Barmini or the Ministry of Innovative and Craft Cocktails

Words and photos by David Santori 

The discrete door on the corner of 9th St NW & E St NW transports you from Chinatown/Penn Quarter into a world of expert cocktails. 

The discrete door on the corner of 9th St NW & E St NW transports you from Chinatown/Penn Quarter into a world of expert cocktails. 

If you’re invited to a cocktail tasting at Barmini by José Andrés, you should not even hesitate one tiny second. Run there and grab a friend on your way while you’re at it! Have you heard of their cocktail flight experience? Word on the street is that the modern techniques, ingredients, and artful skills with which their cocktails are created will take you on quite a tasty adventure. Foam, fire, nitrogen, air, and other molecular phenomenons will leave you speechless yet wanting more. So what are you waiting for?

Our expert bartender, Al, making our liquid nitrogen course, the LN2 Caipirinha. 

Our expert bartender, Al, making our liquid nitrogen course, the LN2 Caipirinha. 

When you step inside Barmini, you step into a different world - Palm Springs meets Anthropologie meets art déco. It’s sophisticated, it’s whimsical, it’s innovative.

The floral cocktail changes colors as it is prepared. 

The floral cocktail changes colors as it is prepared. 

But the real treat awaits behind the long white bar with enticing and inventive names such as Espuma, Infusion and Spherification - truly the type of cocktails you will visually appreciate being crafted in front of you and let’s not forget enjoy sipping all night long.

Delicious bites from minibar can be ordered like these grilled cheese sandwiches with truffle, cheddar, and caramelized onions. 

Delicious bites from minibar can be ordered like these grilled cheese sandwiches with truffle, cheddar, and caramelized onions. 

Tuna tartare with quail egg to quell our mounting appetites. 

Tuna tartare with quail egg to quell our mounting appetites. 

Learn more and make reservations for barmini at their website here


Photographer, blogger, Instagram addict and Parisian expat, David Santori has spent 17 years in the country before recently settling down in our nation’s capital. David’s musings are sprinkled with food, colors, lifestyle photos, travel experiences as well as humorous cultural differences. Follow his adventures @frenchieyankee on Instagram. And no, David does not own a béret.

Federal Negroni Recipe & Negroni Week

by Roberts & June, special to EdibleDC Processed with VSCOcam with f3 preset

With all apologies to the martini and the Manhattan, if we could rescue only one cocktail recipe from the apocalypse, it would be the Negroni. To our taste buds, nothing rivals the exquisite balance of floral, bitter, and sweet found in the original Negroni. And nothing is more satisfying than riffing off of the original recipe’s template of one part spirit, one part liqueur, one part fortified wine. The possibilities are endless, and almost always worth drinking.  We’ve been especially delighted by this all-local variation, which somehow manages to be both traditional and original, paying deep homage to the Negroni’s Italian roots with ingredients made entirely in the District. You can practically taste the loving care in Don Ciccio & Figli’s easy-drinking, hand-crafted Luna Amara, and the spicy, fruity brightness of Capitoline’s vermouth brings a richness to the drink that we think—dare we say it—even surpasses the original.

June 6-12 happen to be Negroni Week, which raises money for charitable causes. Find a bar near you in the DMV and go have one or two for the kids of course.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Stir the liquid ingredients with ice in a mixing glass until ice is well melted.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with orange slice.

RobertsJuneRoberts and June recently moved to DC from Boston. They're former pastors who are now on a mission to help people drink better on every occasion; you can find more of their recipes, reviews, and tips on building your home bar at robertsandjune.com.

5 pigs, 5 chefs, 1 winner - the return of cochon 555

by AJ Dronkers, Digital Editor CoCoSalaPig

This post is being updated for the upcoming Cochon 555 event taking place on Sunday, April 17 at the Loews Madison Hotel.

Cochon 555 is back! We loved Cochon 555 event so much that we are partnering with them again as they bring it back to DC. The event challenges five of our top local chefs to cook one whole, family farm-raised, heritage pig for a group of twenty notable judges. Come experience this one of-a-kind event!

