Last night I had Xtacy for the first time, and I can’t wait to tell you about the experience: green unicorns floating through a purple haze of smoke caused by the burning hookahs flame…oh, c’mon I mean the cocktail Xtacy, a blend of Sky Citrus Vodka, X-Rated Liqueur (I’m not making that up!), a splash of pineapple juice and sour mix, shaken into a cocktail glass and grenadine added to the bottom for color. This was my favorite potion (drink) from last nights Cocktails 101 held at Gazuza Lounge in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. – yes, of course organized by www.tastedc.com.
This class on cocktails has been very popular since I began TasteDC 12 years ago, but recently the cocktail “culture” of DC has begun to change. What I’m noticing is a more professional, almost elite group of bartenders deciding to move into “mixology”. Sounds like mumbo jumbo, but two things have happenned: 1) The cocktail has gone upscale with more home made “infusions” and more upscale mixers and spirits, 2) The bar has been raised (so to speak) by a better trained and more knowledgeable cocktail staff. Bartender/mixologists like Owen Thompson of Bourbon and Gina Chersevani of PS7’s are more like chefs who source ingredients to create unique and exciting beverages. A comment I made last night at the Cocktails 101 class is that cocktails and dining could merge in some dishes – why not combine a dessert and a cocktail at the end of the meal? Last night’s Chocolate-Noisette which contained Stoli Vanilla, Chocolate Liqueur, Hazelnut Liqueur, half and half, and a drop of creme de cacao would have been an excellent dessert with a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream, or even possibly a cool chocolate mint pie.
Every time I think I’ve come up with something new or original in the food and wine world, I find I’m already behind – alas, some chefs are already combining cocktails with dessert. Ultimately, this great shift in both the bartenders and the imbibing public suggests that American’s curiosity and love for new and interesting gourmet cuisine will continue to evolve and promote innovation in the food world.
I say cheers to that!
Charlie ” I Drink On the Job” Adler