, Fernet Branca, Martini and Rosso sweet vermouth, and a few spirited dashes of aromatic bitters, everyone comes together and mellows each other out.

On the menu at Firefly on New Hampshire Ave NW, the flavor text reads “for the lion-hearted drinker,” but this drink is a big pussy cat. Don’t get me wrong, when I had the chance to get an early look at the new cocktail menu, this drink jumped right out at me and screamed “bartender porn.” Continue reading

Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Pineapple Cardamom Gin Rickey

A hot, humid, rainy evening. An Indonesian evening, without the benefit of actually being in Indonesia. I was rushing from the Silver Spring metro, pushing my cyborg heart to the limit in a race to get to Jackie’s Sidebar in a break between Fringe shows. I arrived drenched. If ever I needed “air-conditioning in a glass,” otherwise known as the Rickey, it was then.

I’d never been to Sidebar, and I felt a bit ashamed of that as I spilled into its cool, dark interior. Sidebar has a quirky, kitschy feel with black walls, chandeliers, and mismatched furniture. Its charm is elevated by the presence of bartender Jung-Ah Park, whose entry in the Rickey Month Contest I was there to sample. When I saw the name on the chalkboard – Pineapple Cardamom Gin Rickey – I knew it would be perfect for that monsoon night.

All month long, our local mixology talent stir up their versions of the deceptively simple cocktail known as the Rickey, for the DC Craft Bartenders Guild contest culminating on August 4th at Jack Rose. A few years ago I attended a seminar about its history taught by Derek Brown, who was instrumental in getting the Rickey its “DC’s native cocktail” status. It’s remained one of my favorite drinks ever since: gin or bourbon, lime, soda water, ice.

Heading to Maryland for DC’s native cocktail? Blasphemy, right? Wrong. Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks Preview: Mockingbird Hill

Derek Brown was describing the concept behind Mockingbird Hill one lazy, sherry-soaked afternoon. The name came from a line in Spanish Bombs, by The Clash (“The Only Band That Matters”) and the motif was inspired by the casual wine bars of Spain. It would feature some 54 sherries selected by his wife (and famous sherry proponent) Chantal Tseng, who was leaving Tabard Inn to work with him running the bar.

“So basically,” I said, “it’s a love letter to your wife.”

Opening tonight, their new bar is a love letter to a lot of things. To sherry and time spent in Spain. To family and friends. To both self-professed “sherry addicts” and to those who don’t know anything about sherry but are happy to learn. Located on 7th Street NW in a section of Shaw that’s primed to become one of the most exciting areas in the city, Mockingbird Hill feels like a new chapter in bar life for DC. It’s a casual spot to sip and learn, eat ham, listen to punk rock, and talk. It’s, dare I say, adult, in a very sexy way. I’m sure it’ll be packed for a bit, as new places always are in our city starved for more density, but eventually it’ll settle into that perfect third space bar. Continue reading

Special Events, We Love Drinks, We Love Music

DC Toasts the Black Mixology Club

At this point you know how we feel about Dale DeGroff, Derek Brown, Garrett Peck, and the Museum of the American Cocktail.  You also know how we like fancy parties with good drinks. So I’ll be brief: all those people (and more) are organizing DC Toasts the Black Mixology Club, a benefit for the Museum, May 10 at the Howard Theatre. The Chuck Brown Band will perform.

The discount for early ticket sales has been extended through tonight. Regular tickets at the early access price are $65; VIP tickets with early admission are $90. For more information, check out the Washingtonian’s Best Bites Blog, this Kojo Nnamdi interview with some of the organizers, or the event’s about us page.

That is all.

The Features, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Almost Home

For this week’s edition of Friday Happy Hour, a road trip is necessary. Given how many excellent bartenders we are lucky to have here in our city, you might object, but this is for one of our own. The lovely Katie Nelson, formerly of the Columbia Room, is currently at Rappahannock Restaurant in Richmond, VA helping to establish their bar program. Having been an ardent fan of Katie’s craft in the past, I simply had to travel down south to see what she’s up to – plus she’s a wonderful friend.