The competing chefs:

  • Jennifer Carroll of the Requin
  • Anthony Lombardo of The Hamilton
  • Louis Goral of Rural Society
  • Jonah Kim of Yona
  • Marjorie Meek-Bradley of Ripple
  • Danny Lee of Mandu

Additional chefs:

  • Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground & Maketto

You can read our full recap (below) from Cochon 555 to get a sense for the incredible chefs, farms, drinks, and food!


Last Sunday, EdibleDC was thrilled to be the media sponsor of COCHON 555, a traveling cooking competition that pairs 5 local chefs and 5 local farmers who provide 5 heritage breed pigs for the event. The event brought out 500 fans ready to taste the delicious pork creations and vote for their favorite chef.

BubenCochon

As a judge, I had the unique challenge of experiencing the "nose-to-tail" creations of each chef who were challenged to use every part of their heritage pig. First up, fitting since he has been in DC since 1984, Chef Jeffrey Buben, was paired with Faith Like A Mustard Seed Farm's Large Black pig. His southern inspired brunch creations included sunny-side egg, pineapple-onion marmalade, ham hollandaise and pork shoulder with pimento cheese grits!

VictorCochon

Next up was the effervescent Chef Victor Albisu, who was paired with Autumn Olive Farm's Ossabaw pig. Dressed in a white coat, aviators, cigar and mojito gun he walked us through his "Swineface" themed menu. Notable standouts for me were the mojito marinated pork shoulder, rum soaked pineapple, mint and pickled chili taco and the Cuban midnight sandwich with Swiss cheese, espelette cured loin, pickle and yellow mustard.

ChefSpikeDuckPig

Next up was Top Chef finalist, Chef Spike Mendelsohn, who also brought in friends Chef Mike Colletti, Chef Chris Kulis to help him roll out "Porgy's Last Brunch" theme. He was paired with Spring House Farm's Mulefoot pig.

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My favorites from Team Spike were the blood sausage with mascarpone grits, apple and fennel salad and the slow cooked bacon which was honey glazed and served with vanilla bourbon ice cream! Even though I'm doing my best to restrict my judging tastings to mere bites, some items demand seconds. At this point I'm starting to feel full--and there are still two chefs to go.

YonaCochon

We have been anxiously awaiting Chef Jonah Kim's new restaurant concept, Yona, a collaboration with local chef and restauranteur Mike Isabella -- so getting an advance sampling of his cuisine and a preview of what might be on the menu at Yona was especially exciting.

YonaMeal

The mini pork shoulder biscuit with Korean BBQ and cabbage was a palate pleaser, full of savory flavors. What was unusual and I loved was Chef Jonah's interpretation of a shabu-shabu like process where a raw pork leg was cooked when dipped into kimchi stew. The struggle to eat more is starting to get real but I down some libations and prepare for the final course!

DannyLeeCochon

Chef Danny Lee took home the prize that night with this Korean inspired meal -- in particular the bindaedduk pancake of tenderloin strips mixed with pureed mung and soy beans and the ground shoulder and cheek dumplings folded with house made skins were a delightful way to end the evening.

BigPandaCochon

PunchCochon

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Cochon 555 was a blast--and we learned a lot about the different types of heritage pigs, butchering and using whole animals with creative ways to cook absolutely every part of the pig! We can't wait for the return of this rowdy and delicious food competition.

Cherry Blossom March Madness at Station Kitchen and Cocktails

by AJ Dronkers, Associate Publisher, EdibleDC Sakura Manhattan

Spring has arrived and soon everyone will be celebrating the iconic return of the Cherry Blossoms. The National Park Service  announced the peak will fall between March 18-23. Want to have your mood do some spring blossoming? Start with cherry blossom cocktails. Two versions are being served starting Thursday March 17 at Station Kitchen & Cocktails inside Embassy Row Hotel in Dupont Circle.

