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

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Flower Cocktail Hour

Photo courtesy of Sam Vasfi Photography.

Sometimes you need to completely give in to your inner girl.

Kat Bangs understands. Not only is she the very talented sommelier at Komi, she’s got an eye for fun fashion that I seriously envy. Join her monthly Flower Cocktail Hour with the next gathering on Wednesday, October 6. From 6:30pm to 8:30pm you can relax at The Gibson’s upstairs marble bar enjoying delectable floral cocktails crafted by Jon Harris, while also learning how to construct wearable flower art. Email for reservations ($48).

I was lucky to attend last month’s flower hour and it was simply beautiful – the bar brimming with various flowers and greenery to choose from in stunning colors – featuring informal tutorials on how to make your own floral headbands and boutonnieres (the truly intrepid sported epaulettes!), or even just a simple handheld posy.

After Jon whips up three cocktails with a floral element, guests are invited to try their hand at crafting their own from a lovely line-up of champagne cocktail ingredients. This month will highlight some St-Germain cocktails, which is quite appropriate as Kat points out, “It’s an Elderflower Liqueur made in Burgundy from a blossom that blooms only once a year.  It has a great honeysuckle and lychee taste.”

Mmmm… the perfect antidote to midweek dreariness. Get girly.