You can enjoy Rappahannock’s oysters right here in DC at Union Market with a very fine drink program helmed by the talented J.P. Fetherston, also a Columbia Room alum. But if you have the time, take the train for an easy trip to see Katie at Rappahannock’s restaurant in downtown RVA. The space is industrial warehouse chic, dominated by a concrete bar, and the food is top-notch (especially a cured salmon dish which frankly I would’ve ordered twice in a row that same night).

The cocktail menu features highballs in a variety of styles – classic, Southern, Spanish (gorgeously garnished with a twiggy licorice root), and Japanese – and cocktails crafted with Katie’s mixture of botanical whimsy. The Almost Home is made with Yamazaki 12-year-old Japanese whiskey, La Gitana Manzanilla sherry, lavender honey, and grapefruit zest.

To my mind, a great cocktail invokes memory, and enjoying one is the essence of sensuality. Sipping Almost Home, I was reminded of a sunny day touring the rooftop garden of The Passenger, among the honeybees. Of all sunny summer days, relaxing on a blanket in the park with a good book. It’s a beautiful drink. The combination of the Japanese whiskey and the Manzanilla sherry is a tricky one to describe, it’s so very light – nut, floral, apple – and they are both delicately balanced against the lavender honey, which slowly mellows as you finish.

It’s worth a lazy train ride.

Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Meanwhile, in Another City

While this site is about and for DC and the surrounding areas, sometimes there are worthwhile events worth traveling for, such as the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. The opening gala on May 17 takes DC’s annual Repeal Day Ball and turns the dials up to about 35:  it takes over the main branch of the New York Public Library, with space for a few thousand guests and multiple bars, bands, speakeasies, and hidden delights scattered around four floors of the building. It ain’t cheap though.  This year the organizers have announced a new Uber VIP package, which includes VIP admission to the gala, transportation from Uber, and access to the MCC’s parallel Industry Invitational event, which runs from May 18-20.

What’s the Industry Invitational? It’s an inside look at all sides of the business, with sessions on history, operations, trends, best practices, and, oh, free spirits tastings all day long.  For three days. If you’ve ever wondered what really goes into your cocktail glass – the who, the what, the how, and the how much – there’s no better way to learn than by spending three days attending professional seminars. Last year (on a press pass) I attended talks on the economics of production, the effects of filtration, the importance of ice, and a demonstration on how to use a rotovap or an iSi siphon to infuse spirits with flavors like habañero pepper or coffee.  Plus countless others I’ve forgotten, since I had a cocktail in my hand by noon every day.

The gala is worth attending (if you can afford it, that is), and the public events are a blast, but if you’re a cocktail nerd the Industry Invitational might just be worth the cost of the ticket and the trip to New York.

Disclosures: we have received no compensation for this post but the Social Chair and I attended last year’s event on a press pass, and due to a misunderstanding, inadvertently crashed the opening Gala (and were let in with VIP passes once all was said and done). I wouldn’t recommend it if we hadn’t enjoyed and learned from it.

Food and Drink, We Love Drinks, WTF?!

Brooklyn Is the New Black

They say imitation is the sincerest form of copying. At least somebody said that. I said it on my tumblr a while back and I didn’t think I was being original at the time, anyway. It should thus come as little surprise that there is now another bar called Passenger. What does come as a surprise is that it’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, whose hipsters are known for dismissing anything remotely unoriginal. Brooklyn’s Passenger is train-themed (obviously) although it substitutes a small upstairs space for the DC original’s narrow railcar.

The Brown brothers reacted on Twitter, with Derek tweeting, merely, “Ahem” and Tom asking, “Have you ever heard of this thing called ‘Google’?” Tom added the #FakePassenger hashtag, which I think sums the whole thing up rather well.

Hey, Brooklyn? We knew the Passenger before it was cool.

Food and Drink, The District, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Hogo Preview

The info sheet handed out at Hogo’s media preview reads, “Hogo is part of a project called Temporary Works that hopes to bring new late-night dining options to Washington, D.C. by giving talented chefs a platform to cook bar food with their own twists. Located inside Hogo, Temporary Works has a dine-in kitchen that will be helmed by a cast of rotating chefs from Washington, D.C. and other nearby cities.” If you read recent City Paper coverage you might be asking, “would they really open a bar knowing that it would have to close in a year?” Your answer is thus completely out in the open, proudly announcing itself with the name Temporary Works. Hell, that’s even the name that appeared on the ABRA notice.