It's all part of a spring celebration and their own March Madness. Each night, Station Kitchen & Cocktails will be serve up a series of cocktails at their bar, sixteen to be exact. Each of the artisan cocktails is competing in "cocktail march madness" brackets. The cocktails that perform the best each night move-on. Make sure you swing by and cast your vote!

And now for some cherry blossom inspiration--here are two cocktail recipes for the season.

Sakura Manhattan

2oz Rittenhouse Rye .75 oz Carpano Antica .5 oz Dolin Dry 2 dash Cherry Bitters Stirred and serve up.

Yoshino Rickey

Yoshino Rickey

1.5oz Bluecoat Gin .75oz Lime .5oz Tart Cherry Juice .5oz Lemon Balm

Shaken and served tall over ice.

Chefs Behind Bars: Supporting Kids with Cocktails

image1Words and photos by Sara Axelrod, special to Edible DC Seven of DC’s top chefs gathered at Prequel, (downtown DC's restaurant incubator and event space), for Chefs Behind Bars on January 17th--an annual fundraising event benefiting the Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign. The campaign's sole focus on ending childhood hunger by connecting kids to the healthy food they need, every day. From whiskey cocktails with salty rims and smoked onion garnishes to mezcal cocktails paired with pumpkin pop-tarts—each chef brought their best and most creative ideas to the table in support of No Kid Hungry.

The lineup included the following chefs, many of whom who have or have previously utilized the Prequel incubator space to kick start their own restaurants:

Matt Baker | Gravitas Jen Carroll | Requin John Critchley| Brine Hamilton Johnson | Honeysuckle Liam LaCivita | Bar Civitaimage3 James Martin| District Supper Yuki Nakandakari | Ocopa

Jen Carroll wowed the crowd with her take on a Dark and Stormy, where the well-known rum drink became an exotic tropical vacation with passion fruit tea mixed with orange blossom water. Liam La Civita from Bar Civita’s cocktail lineup was not for the faint of heart. While delicious, Citiva’s cocktail of rye, orange juice, ginger beer with a smoked paprika salt rim needed food as a chaser, and this meant a required after drink indulgence in the fried chicken and biscuits that were being passed around before moving on to the next tasting.

Overall, the event was a great success, selling out two days prior to the doors opening with silent auction items that had the crowd buzzing featuring items such as a weekend stay at Smyth - a Thompson Hotel in New York City, dinner for two at Chef Hamilton Johnson's Honeysuckle, the southern-inspired restaurant currently popping up at Prequel and a cooking lesson for two from Chef James Martin of District Supper.

Most important, beyond the delicious snacks, inspiring cocktails and engaging silent auction items, all the proceeds went to benefit a great cause.

One in five children in the United States struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is working tirelessly to end child hunger in America by breaking down barriers that keep kids from healthy food and connecting them to food where they live. This means spearheading innovative hunger solutions in local communities such as nutritious school breakfasts, summer meals, after school nutrition, cooking classes and grocery store trips with local schools to teach both kids and parents how to make healthier, cost-effective food choices. Events like DC's Chefs Behind Bars are an example of local outreach to raise money and shine a national spotlight on the growing crisis of child hunger.

Food insecurity affects kids in a multitude of ways and can lead to lifelong challenges. By supporting organizations like Share Our Strength, we can make a difference in this national epidemic. For more information on Share Our Strength and No Kids Hungry, go here.

Axelrod_Sara_headshot

Hawaii/Colorado native and DC transplant, Sara Axelrod is a frequenter of farmers markets, vegetable enthusiast and constantly lusts after the perfect French fry. When she is not cooking or exploring DC’s thriving restaurant scene, she works at the DC-based public affairs firm, The Glover Park Group, as a communications professional on the Energy and Sustainability team, with a focus on food policy and sustainable agriculture.

Mix and Mingle at at Your Own Cocktail Party - A Pro Entertainer Tells You How

By Gina Cherservani special to EdibleDCPhotography by Hannah Hudson

Gina

Its 7pm. Guests are arriving and you are one of them! Doesn’t that sound appealing—being able to be a guest in your own home for the holidays? It’s easy. It requires a little planning and setup, but once that’s done you too can enjoy the spirit of the day with your friends and loved ones.

