drams in dc: bourbon

[by john]

both washington dc and i matured since the last time i visited. in the next few posts, i'll tell how i tried to drink it under the table this month. (i lost.)

if i lost, then it was bourbon that won. it kicked my ass with its energy, creativity, and that 107 proof nightcap of old rip.

i immediately fell in love with their menu - simple 4-ingredient sort of drinks that feel like edgy classics. lots of amaro usage, maraschino, tequila, homemade goodness, and, naturally, bourbon. i jumped on 'the rested fig' (tequila, fig syrup, averna, lemon), and downed it alarmingly fast. the fig didn't come through much besides as general sweetness, but the balance was right on.

the neighborhoody vibe at bourbon was great. young folks, old folks (including the guy next to me sipping woodford reserve - seriously...dozens of bourbons in front of you and you go for woodford?), and 'snakes on a plane' on the tv. overall, a tighter and neater operation that the gibson, with a much more approachable feel.

my bartender patrick was incredibly hospitable - he gave me recs on places to go when he found out i was an out of towner, quite a few tastes of his preferred bourbons, and even introduced me to the unofficial tasting party going on at a table (rye genever...who knew). when i put him on the spot for something he'd been working on, he admitted that he didn't have much because he had a young kid at home to distract him. fair excuse! but while i was diverting myself with his rye version of a bijou from the menu (and samuel l. jackson), patrick slipped me a rum/walnut liqueur/honey/grapefruit creation that was plain blissful. maybe could've used some bitter depth, but a great first pass.

bourbon really hits a sweet spot in the bar world - the beer-and-whiskey neighborhood hangout plus quality drinks minus the craft cocktail solemnity.

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