We are definitely in the midst of a "Who run the world? #GIRLS!" moment in D.C.'s mixology scene and we are HERE.FOR.IT! We rounded up a few of our favorite boss bartending babes for you to get to know -- and then go sample their work!
* Stay tuned for the third and final part of this series later this week
Brittany Thornton: Bar Manager, Poca Madre
Favorite drink offered this fall: The Kid Dynomite. It’s a spicy mezcal sherry cocktail that rotates every couple of weeks depending on what fruit is in season. Right now it’s a plum base with an hoja santa (root beer leaf native to Mexico) and epazote syrup. At Poca Madre I try to use traditional Mexican ingredients in a modern way.
Where are you most likely to go when you're not working: I love Calico in Blagden Alley. The garden seating area is super cute and it's close enough to stop by late night. I also frequent Reliable Tavern in Petworth. The vibe is everything a neighborhood bar should be and their ice/ cocktail/ kolache program is always a delightful experience.
Your Specialty: I love mezcal. Agave is so diverse when it comes to flavor that many people shy away after only being exposed to Espadin. I enjoy changing their minds, by using mezcal in classic cocktails. We currently have a huitlacoche infused mezcal, foie gras honey and Mexican mole bitters old fashioned and it totally works!
Abby Jurk: Bartender, Evening Star
Favorite drink offered this fall: Our Smoked Old Fashioned, although I can't take credit for the recipe. It begins with house-smoked Maker's Mark bourbon and is shaken with orange bitters and real maple syrup. The smoky/sweet combination is perfect for this time of year.
Where are you most likely to go when you're not working: I love to bounce around town and have a drink with friends of mine in the industry. I can usually be found on either King St. in Old Town Alexandria or Mt. Vernon Ave. in Del Ray, but I can't narrow it down to just one spot (or give away my secret places)!
Your specialty: I don't know that I consider myself to really have a "specialty." For me, bartending is much more about creating drinks that the guests will enjoy. I like to talk to people, get an idea of what flavors they are partial to and then from there play with different ingredients until we come up with something they love. Recently a group of my regulars have been really into elderflower liqueur, so we have been playing with that a lot and have come up with some tasty creations.
Julia Ebell: Creative Director, The Gibson
Favorite drink offered this fall: I’ve been really into mezcal drinks and I’m very proud of a lovely aperitif drink called the Smoke Strike: Mezcal from a co-op producer called Banhez, Manzanilla sherry, Nux Alperna and ginger liqueur.
Where are you most likely to go when you're not working: Since work has been even more cocktail-focused than usual recently, all I want is to go places where I can have fun wine. Maxwell is great for that. Otherwise, I’ll grab a Miller High Life at one of my other living rooms: the Raven, Cafe St Ex, the Passenger or Player’s Club.
Your specialty: I love working with "difficult" spirits. Having a guest ask for a Batavia Arrak drink or an offbeat liqueur drink makes my night! The Smoke Strike started out as a guest request for a savory mezcal drink, and it is always so much fun to work with a guest’s palate like that.
Alexandra Bookless: Manager, Allegory at Eaton DC
Favorite drink offered this fall: Kings & Elders. It's a warming blend of scotch, fresh ginger, honey and aromatic makrut lime leaf, with a float of peaty Laphroaig on top. It's sumptuous, smoky and warming for these cool nights.
Where are you most likely to go when you're not working: At home. With a two year old and a seven -month-old baby, I don't get out as much as I would like to these days!
Your specialty: Lately, I've been into vermouth, wine and fortified wine cocktails. For example, the Kokoro from the menu at Allegory, which is Sake, Amontillado sherry, rum, lime cordial and Amazake tincture.
Lauren Mathews: Lead Bartender, Urbana
Favorite drink offered this fall: The Crooked Crown, made with Hangar One vodka, lemon, lemon oleo-saccharum, local Cotton & Reed Allspice Dram (which I’m obsessed with) and yellow Chartreuse.
Where are you most likely to go when you're not working: I’ll most likely be drinking wine at my apartment with my husband and nerding out over Chef’s Table. But, I love going to Jack Rose and letting the awesome staff taste me through some really unique things. I’m also an avid beer drinker and have been trying to learn all I can about it. Churchkey is one of my favorites to sit down, grab a sour, and take advantage of their great selection.
Your specialty: My favorite cocktail to make currently is our Face with a View. It’s a riff on a Vieux Carre, and named after a line from one of my favorite Talking Heads songs. It’s a nice understated mix of Jack Daniel’s rye, Plymouth Sloe gin, Pasubio, Cocchi Dopo Teatro, lemon bitters, and a dash of edible gold that swirls in the glass. I’d like to think David Byrne would approve of it!
Tracy Javier: Cocktail Curator, POV
Favorite drink offered this fall:The Siren Song. The warming notes of the allspice dram mixed with the coconut-infused Glenlivet, pineapple and lemon make it the perfect transitional cocktail.
Where are you most likely to go when you're not working: Old Ebbitt Grill. It reminds me of the show Cheers. We come in for an after shift drink, and the bartender knows our name. My other go-to for cocktails is Archipelago. Who doesn’t enjoy a kitschy environment?! Aside from their regular menu, they have a separate menu with almost forgotten classic tiki drinks along with a great selection of aged rums from all over the world.
Your specialty: When it comes to crafting cocktails, my go-to method involves a clarified milk punch. It helps preserve the lifespan of a cocktail and takes away the sometimes harsh flavor that accompanies whiskey or bourbon cocktails. It leaves a soft creaminess, melting together all the flavors in the cocktail.