When I started this blog just a few weeks ago, it was mostly for my own record of our adventures in the city. My memory gets more and more terrible as I age, and there is just so much about DC that’s awesome, I wanted to make sure it was documented in some way. It’s also fun to share this city with others, so that was an added bonus of the blog being public. I get to share that which excites me! To keep from bombarding the audiences that I’ve curated with my own personal accounts (mostly so as not to annoy my friends if they’re not interested in my blog), I created a separate Twitter for the blog. This seemed like a natural extension of the blog for sharing with people.
In my first handful of tweets, I posted my review for Mockingbird Hill and mentioned them so that they might take notice. In that review, I talked about their apple / sage tonic in their Brigade G&T on draft, how I was still craving it, and how it inspired me to try to make my version of the tonic. They took notice and offered me an opportunity that I never thought this blog could bring me, at least not this early in the game. They invited me over to teach me how the tonic was made. It floored me that they would be so open and so willing to share a “secret recipe” with me! Sometimes this city can feel so exclusive. Everyone is so busy and important, and if you’re on the outside of that, you don’t matter. Instead, they invited me in.
I set up a time one afternoon with Timothy Burt of Mockingbird Hill and JP Fetherston of Southern Efficiency. When I got to the bar, Timothy had already peeled all the fruit involved and was in the middle of juicing what seemed like a zillion lemons. JP came over and sat down and told me the story of where he got the idea. Kegged cocktails was actually going to be its own venture, but DC laws are so restrictive about container size and liquor and distribution, that it’s just not feasible yet. He also told me and all the tweaks that happened before they landed on that particular recipe. I was a little surprised, and never would have guessed a couple of the ingredients, so I know that my attempt without knowing the recipe would have been a total disappointment. He let me take a picture of the hand-written recipe, and I joked that I was going to steal it and open my own Gin and Tonic bar. (Not really) (ALSO, SOMEONE IN DC! PLEASE STEAL MY IDEA FOR A GIN AND TONIC BAR!) The tonic is actually created to complement the flavors in Green Hat original release gin, which it does way better than any store-bought tonic. I really, REALLY love Green Hat though, so I’m inclined to love anything it’s in! They go through about 1.5-2 sixtels of the stuff every week. One sixtel has SEVEN 750mL bottles of Green Hat, just to give you an idea of how many G&T’s that is.
We talked about how before they had the kitchen at Eat The Rich, he was making the tonic in his own kitchen and about how funky that smelled. I appreciated the warning and will definitely try to make sure I attempt to make mine on a day that I can open the windows. Once all the ingredients were prepped, we headed over to the kitchen and threw the pot of goodness on the stove. While in the kitchen, I noticed that they were in the process of smoking the cola for the white whiskey and smoked cola that they serve on tap at Southern Efficiency. It was so much fun to see them try to figure out the best way to get the most smoke into the cola. I felt like I had a backstage pass to the inner workings of the 3 bars. I didn’t stick around for the completion of the tonic because it had to be on the stove for a while and I sort of felt like I was keeping them from prepping for the evening, but after I left I just had so many ideas for different flavors of tonic to try on my own. Grapefruit and ginger? Who knows! We’ll see what I can come up with!