Wednesday night I was graciously invited by Erik Holzherr (owner of one of We Love DC’s favorite bars, Wisdom) to a preview of his new bar, Fruit Bat. Located on H Street NE between 12th and 13th, in the spot formerly occupied by the H Street Martini Lounge, my first impression is that it will quickly become a favorite of Atlas District locals, and certainly is worth the trip for those of us in other parts of the city. Tonight is the official opening; here’s a taste of what you can expect.
Erik is part Colombian, and he wanted to give Fruit Bat a relaxed Latin American feel. The most striking feature of the long narrow room lined with simple tables and a bar is the “living wall” that will develop organically as time goes by. Hung on the exposed brick wall are staghorn ferns mounted on wooden boards with grow lights. They’re just babies now but I can imagine how amazingly lush they will make the space as they grow. Fresh herbs are also grown behind the bar and fruit is everywhere. The scent of fried plaintains drove me mad. It all adds to the tropical feel – I think Hemingway and his daiquiri would’ve been right at home.
Speaking of drinks, as you would expect from the owner of Wisdom the craft cocktail menu at Fruit Bat is thoughtfully delicious. Continue reading →
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 →
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.
Don’t forget to get your ticket! WeLoveDC is hosting its first event of the year at Wisdom Cocktail Parlour. The party goes down next Tuesday,February 23 from 6-8 p.m.
We didn’t want to just have a happy hour. We’re not just about having fun (wink wink). So we kicked this one up a notch, providing what we know you really want: to walk away a little wiser.
Come have a drink with your favorite WeLoveDC authors while learning what craft cocktail guru Erik Holzherr, owner of Wisdom, suggests you might enjoy in one and mixes one up for you on the spot.
Get your ticket and come hang with us. Tickets, which include your first craft cocktail, are $15 ahead of time or $20 at the door (space permitting). Food and happy hour specials will also be available.
"Eros cocktail, Zaytinya" by Jenn Larsen on Flickr
Summer always puts me in mind to garden. I have a little herb garden with oregano, rosemary and lavender that always needs pruning, some roses that need constant watch from black spot, peonies dusty with blight – wait a minute. Gardening in DC is hard work, our weather vacillating between wet and humid to dry and droughty. Isn’t there an easier way to enjoy herbs and flowers?
Why yes. Drink them!
I love nothing better than to cook with fresh herbs and spices, and I’ve been known to throw some edible flowers into my salad, so I am loving the growing spread of these ingredients in cocktails. We’re both lucky and spoiled to be enjoying a cocktail renaissance here in DC. Time was a decent drink meant liquor + mixer, maybe with a garnish. Not anymore. Bartenders are approaching cocktails like, well, a chef would. The explosion of housemade syrups and infusions enable mixologists to make some potent magic.
But as with gardening, not everyone has a green thumb. It’s not enough to just toss some herbage in a martini glass and hey pesto! it’s a delicious cocktail. Just like that time I put too much adobe sauce in my sweet potato puree and set my guests throats on fire (um, sorry about that!). You have to know how flavors work together and how much power that pepper’s going to pop onto your tongue.
So here are my current favorites highlighting the trifecta of herbs, flowers and spice, with a few misses along the way.
"Wealthy Missionary cocktail, Wisdom" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr
When Wisdom owner Erik Holzherr’s Tortoise and the Bare cocktail won the 2009 Artini competition, it took a lot of people by surprise (as in, who is this guy and where exactly is his bar??). I knew I had to get over to sample his concoctions as quickly as I could get someone to venture into the wilds of Pennsylvania Avenue SE with me.
Inside Wisdom’s shopworn exterior is an enveloping dark and shabbily elegant space, with cosy curtained nooks featuring tin ceiling plates on the walls. Moroccan glass lanterns abound. It’s all very Victorian professor’s idea of a medieval tower by way of the harem.
First up to try was the Wealthy Missionary – with a name like that, how could it not be? It turned out to be a luscious mix of Surreal Ginger Peach Vodka and Stone’s Original Ginger. My metaphors went into overdrive – “it’s a southern summer, a debutante’s ball!” Seriously, this cocktail is off the charts good.
But then I had a sip of my friend’s Pears of Wisdom and couldn’t decide which I liked better. This cocktail, featuring vodka and pear cognac (they make pear cognac??) with elderflower, was just like slipping on a vintage French silk slip and lolling around in a field of flowers…