What are the secrets to creating a great cocktail? This question came up during my chat with one of the Rye Bar’s signature & most well-known D.C. bartenders, Angel Cervantes. “The liquor must stand out and the herbs and liqueurs must always come secondary.” I wanted to get a deeper look into how our bartenders at Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown create these unique, flavor punched cocktails, and what the basics are to create my own at home. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I asked Angel for his best romantic cocktail tips:
One of my favorite words of recommendation from Angel is, “It doesn’t matter what you’re making, it matters who you’re making it with.” Creating cocktails involves letting loose and being creative. To make it romantic, try tasting new flavors with your significant other to experience what you both like. “Play with flavors of liqueurs, juices, sweetness, and acidity and decide what you are in the mood for.” First, you must choose your liquor that will be the main focus of the drink. Then think about what to add to your cocktail- herbs like lavender, rosemary, basil (infused in simple syrup), and citruses like lemons, limes, and oranges. Once you both develop your favorite ingredients, fixings, and liquors, you will have an easier and more pleasurable time crafting cocktails.
Some of Angel’s suggested staple bar ingredients are:
- Lime or Lemon
- Sugar infused with an assortment of herbs or fruits
- Bitters, a liquid, often an alcoholic liquor, in which bitter herbs or roots have steeped, used as a flavoring
Will this Valentine’s Day be bitter or sweet for you? Regardless, here’s a great cocktail recipe that you can try out for yourself at home in case you’re not able to be here with us this year!
My Bitter Valentine
1.5 oz. Boyd & Blair Vodka
Dash of Hum Herbal Liqueur
.75 oz. St-Germaine
1 oz. Luxardo
Top with 3 dashes Boston Bitters
.25 oz. Lime juice
Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a dried rose petal.
For a more hands on learning experience, The Rye Bar is hosting a Couple’s Cocktail Class on Valentine’s Day weekend, which is all about enjoying quality time with your significant other while developing romantic craft cocktails and learning essential bar techniques. Guests will also delight in canapés and small bites, followed by a 3-course meal with cocktail pairings. At the end, each couple will receive a signature take home gift from The Rye Bar! For reservations, contact Elisabeth Thomas at (202) 617-2429 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.