The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2017

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Page 36 of 124

36  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2017 I 've declared this before, but there really has never been a better time to be a cocktail fan in Washington, D.C. On the heels of snagging the Spirited Award for Best American Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail in July, Derek Brown, JP and Angie Fetherston and the rest of Drink Company celebrated their coveted win for their ambi- tious and elevated Columbia Room in Blagden Alley just the way you'd expect: by throwing a kick-ass party at the beginning of August for friends and supporters complete with cocktails aplenty, food trucks, a brass band, and the world's largest Rickey. Their latest pop-up—a Game of Thrones bar in Shaw—was still going strong, with fans queuing up around the block daily. I strolled the Hall of Faces while sipping the Shame cocktail with tequila and grapefruit tonic (and yes, the bartender rang a bell and taunted me when I ordered it). The made-for-Instagram throne room was the bar's biggest draw: I ascended with the Green Hat gin-based What is Dead May Never Die in hand. We're all waiting with bated breath for the team's next pop-up theme. Over at Five to One in the city's U Street Corridor, Trevor Frye (formerly of Dram & Grain, the speakeasy underneath whiskey mecca Jack Rose Dining Saloon) told me he's finally perfected his most challenging garnish substitute. The music-themed watering hole named for The Doors song—with an oft-updated "set list" of drinks inspired by acts playing the nearby 9:30 Club—eschews all garnishes, which Frye believes are wasteful and impos- sible to consistently replicate. Instead, he infuses vodka with citrus, herbs, or tea and then spritzes it on the surface and stems of a cocktail. He used his latest, a mint concoction, in the Two by Two with Green and Yellow Chartreuse, root beer syrup, and lime. At Vermilion in Old Town Alexandria, Spirits Manager Nick Farrell's new "Drinks Drawn from the Potomac" menu uses regional ingredients for a true Virginia slant. The best of the bunch? The One Last Whiskey Rebellion, which is reminiscent of a farmers market stall in a glass with grilled corn–infused MurLarkey Justice white whiskey, huckleberry syrup, lemon, and thyme. At the end of August, I popped in for a sneak peek of the newest spot in the DMV to taste locally-produced wine: District Winery, a sleek 17,000-square-foot facility that recently opened on the Waterfront near Nats Park. Winemaker Conor McCormack produces 15 offerings using grapes sourced from around the country; I was digging their fruity yet earthy Pinot Noir, and the Old-World-minerality- meets-New-World-fruit of their Sauvignon Blanc. An order of the succulent and airy Maryland crab beignets at onsite restau- rant Ana was divine with both. Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine edu- cator in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website,, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics. Maryland crab beignets from Ana, District Winery's onsite restaurant. WASHINGTON, D.C.'S COCKTAIL SCENE KEEPS WARMING UP by Kelly Magyarics, DWS PHOTO: KELLY MAGYARICS Hot Time, Summer in the City The Game of Thrones pop-up bar features a weirwood tree modeled after the HBO hit show. The What is Dead May Never Die cocktail at the Game of Thrones' pop-up bar from Drink Company. PHOTO: FARRAH SKEIKY PHOTO: FARRAH SKEIKY CAPITOL CHILL

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