Young and Hungry

Where to Find 25-Cent Martinis Tonight and 2-Cent Bottles of Wine Tomorrow


It's astonishing enough to find a cocktail under $10 in D.C. these days. But if you like booze on the cheap—and I mean coins-under-the-couch-cushion cheap—you can get tipsy for mere cents this weekend.

Today in honor of faux-holiday National Martini Day, DC Coast is offering 25-cent vodka martinis with the purchase of any dish at the bar or in the dining room all day. Guests can choose from any domestic vodka on the restaurant's shelves. The limit is one martini per person.

On Saturday, alcohol delivery app Klink will offer bottles of Once Upon a Vine red and white wine, normally priced at $15, for two cents from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The promotion celebrates the service's one-year anniversary in D.C. The fine print: The deal is limited to one bottle of white and one bottle of red per person. There is no delivery minimum, but you do still have to play the delivery fee of $3.87. The promotion lasts as long as the supplies do.

Photo courtesy DC Coast

The Green Zone—Creator of the “Fuck ISIS” Punch—Coming to EatsPlace


Chris Hassaan Francke, a consultant for the World Bank, first started getting serious about his cocktails with a "speakeasy" in his apartment in the fall of 2013. He's also half-Iraqi via Lebanon, half-American: "I grew up eating Arabic food, so I thought there must be a way to combine these flavors that I grew up with into cocktails."

Francke's initial thought was to start a cocktail bar in Beirut, where he visits two or three times a year. "But that's an entirely different game," he says. "That's an issue of changing the entire drinking culture there."

Instead, Francke graduated from his apartment to a pop-up serving Middle Eastern-inspired cocktails in D.C. bars. His venture, the Green Zone, has popped up at Black Whiskey, Vendetta, and Room 11 within the past year. And now, it's making its way to Park View "pop-uppery" EatsPlace. Francke will serve his drinks two nights a week for four weeks, beginning June 23 and 24 at 5 p.m. Kafta Burgers will simultaneously be taking over EatsPlace’s front patio for the next month, grilling up Middle Eastern-inspired burgers.

Francke makes his own bitters and syrups using ingredients like cardamom, allspice, sour cherry pits, rose, and saffron. One of his signature cocktails is the Fuck ISIS punch, which consists of two types of rums, Vimto (a British soft drink that's popular throughout the Middle East), lemon juice, and homemade bitters.

"My Iraqi family is very secular... ISIS represents everything that is antithetical to me," Francke says of the name. "All my repeat customers, that's often the first thing they have. Or if it's not the first thing they have, they make sure to have one." Read more The Green Zone—Creator of the “Fuck ISIS” Punch—Coming to EatsPlace

Try Japanese Whisky from Bar Otsukare, Popping Up at Crane & Turtle


Over the past year or so, bartenders Eddie Kim and Jesse Selvagn have assembled a collection of more than 50 Japanese whiskies, including some not available elsewhere in D.C. Now, they're giving the public the chance to taste and learn about many of these whiskies—as well as other Japanese beverages like sake and shochu—with a new pop-up at Petworth's Crane & Turtle called Bar Otsukare.

The first pop-up will take place Mon., June 29, and tickets are available on Eventbrite for $75. The debut seminar and tasting will include six whiskies from Nikka and Suntory distilleries that are aged from 12 to 17 years as well as a whisky highball. Crane & Turtle chef Makoto Hamamura will serve up bar snacks to go along with the spirits.

After the class (which lasts from 6:30 to 8 p.m.), Bar Otsukare will open to the general public for a rotating selection of la carte whiskies, shochus, and sakes. (See list below.) Kim and Selvagn say they will offer lower price points than most bars and restaurants because they're a pop-up and thus aren't burdened by rent and other major overhead costs. There won't be cocktails for now.

Kim says the idea is not just to give tasting notes but also to introduce people to Japanese culture by discussing why the whiskies are made a certain way and how Japanese people drink actually them. For example, many of the Japanese whiskies available in the U.S. have been marketed as luxury products. But for the most part, the Japanese drink their whisky very humbly with cold water or soda water. "They're just everyday drinks," Kim says. "They're not necessarily these super precious commodities." He points out that whisky highballs and sake are available from vending machines in the streets in Japan. Read more Try Japanese Whisky from Bar Otsukare, Popping Up at Crane & Turtle

Last Night’s Leftovers: Cheap Eats Edition

IMG_5639-e1408568601591The best cheap eats in the D.C. area [Washingtonian]

Madam's Organ fined $500 after band opened window to let out a fart. [Borderstan]

A meadery could be coming to D.C. [Express]

Meet the guy behind the Mount Pleasant Subway protest. [Post]

D.C.'s best "speakeasies" and hidden bars [Drink DC]

Ten icy drinks to try this summer [Eater]

What your last meal in D.C. should be [Thrillist]

Jessica Alba dined at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace last night. [PoPville]

Photo from Meats & Foods by Jessica Sidman

Green Hat Gin vs. Ivy City Gin

When making D.C.’s official cocktail—the gin rickey—you now have two spirits for a truly D.C.-made drink. One Eight Distilling debuted its Ivy City Gin last week, joining New Columbia Distillers’ Green Hat Gin in the local gin market. Although they’re both produced locally, the two products have very different flavors and branding. Here’s a quick comparison. 