So how do we achieve this state of entertaining nirvana? And what does that mean? Step one, make lists: Who is coming and what to you want to serve? How many people? What space is available for an area to set up the libations?

OK, you’ve made the list. Step two: How do you set it all up? When entertaining guests at home, no real estate should be left unused. For example, a nontraditional table that normally wouldn’t make an ideal bar can be retrofitted with some easy DIY steps.

Party Tip Number One: PUNCH! Well, because punch is perfect! Nothing is more welcoming than a punch bowl filled with a holiday elixir and garnished with ribbons of citrus and fresh herbs. It practically screams “Drink me!” Here is a super-easy recipe that can be adapted to any spirit.

Gina’s Easy Punch Recipe for Any Spirit

Punch

Take 16 ounces cranberry-rosemary syrup (see recipe), 1 bottle of spirit (rum, gin or whiskey), 1 gallon of apple cider, 2 quarts of grapefruit juice, 30 dashes of Angostura Bitters and 2 bottles of dry bubbly wine, such as champagne or cava. Pour all the ingredients into a punch bowl or some other large bowl that you may have on hand. Then garnish it with grapefruit peels and rosemary and fresh cranberries for a pop of color. Add one large block of ice. (Pro tip: Use an old milk carton that has been washed out. Fill with water and freeze 24 hours beforehand. Once frozen you can peel the carton off the ice block and now you have punch ice.)

Traditionally, I like to serve punch as close to the entrance as possible and since the ice is already in the bowl, you can do this anywhere. Place the bowl in the center of a ring of glasses, whichever kind of glass or plastic cup you are using (mixed-matched is always a nice touch). Make sure you put out a ladle and some sort of napkin. An extra-special touch is having a little card or picture frame with the list of ingredients, saving you from having to tell every guest what is in the bowl.

Party Tip Number Two: The Old Fashioned

MiniMasonJars

The Old Fashioned is a cocktail consisting of simply whiskey, sugar and bitters. Does it get easier? Not really, and people love them. Well, you don’t want your guests waiting around for these drinks of beauty. What to do? Set them and forget them … here is how: Go out and buy a flat or two of 6-ounce Mason jelly jars (available at any hardware store or grocery store). First unscrew and clean all the jars, then allow them to cool. Then in each jar add 2 ounces of whiskey or bourbon, 1 ounce simple syrup or flavored simple syrup, 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters and 3 dashes of orange bitters, screw the lid back on and set them in the refrigerator, until 30 minutes before the first guest arrives.

Now for the setup: Find an area in your house that people can gather around, such as a kitchen island or round table. Pile the jars like a store display (see photo), put out a bowl of orange peels and ice for the cocktails. Don’t forget an ice scoop, otherwise people use their hands (um, yuck). Make a little card and frame it saying, “Serve yourself an Old Fashioned, just add ice and orange peel, and enjoy!”

Party Tip Number Three: The Moscow Mule Bar

MoscowMule

Setting your home into stations keeps the flow moving and people from gathering right in front of the libations all night long. Everyone has a lazy side when it comes to preparing, so this is my couch potato saving grace, a Moscow Mule bar.

Go out and buy a variety of ginger beers, a couple of bottles of Prairie Vodka, limes, mint for garnish, couple bags of crushed ice. Set out ginger beers on either sides of the vodka, then prepare bowl of limes cut in half with a hand juicer on top. Put crushed ice in the bucket with a scoop. On the table leave out a bottle opener for the ginger beer and the recipe: Pour vodka into the glass, squeeze one half of a lime, fill with crushed ice then top with ginger beer (pick one) and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Cranberry-Rosemary syrup

1 bag fresh cranberries 4 cups sugar 3 cups water 2 sprigs rosemary

In a pot, combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook until cranberries pop open, remove from heat, strain hot and reserve syrup for cocktails. The syrup will keep for 3–4 months in the refrigerator.