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.

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, The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Long Drinks for a Long Weekend

Photo courtesy of
’01497-07Crop’
courtesy of ‘furcafe’
A long drink, a term with which you might not be familiar, is a bartender’s term for a cocktail which is longer on non-alcoholic mixer than it is on base spirit. You may already know some long drinks as highballs, a slightly younger name which refers to a long drink made with just a single base spirit and a single mixer, often with a fruit garnish. A gin and tonic is a highball, but a Tom Collins (containing not only gin and soda but sugar and lemon juice) is a long drink. The Tom Collins, by the way, gave its name to the archetypical tall glass in which these drinks are served. A highball glass is usually synonymous with a Collins glass (and vice versa).

Cocktails follow formulas, and the combination of a single base spirit and a particular mixer often lends its name to some other concoction made with the same mixer and a different base spirit. The Tom Collins, for instance, begat the Vodka Collins. You could ask a bartender for a Whiskey Collins, and while he or she might look at you funny they’d know exactly what you mean without having to stop to think. Some names have lost popularity over time (Mamie Taylor, anyone?), but others are still current and show up in all sorts of interesting combinations. The Mojito, by the way, is also a long drink; replace the rum with gin and it becomes a Southside; add lemon to that and it turns into a Major Bailey. Formulas! They’re magic!
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Food and Drink, Night Life, The Features, We Love Drinks

The Week in Drinks in Pictures

Tiki Tuesday 7
All photos by the author

If you follow me on Twitter, you might be aware that this has been an eventful week. Literally. Friday the Social Chair and I hosted her birthday party, Sunday we hit our usual brunch, Monday I had a tasting, and Tuesday saw the launch party for Dan Searing’s new book, The Punch Bowl. Plus Tuesday was, as always, Tiki Tuesday at the Passenger. So I was busy.

Instead of picking just one of those, I thought this week would be a perfect opportunity for a photo feature. So here goes.

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Food and Drink, Night Life, Special Events, The Daily Feed

The Punch Bowl: Book Launch Tonight

Oleo-Saccharum

Remember how I said I reached out to Dan Searing about a launch event for his book? I found out earlier today that launch event is tonight, at 6pm in the Warehouse Theater behind the Passenger.

I’ve already made use of the book, as you might discern from the above picture. That’s an oleo-saccharum in progress — sugar muddled with lemon peel, extracting the oil from the peel and resulting in a much more complex final product than you’d get with just lemon juice. I’ll see you tonight!

Crime & Punishment, History, Life in the Capital, The District, We Love Drinks

Breakin’ the Law: Prohibition in DC

Garrett Peck
Garret Peck (photos by the author)

Wednesday night I attended a talk on Prohibition in DC by local author Garrett Peck. He’s got a new book on the subject, developed as a result of his research for his first book, along with the knowledge he’s amassed leading the Temperance Tour. Much as it is now, DC was a playground for politicians who wanted to try out new rules. Prohibition was thus imposed on the District in 1917 by politicians who, privately (and sometimes publicly) didn’t themselves care much for or about the law.

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The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks

We Love Books About Drinks

Photo courtesy of
‘Temperance Fountain’
courtesy of ‘NCinDC’

It may come as a surprise to you that I have time to read in between all those trips to the Passenger for brunch, but it’s true. It probably won’t come as a surprise, though, that I’ve been reading a lot about drinking and prohibition lately. Two DC area authors have new books on those subjects.

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Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Drinks Special: Irish Whiskey


‘Redbreast’
courtesy of ‘philipmatarese’

I come from a line of whiskey drinkers. Well, that’s really only about half true. The other line drinks whisky. But perhaps I should explain. Irish whiskey gets the ‘e’ (as does most American whiskey), while Scotch whisky goes without (and shares that spelling with Canadian whisky). Even the paper of record updated its style on the subject. By surname, my father’s family is more Irish than anything else. On the other hand, my mother’s family can be traced to Scotland. Both family histories, for what it’s worth, pass through Kentucky, itself no slouch when it comes to distilling. To the best of my knowledge there weren’t actually any distillers (or moonshiners) in the family, but I digress.

I do enjoy a wee dram now and again, but I like to do so on the merits of the spirit, not just for the benefit of getting blind. As such I tend to avoid bars on the major drinking holidays. Since I believe that one should respect the spirit, and I also believe that Irish whiskey deserves that respect, here’s a primer on some of the Irish whiskey you can find in the DC area in advance of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. If I’ve left out your favorite, please feel free to set me straight in the comments. It’s been too long since I’ve had Clontarf for me to have an opinion on its merits.

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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Todd Thrasher’s Preserved Cherries

Prepared Jars
Prepared Jars by Don Feduardo
All photos courtesy of the author

We Love Drinks embarks on a series where we attempt to make our favorite cocktails and essential drinks ingredients from around town. If there’s something you’d like us to feature, please let us know!

