The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2018

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Page 36 of 124

36  /  the tasting panel  /  january/february 2018 CAP TOL T he Martini is definitely having a moment right now in D.C., with creative takes on the always-in-style gin and vermouth classic popping up all over town (OK, vodka sometimes rears its head in some of these variations, and I'll give 'em a pass.) Nowhere are the choices more prolific than at Bar Charley. The bar makes a mean 50/50, but its two most eclectic recipes are the Smoky, a St. George Terroir Gin–based sip that gets a whiff of peat smoke from an Islay Scotch; and the Hi Ho, which Co-Founder Gordon Banks told me takes the Martini in a "slightly different, less boozy direction" with Hendricks Gin, orange bitters, and white Port instead of vermouth. All of Bar Charley's liquid iterations work with Chef Adam Harvey's fun pupu platter featuring wagyu skewers, Maryland blue crab tater tots, Old Bay wings, seared pork belly skewers, and half-smoke pierogis. After checking out The Watergate Hotel's new afternoon tea menu (which starts with a glass of Champagne in the tony lobby, obviously), I headed to the terrace outside The Next Whiskey Bar, where several luxe igloos were installed for cocktailing and canoodling. The 12-foot domes are decked out with heaters, sofas, candles, fuzzy pillows, and sumptuous blankets. I settled in and cozied up to The Smoking Gun with I.W. Harper Bourbon, tangerine cordial, and Angostura bitters. Residents in the District tout the largest per capita wine consumption in the country, and a new French-inspired wine bar in Brookland gives them yet another venue to socialize with fellow enophiles. Lauren Winter of design company Edit Lab and Sebastian Zutant, former Partner/Beverage Director at Red Hen and All Purpose, recently opened Primrose in partnership with Greg Algie and Nathan Beauchamp of Tiger Fork (Zutant actually crafts his own wine via his winery The Lightwell Survey, part of Early Mountain Vineyards in Madison, Virginia). Deciding between the Sébastien Riffault Les Quarterons Sancerre and the Sauvignon Blanc from the veritable father of Virginia wine, Jim Law of Linden Vineyards, is the ultimate dilemma: It's best to just order both, bien sûr. Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits, and lifestyle writer and wine educator in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website at, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics. WASHINGTON, D.C. IS AFLUTTER WITH STIRRED GIN COCKTAILS, WHISKEY SIPPING IN IGLOOS, AND FRENCH WINE by Kelly Magyarics, DWS PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WATERGATE HOTEL A Chill in the Air The Martinis at Bar Charley run ten selections deep. Primrose is a new wine bar in D.C.'s Brookland neighborhood. PHOTO: KYLE SCHMITZ PHOTO: SCOTT SUCHMAN The igloos at The Watergate can seat two to eight people.

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