All in Drinks

An afternoon with Cusumano Wine

To be honest, I was completely clueless about Sicilian wine till a few weeks ago when I was invited to learn about Cusumano Winery, one of the foremost wine makers from Sicily. I was even more excited to learn that we would be pairing the wines with one of my all-time favorite food groups – pizza. And not just any pizza, Neopolitan style pizza at the popular Il Canale, which also, I had not been to prior to this!

A spirited visit to the Murlarkey Distillery

Murlarkey Distilled Spirits opened in Bristow, Virginia in January of 2016. Within a year and a half, they have managed to make quite a name for themselves and have won a number of awards. So a few weeks back, I jumped at the opportunity to head out to their distillery for a tour and tasting. There is something fun about taking a trip to a distillery in general, but the experience at Murlarkey is even more delightful.

Cinco de Mayo Festivities in DC

It’s Friday. It’s Cinco de Mayo. What more reason do you need to celebrate?

It’s probably best you know Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day as popularly thought here in the US. It’s in fact, the date commemorating the Mexican Army's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

In any case, it’s become such a tradition here now to celebrate Mexican culture on this date, and lots of restaurants and bars have some fun specials that you should take advantage of. Here are some of my favorites.

Truxton Inn DC - A neighborhood bar with classic cocktails in a cozy space

The Truxton Inn is my definition of a classy and cozy haunt – an old school looking but modern bar with gorgeous furnishings, comfy couches, bookshelves, and generally sultry vibe.  I love everything about the space– the pineapple lamps, the décor of photographs and books, the dim (but sufficient) lighting, the ceiling trims, and the overall atmosphere.  I think they totally nailed the classic hotel bar look without being stuffy! The patio coming later in the summer will be a great addition!

The Gibson - A brand new spring cocktail menu

The Gibson is one of those DC bars that is SOOOO much a part of DC cocktail culture – thy really don’t really need any introduction. Now we have a whole bunch of cocktails bars and “speakeasy” style bars and stuff, but when I first came to DC 7 years ago it was pretty much The Gibson.  

They still have some of the best drinks in town – both in terms of creativity and taste! What stands out to me time and again, however, is the creativity and thought behind each drink name, ranging from pop culture to politics to inside jokes between the bartenders.

Exploring Chilean wine - Valdivieso

Valdivieso winery dates back to 1879 when they introduced the first sparkling wine in South America – the “Champagne Valdivieso”. And yes, they could call it champagne back then because the whole ‘champagne from Champagne only’ laws only came about after that! They focused on sparkling wine for the longest time and introduced still wines in the 1980’s. Even now, they are mostly known for sparkling wine in South America, and the majority of their still wines are exported, although the production of both is pretty much split evenly now.

Brickside Food and Drink - much more than bar fare!

I never really think of Bethesda as a dining destination and almost never venture out there. But just away from the main Bethesda downtown is Brickside Food and Drink -  a sports bar with upscale refined food that had me wondering why I didn’t make the visit earlier!

Chef Matthew Smith has come in and elevated Brickside to a place where “the sport fan and foodie intersect”.  Chef Smith, who has previously worked at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in Las Vegas,  in Italy as  the sous chef at critically acclaimed CarneVino, and then moved back to his native Maryland to oversee the kitchen at Baltimore’s Salt Tavern, has really raised the bar on the food at Brickside. I really don’t want to call it “bar food” since it’s so much more than that!