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We chatted with lead mixologist Rachel Sergi to find out all the details on Whisky Wednesday. (Image: Courtesy The Watergate Hotel)

Elevate your #WhiskyWednesday at The Watergate Hotel

Want to hone your brown spirit knowledge, but aren’t quite sure where to start? Take a cue from The Doors, whose lyrics for “Alabama Song” said "Well, show me the way to the next whisky bar." The Watergate Hotel’s bar of the same name is now hosting Watergate Whisky Wednesdays each week, with lead mixologist Rachel Sergi at the helm. From 4-6:30 p.m. each Wednesday, guests can sample a rare whisky poured at a discounted price and ask questions of the selected producer or distillery representative. Recent distilleries have included Bruichladdich, Jim Beam, Michter’s, Hillrock and Speymalt Macallan, and tonight (December 21) Texas’ Balcones will be in the house. To give you an example of the incredible spirits being served, Sergi and staff poured a rare offering of Bruichladdich of which only 12,000 bottles were made; it’s typically offered at the Watergate for $78 for a 2 ounce pour, but the Whisky Wednesday price was $6 for a 1 ounce pour--an unbelievable steal! We chatted a bit with Sergi about The Watergate’s new liquid promotion.

Talk a bit about the process of selecting distilleries for Whisky Wednesdays.
The purpose is to seek out exclusive, hard-to-source drams and offer them to our guests as an exclusive experience.

Who have you had the chance to meet so far from the distilleries?
Dave Pickerell [former Maker’s Mark distiller who now consults for WhistlePig and other distilleries], Jim McEwan [of Bruichladdich Distillery], Fred Noe [of Jim Beam] and many others.

What upcoming distillery are you most looking forward to and why?
Well, I heard Pappy van Winkle might be featured in one of the upcoming Wednesdays! Why [am I looking forward to it?] It’s Pappy!

How is this promotion a great way to appeal to both whisky newbies and aficionados?
Newbies get to try stellar brands which they may not be familiar with or are not willing to risk money on because their palate is still in the developmental stage. Aficionados will find more bang for their buck on the pricing side and appreciate the exclusive and hard-to-source whiskies.

Are you pouring any of these whiskies into cocktails, or are they too high end?
The current menu does not have these featured whiskies, but we will have something special in the spring.

What kind of ice do you use at The Next Whisky Bar?
We use Clinebell Ice that comes in a big block and I carve it up by hand. We also use Kold-Draft.

What is your favorite whisk(e)y category and why?
Scotch provides so many different expressions, tastes, flavors for time of day, year, mood, etc. I might want a dram with a lot of salinity one day, then a smoky, peaty Scotch the next. Scotch always has you covered.

If you'd like to up your game at home, Sergi has shared recipes for two whisky cocktails she serves at The Watergate. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Sergi, The Watergate, Washington, D.C.

  • 3/4 oz. Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. Aperol
  • 3/4 oz. Amaro Montenegro

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a small airplane.

Cut Throat
Recipe courtesy of Rachel Sergi, The Watergate, Washington, D.C.

  • 3/4 oz. High West Silver Whiskey Western Oat
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. anise cane
  • 1/4 oz. pineapple juice

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over a large cube, or strain into a cocktail glass.