This cannot in any way be an impartial report. Regular readers of this site — especially the weekend posts — might by now have the idea that the Social Chair and I spend a lot of time at the Passenger, two doors north of Hogo. It should thus come as little surprise that we’ve come to be friends with brothers Tom and Derek Brown (and in the interest of the fullest disclosure possible, we have known their landlords and partners the Rupperts for even longer than we have known the Browns). We first met Tom in the company of the Rupperts after a “garage sale” at the Warehouse Theater, in the Passenger’s early days. Presented with the horrible beach cocktail book we’d bought at the sale, he admitted that what he really wanted to open was a rum bar with tiki drinks. Several years and uncounted Tiki Tuesdays later, he has realized that dream with Hogo. Not only have we known the new bar was coming, though, we helped paint the place and move the furniture.

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Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Mezcal, mi corazon

Photo courtesy of Jenn Larsen
Mezcal cocktail, American Ice Company
courtesy of Jenn Larsen

Friday Happy Hour is back! Every Friday we’ll highlight a drink we’ve recently enjoyed. Please share your favorites with us as well.

Mezcal is made from the heart of the maguey plant. Never one to skip over symbolism, dear reader, I find it interesting that since recovering from a heart infection, mezcal is one liquor I can tolerate without issues. Traditional uses for mezcal include as a treatment for hypertension, so obviously I’ll have to continue my informal medical research for your benefit – a trip down to Oaxaca, Mexico, where mezcal is predominantly produced, may be in order.

The plant is also known as agave, while mezcal is also spelled mescal. Knowing that will not affect your drinking, however. The maguey hearts are roasted in underground pit ovens, which results in that earthy flavor distinctive to mezcal. Though there’s a similarity to the smokiness of some whiskies, it’s not quite the same taste. After being mashed up and allowed to ferment with water, the liquid is distilled in clay or copper pots, and can be aged for a few months or several years.

That rich smoke flavor makes mezcal a tricky element in a cocktail. I do enjoy drinking it neat, but many local bartenders play with it in unexpected ways. Yesterday I visited Patrick Owens at American Ice Company for a second glass of a cocktail he crafted for me last week with mezcal, Punt e Mes, St. Germain, and walnut liqueur. When he first told me the ingredients, I was a tad skeptical that all the boozy elements could mix in harmony. Yet the resulting cocktail was incredibly smooth and well-balanced. The earthy quality of the mezcal was complemented by the rich walnut, and set off by the sweet vermouth and floral notes. Asking for a repeat performance is rare for me, as I usually get tempted into ordering something new, but this one definitely hit my heart the right way.

As with tequila, stick with makers who use high quality, artisanal production methods. That’ll go a long way towards saving you the next morning!

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks, Interrupted

Photo courtesy of Jenn Larsen
Drinks, Interrupted
courtesy of Jenn Larsen

Imagine your heart breaks. No, I’m not talking about love. Imagine it actually stops working properly. In a matter of days what started out as an innocent fluke turns deadly serious as it just slows down, and then stops. Everything in your life suffers too, all thanks to a tiny electrical glitch. Luckily there are cyborg solutions, and you aren’t completely broken. But gosh, a stiff drink would help during exhausting weeks of treatment, right?

Not so. YOU CAN’T DRINK. During Rickey Month. Now it’s really mayday!

In the scheme of everything else I’ve been through in the past three months, not drinking alcohol while being medically grounded is really not the end of the world. But it certainly does feel like injurious insult. Over the next few weeks, I’m exploring methods of crafting beautiful non-alcoholic cocktails with some of our finest local bartenders. It’s for all you fellow medically grounded folks out there for whom YOU CAN’T DRINK was yet another slap in the face. And frankly, it’s a nice distraction from feeling like I’ve reached the bottom of the glass.