The proper garnish is a critical part of some cocktails. DC has no shortage of bars where you can get a craft cocktail, and if you watch the bartenders at work at one of these establishments (and I have) you can see (and taste) how the garnish really can finish a drink, either emphasizing or complementing certain flavors in the liquid ingredients.

My first craft cocktail experience in the area came at PX, where the craft most definitely extends to the garnish. One of the cocktails I had on my first visit was listed on the menu as not just a Manhattan, but “My Wife’s Manhattan.” How could I pass that up? So I was very pleased when the Washington Post ran the recipe for Todd Thrasher’s preserved cherries. I made my first batch of them as soon as I could round up a cherry pitter and some cherries, based on the vagaries of supply and demand at Giant. And they were good, but they were salty. I had done something wrong.

It didn’t matter that they were too salty, though, because the Social Chair and I polished them off with some dispatch. We had three problems, really: 1) that first batch was too salty; 2) supply is unpredictable and the cherry season is short; 3) the recipe says they’ll last for two weeks in the fridge, nowhere near as long as our own Manhattan season. So I decided the next batch would solve all three of those problems. Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Best Of: Drinks 2010

Photo courtesy of
‘Chilling’
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’

We Love Drinks authors Kirk and I were really spoiled this year. In 2010 with wine, beer and cocktails alike we saw a resurgence of the desire to enjoy and educate ourselves in the world of libation. Sure we still like a shot from a dive bar but we also love craft cocktails. It’s not a drunk town, it’s a drinks town!

In addition to the old favorites, a number of new places opened up. We found ourselves covering everything we could despite busy day jobs (it certainly improved my tolerance level. shut up, pesky liver, wine is good for you!). There was the continuation of the wine bar explosion with cosy Dickson Wine Bar, DC’s raging beer love with Biergarten Haus and the promise of DC Brau, luscious cocktail smoothies at Fruit Bat, the rough-and-tumble American Ice Co. – I know we missed a few, and I’m going to do my best to stay on top of 2011. We’ve got burning questions in the coming year – will the winter opening of Jack Rose get me to hang out in Adams Morgan again, or will the Bier Baron successfully revive the faded Brickskellar space (and reputation)?

Anything you’d like to see covered? Interested in joining our merry drinks band? Drop me a line, I’d love to know.

Now, on to my favorite Drinks moments of 2010!

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Five Favorites

Five Favorites: Staying Warm (and Bright)

Photo courtesy of
‘winter wonderland (February 2010 edition)’
courtesy of ‘mofo’

There is a lovely dusting of snow out there and, even if that sends you down a panic spiral, we can all agree that it is great to enjoy from the cozy comfort of the indoors, ideally with something to warm you from within.

5. Churros & Chocolate at Churreria Madrid
One of my best friends lives about a block from long-time Adams Morgan Spanish joint Churreria Madrid. The bad news for her though, is that, as a vegan, the chocolate is definitely off-limits and we have not quite confirmed the veg-stats of the oil that fries the churros. I choose not to ask too many questions and, instead, just dip my fried dough in the thick, hot chocolate sauce while I wonder how a place like Spain ever invited such a perfect snowy day snack.

Photo courtesy of
‘churros and chocolate’
courtesy of ‘timsnell’

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The Features, The Great Outdoors, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Memorial Day BBQ

Photo courtesy of
‘Beer and burger’
courtesy of ‘Magnus D’

I hope that you’ll grill this weekend. To me, that’s what Memorial Day is all about. I don’t dream of stepping on any family tradition or intruding in any masculine domain by suggesting what you should grill and how you should grill it. That’s counter productive, in my mind. Besides, I’m no grill master, myself. I’ll leave that to better and braver souls. I want to talk to you about what you should drink this weekend. It’s easy just to run out to the grocery and pick up a 12 pack of Bud Light and some cheap white wine for your Memorial Day bar-b-que. In fact, that’s probably what most of America will do on Monday, but most of America won’t enjoy their tasty beverage nearly as much as you will, oh informed reader that follows my advice. Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Peep of View

Photo courtesy of
‘Peep of View’
courtesy of ‘rabid_c’

Welcome to the Friday Happy Hour, your single drink primer for the weekend.

There aren’t a ton of holiday specific drinks out there, and pretty much the only ones that do exist are Christmas drinks.  POV at the W Hotel has stepped in to remedy this with their new Easter themed cocktail, the “Peep of View.”  It’s a concoction of vodka, grapefruit juice, cranberry, and St. Germaine, topped off with champagne and garnished by a Peep.  As you can imagine, it’s sweet and fruity and drinking it was a severe test of my masculine security. As over the top as a Peep garnished cocktail sounds,  it’s an altogether pleasant drink. House squeezed juices give it a freshness that pairs perfectly with open air on the rooftop at POV. Not to mention that food and beverage director Robert Sabin wouldn’t let anything pass from his shop that wasn’t well constructed.  He even took into account how the marshmallow from Peep garnish would affect the flavor of the drink.  This weekend, consider the season.  Have your self a Peep of View at the W (but remember to get a reservation before you go).  Happy Easter!

