Friday, November 23, 2012

Thinking of Drinking: Spicy Winter Twists

Photos and Story by JoLynda Lawecki
When offered a winter cocktail, one might assume a hot toddy or Irish coffee will be presented.  Not so at the W Washington's POV Roof Terrace where bartender/mixologist, Joseph Ambrose, has spun this winter's cocktails to a spicy finish.

The seasonal menu features drinks which are kindly reminiscent of traditional cocktails such as the Washington Apple.  Similar to an Old Fashioned, the Washington Apple puts the Old Fashioned out in the cold by allowing dark grade B maple syrup to serve as it's star component.  According to Joseph, the darker, richer syrup was chosen specifically to enhance the fresh squeezed apple and bourbon (personally smoked by the bartender), giving the drink a unique twist on the seasonal cider offering. The drink's finishing ingredients are pork barrel aromatic bitters and a slice of orange peel leaving the palate with a cinnamon-y tang.  As might be expected, it is sweet, but nicely creamy and not crisp like a cider.

If you're in the mood for a lighter sweeter drink, the Au Pair has resounding appeal with the ladies. Served in a martini glass and elegantly topped with a lemon peel, will have you longing for warm summer nights with it's grapefruit tang and spiciness.  Amazingly, there is no grapefruit in the cocktail, but the main ingredients of gin, elderflower, pear, fresh squeezed lemon, honey and secret spice blend combine to give it its citrus flavor.  St. Germain is also mixed in, but features as a lighter element to the spices and honey which are the finishing stars of this drink.

Photo by JoLynda Lawecki

My personal favorite and the most unique cocktail I've had in a while, was the Oaxacan Skirt.  Perhaps it's my history with mezcal and love affair with tequila leftover from living in the Southwest, but this drink left me craving fajitas and POV's calamari served with picked chilis.  Made with scotch, mezcal, fresh lemon juice, pear, simple syrup and pork barrel aromatic bitters - this smokey sweet treat left me wanting more.  Whether or not you're a mezcal fan, this drink will be a favorite for anyone who loves chipotle spices, smoked BBQ and enjoys a good mojito.  Think of it as a smokey mojito without the mint - add lemon.  Well worth a try!

Photo by Mark Silva

If you've been craving a deep rich drink that puts you in the spirit of the season then the Blackstrap Snap is for you.  This is Joseph's take on the ginger snap cookie, and ginger is definitely the featured ingredient.  This was by far the drink with the best presentation - sprinkled with freshly ground nutmeg it appeared the bartender had been to the North Pole to gather snow for each glass.  However, there is nothing snowy or cool about this drink.  The spices alone warm you up, not to mention the ginger, rum, black strap molasses and fresh squeezed lime.  The swizzle straws were an added bonus since drinking off the top could give you a mouthful of nutmeg.

Photo by JoLynda Lawecki

Other items from the seasonal menu include Rock and Rye - high proof rye, Jamaican rum, lemon, orange and spice; Scotty's Tee - scotch, apple juice, black tea, lemon and spice; Husk - corn whiskey, grapefruit and spices; and Stone Fence - rye whiskey, apple cider and spice.  POV offers amazing views of DC with a full panorama of all the monuments which makes it the perfect place to feel removed from winter chill.


MRJ said...

The Washington Apple sounds so delightful that the 1st president himself would blush. No more ruddy least from the cold!

Lauren DeSantis said...

I agree!