Let’s start at one of my favorite bars, with an old colonial method of preservation that helps add complexity in place of the missing (and much missed) alcohol. Continue reading

Food and Drink, Night Life, We Love Drinks

Event (P)Review: On the Town with Dale DeGroff

Dale DeGroff 1
All photos by the author

Dale DeGroff returns Thursday night for what I’ve been told is a bigger and better On the Town show, this time featuring pianist Dan Ruskin. This article, originally published last year, is a good preview for this year’s show.

The fact that you probably already know what a Cosmopolitan cocktail is, and most likely even have a mental picture of the sort of person you imagine would drink it, owes its existence to King Cocktail. Widely credited as the bartender who made it popular (if not ubiquitous) from behind the bar at the Rainbow Room in the 1980s, DeGroff has a long history both with his leg up in front of the bar and as the all-seeing, all-hearing master of ceremonies behind it. The “On the Town” seminar is a chance for him to tell a sample of the stories he has collected – or been a part of – since he moved to New York four decades ago.

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Entertainment, Food and Drink, Special Events, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks Preview: ARTINI 2012

ARTINI 2011, image courtesy of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Photo credit: Ben Droz.

A gala that combines almost all of my favorite things – parties, drinks and art – into one glamorous mix? Always fantastic. Get ready for the fifth annual love affair of cocktails and art that is ARTINI.

Presented by the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design’s 1869 Society and sponsored by Washingtonian, while the actual gala is a month away on Saturday, March 31, the competition itself starts next week. Twelve (Eleven as of 3/27, see update**) of the top mixologists in the city will showcase their talent and creativity in a unique way – by crafting cocktails inspired by works of art in the Corcoran collection. Last year it was an honor to serve as a judge on the Critic’s Choice panel; this year I’m happy to just kick back as a partygoer. Tickets are now on sale and do sell out quickly, so snap yours up – $95 for 1869 Society members, $115 for non-Society members. All proceeds benefit ArtReach, the Corcoran’s educational outreach program, celebrating its twentieth year of visual arts education for local students.

Sample the entries all March long as the twelve** participants roll out their artistic cocktails at weekly Feature Nights starting next week and continuing every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday until the event. Our dedicated team of WLDC lushes – Brittany, Fedward, Moses and myself – will attempt to report on as many of these drinks as possible throughout the month. Look for our round-ups in the weekly Friday Happy Hour!

Now that we have all the details out of the way, I wonder if I have any predictions? Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks Special: ArtBar’s Moonshine

Photo courtesy of Jenn Larsen
Cocktail, Art and Soul
courtesy of Jenn Larsen

ArtBar at the Liaison Capitol Hotel is one of those places I wish I could get to more often. Helmed by 2011 ARTINI champion Ronald Flores, it has a quirky vibe at the intersection of tourist and Hill trades, with the added benefit of Art and Soul’s nouveau country menu. Fellow WLDC author Tricia Barba (disclosure: Tricia also works at the hotel’s administrative office), convinced me to stop in and sample their new seasonal bar program, highlighting “modern moonshine.” We sat down with general manager Patrick Chiappetta as Flores walked us through the crafting of three cocktails, mixed and served in jelly jars.

Jelly jars? Very pantry to table.

“Modern moonshine” is just a sexy moniker for un-aged corn or rye whiskey, also known as white or silver whiskey, prepared legally by micro distillers now legitimizing a craft most often associated with bootleggers operating under the cover of darkness. ArtBar is featuring un-aged whiskey like Prichard’s Lincoln County Lightning, infused with fruits and herbs, then mixed up into cocktails highlighting tastes of the transition from winter to spring. Continue reading

Arlington, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: The 1K Beer Walk

Photo courtesy of jcm_DC
courtesy of jcm_DC

If you’ve ever wanted to run a marathon but worry about whether your beer gut will slow you down, Washington Wine Academy‘s DC School of Beer has a perfect solution: the Beer Walk!

The beer walk took place last Saturday and Sunday – a week after the wine walk – in the underground maze of the Crystal City Shops. Both “Beer Walk” and “Wine Walk” are pretty self-explanatory.

