Category: Drinks

You Becherovka!

When we asked the proprietor of Cairo Liquor in Dupont Circle if he carried this herbal liqueur, he asked if we were Czech. Not a lot of requests for the highly alcoholic anise/cinnamon flavored Becherovka from Bohemia. But there’s one …

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Drinking Summer: Watermelon Ice Cubes

While I don’t believe that my s’mores need homemade graham crackers a la the July cover of Martha Stewart Living, I must tip my hat to the MSL team for some of their great summer drinking and cooking ideas. (The New York Times had their drinks issue last week, and I fully support trying some more creative blends even if you always come back to your bourbon with sprig of mint [insert your go-to cocktail]. I recently tried a tequila, cucumber, basil, lime, and simple syrup recipe from Food & Wine. While not for me, it was consumed in short order by my guests and it did complement the refreshing quinoa tabbouleh from Bon Appetit I tried that night.) Here are some of the MSL suggestions: For a drink they call a Basil Gimlet Fizz, freeze cubes of watermelon for the “ice.” What a clever idea and it’s beautiful! The drink is gin, basil, lime, sugar, and selzer served over those red cubes. Also intriguing: grilled peaches with sugar, thyme, bitters, lime, and bourbon.

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Reading the Fish Wrap: While Under the Influence

I don’t know if Jason Wilson’s piece in the Washington Post on how to conduct a spirits tasting at home affected my judgment (specifically the impromptu bourbon tasting it inspired), but a reading of this week’s New York Times dining section gave me an overwhelming sense that the world is a good place that is getting better. A feeling that’s hard to come by these days (jobs numbers, election politics, Europe).

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What’s Up With Minibar?

I’m sad to report that a recent visit to Jose Andres’ minibar left me a little underwhelmed. It began at the bar before dinner. Left to the whims of the America Eats bar, we were unable to get a martini with an olive, an ingredient deemed not Classic American enough to have on hand. So a twist it was, and I was left craving salty all evening. A year ago, when minibar was still housed in Cafe Atlantico, the martinis had an “olive” that was the juice of nine olives suspended in auger or some such. I had really been looking forward to that.

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Hail to the Home Chef

In the past few weeks I’ve been a guest at three remarkable dinner parties. And they came just in time. My own hosting schedule has been pitifully light lately, but thankfully the craft is alive and well. While the fodder at these dinners was unique, they shared a cohesion of concept and a just-so of execution that have the three meals lingering on my mind’s palate.

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Herbals That Perk You Up

After limping along with caffein-free Twinings for the past months, I decided to invest in some herbal teas from Harney & Sons. There were many new additions to their offerings and now they are brightening up my daily sacraments. Sure …

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Trends of the Moment

It turns out that Cairo Wine & Liquor on 17th Street in Dupont Circle has the Imbue vermouth I wrote about last time. (It also turns out that if you ask for something they don’t have, it will be ordered.) They mentioned that Hank’s Oyster Bar also carries this particular bottle. And it’s newer than I thought. The bottle I bought is only from the second batch. Funny though, this trend does not make Imbibe’s 50 Drinks of the Moment list, an expansive group that includes winners like honey-infused spirits and fruit beer. Shudder.

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Greet Every Meal Fortified

Two years ago Jason Wilson wrote in the Washington Post about a fortified wine called Cocchi Aperitivo Americano. Basically fortified wines are what the name implies: wine plus a spirit, usually brandy, and also sometimes botanicals. The Cocchi is a …

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How Bitters Saved Cocktail Hour

The primary thing I learned about navigating an abstemious 5PM is that there are scant non-sweet options. I didn’t drink juice or soda before I went on the wagon, and I wasn’t about to start. I was grateful when I could find a non-alcoholic beer, but the majority of places don’t offer any. Servers are, of course, happy to ask the bartender to whip up something, but then we are back to juice.

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Happy Hour: The Palm Spritz

Forget the highfalutin $200 juicers. Yes, fresh juice is good, but is it better than just eating that carrot or apple? I’d say not. You lose too much of the other benefit of eating whole fruits and vegetables. If you have to drink it, make a smoothie with yogurt and fruit. What you should invest is the $5 for a manual citrus juicer. There’s so much citrus this time of year and juicing it is a wonderful way to enjoy it. You might also get a batch so riddled with seeds that you deem them not worth the effort of peeling and segmenting.

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