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Photos courtesy New Columbia Distillers and One Eight Distilling

The ‘Wiching Hour: 3 Salsas’ Cubana Torta


The Sandwich: The Cubana Torta

Where: 3 Salsas, 3439 14th St. NW

Price: $12

Bread: Bolillo, an ovoid baguette popular in Mexico

Stuffings: Breaded and fried steak, ham, chicken, chorizo, fried egg, refried beans, queso fresco, lettuce, tomato, white onion, avocado, mayonnaise, and sour cream

Thickness: 4.5 inches

Pros: Despite its mile-long ingredient list, this sandwich comes together surprisingly well. Think of it as a Mexican take on the Uruguayan chivito. The plentiful serving of vegetables on top adds a cool dose of freshness, cutting through the saltier combination of ham, cheese, sausage, and egg. What really makes this sandwich great, however, is the mildly spicy slathering of refried beans, spread like hummus on the bottom bun. Read more The ‘Wiching Hour: 3 Salsas’ Cubana Torta

Brew In Town: Right Proper and Schlafly Plissken

Right Proper and Schlafly PlisskenRightProperandSchlaflyPlissken

Where in Town: Right Proper Brewing Company, 624 T St. NW

Price: $6/12 oz.

Snake’s On a Grain

Film director John Carpenter famously shot his 1981 post-apocalyptic action flick Escape From New York in St. Louis. In it, we see Kurt Russell (aka “Snake Plissken”) running down streets that resemble Berlin in 1945: crumbling and lined with burned-out, abandoned buildings. The kicker, of course, is that Carpenter captured St. Louis exactly as it was, no special effects required. One of the structures featured in the film stood empty for decades, until 1991, when Schlafly Tap Room moved in as a beacon for change. Last April, when Schlafly’s brewers attended the Repeal of Prohibition Festival in D.C., they befriended their counterparts from Right Proper. Soon enough, there was talk of collaboration, and now, we have the result: Plissken, affectionately named for the one-eyed badass. Read more Brew In Town: Right Proper and Schlafly Plissken

D.C.’s First Cat Cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers, Is Finally Here


"That is Tee Tee. This is Monica. That is Fur Ball," says Kanchan Singh pointing out some of the cats lounging around her new cat cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers.

"Fur Ball, did you spill water?"

Singh looks a little closer at the gray chair where Fur Ball is curled up. "Oh, it's his shadow," she says with a laugh. "I have had very little sleep, let me tell you." Specifically, the 24-year-old founder says she's gotten as little as four hours of shut-eye per night in preparation for this week's opening. Then she continues introducing the cats like reindeer leading Santa's sleigh: "That's Clapton, Midnight, Hoya... Hoya is crazy playful. That's Eunice, she refuses to come out of that cat bed. She just hangs out there. Hey, Eunice!" Upstairs, there's Olivia, "the diva cat." And let's not forget Joe Black, nicknamed "the bathroom cat," because he doesn't like to leave the bathroom.

All told, Crumbs & Whiskers is now home to 17 cats. That number will soon grow to 20. D.C.'s first cat cafe opened this week exclusively to members of its "Gentlemeow's Club," which includes Kickstarter contributors and people who signed up for the email list early. The Georgetown establishment opens up its online reservation system to the general public today and will charge $10 an hour for admission on weekdays and $12 an hour on weekends.

After some back and forth with the health department, Singh has decided to make her business more about the cats than the cafe. The place won't serve any of its own food or drinks, but guests will be able to get delivery of a few select items, like cookies (cat-shaped!), coffee, and smoothies, from Georgetown Dinette across the street. "Nothing messy, nothing that cats could get into, just something for you to sip on and nibble on," Singh says. She'll also bring in revenue from from cat tote bags, t-shirts with sayings like "the time is meow," and other cat-themed swag. Read more D.C.’s First Cat Cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers, Is Finally Here

Last Night’s Leftovers: Jukebox Edition


Here are the bars with the best jukeboxes [DCist]

Wonderland Ballroom owners open Dew Drop Inn. [Post]

Where to find Father's Day dining and drinking specials [Washingtonian]

D.C. restaurants that host weddings [Eater]

Maryland farms that brew their own beer [Express]

The Airedale, "Europub and beer garden," coming to former Mad Momos space. [New Columbia Heights]

A look at Science Club's updated menu [BYT]

Photo of jukebox via Shutterstock

Vermouth Is Beginning to Have Its Moment in D.C.


The housemade rosé vermouth at Etto could easily be mistaken for a cocktail. Aside from the lovely pinkish-garnet hue, it’s citrusy and slightly sweet with a nice herbal, bitter finish. And why suspect vermouth when, well, who orders a glass of vermouth these days? But if you’ve ever visited Spain, you’ll recognize the presentation: garnished with a pickled pepper, olive, and orange slice, and served with a soda siphon to turn the aperitif into a spritzer.

Etto is one of very few places in D.C. where you will find vermouth prominently featured on the menu. That’s starting to change. Several local bars are beginning to make their own vermouth in-house, and at Nido and the Royal, which both plan to open in the coming weeks, the aperitif will be the focus of their beverage offerings. Meanwhile, Etto manager Kat Hamidi and co-owner Peter Pastan have teamed up with New Columbia Distillers to bottle and sell their vermouth, which they’re calling Capitoline Vermouth. The first batch will debut in restaurants and bars next week with retail locations to follow. The product will be the first commercially available D.C.-made vermouth.

The challenge is that most American drinkers tend to think of vermouth as that “other” ingredient in a martini or Manhattan. This new wave of vermouth advocates aims to show people that it can stand on its own, or at the very least, be just as important to the quality and character of a cocktail as the type of gin or whiskey. Read more Vermouth Is Beginning to Have Its Moment in D.C.