Downtown, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks Preview: Oyamel’s Tequila and Mezcal Fest

Photo courtesy of
‘Oyamel 4′
courtesy of ‘maxedaperture’

Tequila flies under the radar as connoisseur’s drink. It’s had an unfair representation from co-eds pounding back shots on spring break in Cancun and middle aged women drinking slushy margaritas by some pool. But Tequila, much like anything, can be done right and can be done wrong. Chef Jose Andres and Co. at Oyamel want to highlight the former, something that they do annually with their two week Tequila and Mezcal Festival.

This celebration of all things agave is becoming a highlight of the DC cocktail scene. Not only do you get to sample some of Mexico’s finest in carefully constructed flights, you find some truly creative cocktails crafted by the mixologists at Oyamel, and from a few guests they bring in. The festival kicked off Monday night and I was fortunate enough to be able to sample a few of their highlighted drinks and appetizers.

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Food and Drink, The Features

WeLoveDC DRINKS: Fresh Squeezed Wisdom

Photo courtesy of
‘Wisdom #51′
courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

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.   Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Last chance to get your ticket for tomorrow’s DRINKS!

WeLoveDCDrinks

Seriously. We’ve had enough of the snow. And the cold. And the snow that’s still left over because it’s so cold. We’re ready to break out of the doldrums, too. And thus, we are soooo excited to snuggle up in the warm nooks and crannies of Wisdom Cocktail Parlour tomorrow night from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Ticket prices increase at midnight tonight, so get your ticket!

Join your favorite WeLoveDC authors and Wisdom owner/bartender Erik Holzherr for a craft cocktail experience at a happy (two) hour(s) you will leave all the wiser.

Tickets, which include your first craft cocktail, are $15 ahead of time or $20 at the door. Food and happy hour specials will also be available.

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier

Photo courtesy of
‘Weihenstephaner’
courtesy of ‘yto’

Welcome to the Friday Happy Hour, your single drink primer for the weekend.

I’ve been trying to come up with some sort of seasonal or circumstantial justification for recommending the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, but I really can’t.  The best thing I can think of is that you might die tomorrow and it would be a real shame if you went to your grave without trying this beer. The Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier is a wheat beer hailing from the Weihenstephan brewery of Bavaria (supposedly the oldest in the world). It’s consistently rated as the best hefewizen in the world and packs an enormous amount of complexity and flavor.  It bears notes of lemon and clove with strong overtones of banana from the acids produced by the particular style of yeast used during the fermentation process.  It’s sweet and refreshing, with a medium body and lingering finish.  Typically, you’d drink this style of beer during warmer weather, but it’s definitely worth having today.  You can find it at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar on H St., or at Total Wine and More.

Adventures, Fun & Games, Media, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Real World Live Blog Tonight!

Photo courtesy of
‘The Biggest Looser’
courtesy of ‘: rebecca :’

More live blogging is coming your way, this evening, for episode two of the Real World: DC.  Last week, we had 200 people tune in and it was the bomb .  So, please join us right here on the WLDC main page at 10pm for more “real life.” Oh, and be sure to have drinks in hand.  It makes the Real World so much better.

Night Life, The Daily Feed

The Gibson Expands Saturday

Photo courtesy of
‘Ceiling at The Gibson’
courtesy of ‘Jenn Larsen’

If you’ve been left waiting outside at the Gibson, then you’ll probably be ecstatic to hear: they open their upstairs this weekend, doubling the capacity of the popular speakeasy. Better news? The upstairs has a couple rooms that you can rent for private events. Of course, I’m betting that’s going to be a popular option which then limits the capacity again, so don’t get too excited, just get ready to book that room way in advance for cool events.

Food and Drink, Interviews, Life in the Capital, Penn Quarter, People, The Features

She Loves DC: Jill Zimorski

jill and wine

Jill rushes up to greet me wearing a bright green cardigan and a cute black Ann Taylor dress. (I know, because I have it in pink!) She’s not what you expect in someone whose credentials boast “Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers” and “has completed the Advanced Certificate Course offered through the Wine Spirits and Education Trust.” Jill just looks like she could be any of my girlfriends, but with a totally rockin’ day job – beverage director for Café Atlantico, the popular Penn Quarter eat place that hides Minibar. She’s been with Jose Andres since 2006, and seen Cafe Atlantico through quite a bit. We sat down to talk about my favorite subject – DC, paired with my other favorite subject – food and wine. (Heavy on the wine, given Jill’s passion!)

Me: Name the best part of DC in your opinion?
Jill: I think it would have to be the endless variety of people who you can meet, and what you can do here. My list of things I want to do is long, and some of it you can do on your own and other things with friends. Continue reading