After you sign in and show ID, you pick up your race number, t-shirt, glass, and drink tickets. With twenty tickets and generous pours, a $20-$35 ticket (depending on the day/time of the heat you sign up for) will get you feeling pretty good – especially if it’s only 2pm when you start, like it was for me.

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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Best Of: Drinks 2011

Photo courtesy of Jenn Larsen
Architectural Ice
courtesy of Jenn Larsen

Another year, another round for the bar. Before launching into the drinks team’s reminisces of 2011, forgive me for doing something I rarely do as a writer – get a little personal. Just imagine you’re a bartender, and I’m pouring out my sob story at last call.

I almost gave up on drinks writing in 2011. After three years, frankly, I was feeling a bit jaded, and then personal set-backs began piling up, cruel jokes galore, making it difficult to stay focused. So I took some trips, detoxed on coconut water, did the “what’s it all about?” cliche. But after my return I was sitting at American Ice Company, as Patrick Owens happily sparked flames off an orange peel and Black Sabbath blared for Metal Night, and it hit me: what the hell am I thinking? I love drinks, I love DC and especially I love these people whose passion it is to create something so ephemeral and magical as a cocktail. Thoughts of sabbatical left my head, and I was back.

Through it all, the fantastic drinks team of We Love DC held it together – Brittany, Fedward, Moses – and now we’re lucky to add Addison to our imbibing crew. Let’s take a look back at our authors’ thoughts on drinks in 2011. And cheers to the bartenders who fill our glasses with craft, care, and a little magic.

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Food and Drink, Night Life, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks (Lots of Them): Repeal Day Ball 2011

Fog Lifters
All photos by the author

We here at We Love DC are unabashed, unequivocal fans of the DC Craft Bartenders Guild and their annual Repeal Day Ball. So much so that, within about 48 hours of the announcement that tickets were on sale (by which I mean within about twelve hours, really), Jenn, Brittany, and I (and the Social Chair, naturally) had all bought our tickets for this year’s ball. It’s the biggest party of the year, it’s focused on craft cocktails, and it’s thrown by bartenders themselves. This idea intrigues me and I would like to subscribe to its newsletter.

The ball (8pm Saturday at Halcyon House) is sold out now, but those of you who are going for the first time are in for a treat. A continual supply of treats, to be honest. I won’t go over all the names (you can do that yourself) and I can’t predict what the drinks will be, but I can provide the voice of experience to get you to the end of the night with your dignity intact and your clothes unstained. Join me, won’t you?

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Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks Special: Cocktails at Jack Rose

Photo courtesy of
‘Mai Tai at Jack Rose’s Tiki bar’
courtesy of ‘Jenn Larsen’

Jack Rose Dining Saloon has been opening in stages, overlooking the seemingly interminable construction at the intersection of 18th Street and Florida Avenue NW. Now that the dust is finally clearing from the brand new sidewalk outside, its long-awaited dinner menu has debuted as well and is being served seven nights a week in the downstairs dining room and bar. The upstairs patio has been in full swing for most of the summer and is due to continue the grilling and swilling through the fall, including a Tiki bar on the back porch that served me up some killer classics two weeks ago when I visited for the official debut of the downstairs menu.

The key visual of Jack Rose is certainly its downstairs dining room’s wall of scotches, bourbons and spirits – 1400 bottles lining the bar in bookcases of booze. Between liquor, wine and beer the catalog of offerings can be a bit staggering, but the elegant room invites relaxed sifting through the menu while sipping some Ardbeg at the long bar, watching bartenders climb up ladders library-style to fetch bottles. Turn a corner at Jack Rose and the atmosphere can instantly change – every space here has its own feel, so give yourself some wandering time before deciding where you’d like to perch for a while.

Upstairs is divided into several sections, including a front balcony overlooking 18th Street off a small lounge bar complete with fireplace, the main open-air deck with a wood-fire grill and bar, and the small back bar that’s slowly turning into a Tiki spot. I started back there and almost never left, as a friend sipped a perfect Painkiller. After watching the moon rise off the back porch with a classic Mai Tai (orgeat syrup? yes please!) it was time to head downstairs and sample some whiskey cocktails from the excellent selection crafted by Rachel Sergi. Continue reading