kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits, travel & lifestyle writer / wine educator


Bourbon, steak and tons more

Last week I had the pleasure of checking out the new bar menu and libations at Bourbon Steak in Georgetown. I hadn't been there since last December, soon after it opened (when I just oogled over the lengthy "bar book," not to mention the truffle oil french fries and American Kobe steak.) Mixologists Duane Sylvestre and Jamie MacBainas navigated me through the still lofty drinks menu, divided into Classic, House, Market Fresh and Champagne Cocktail sections.

The lounge attracts both locals seeking an upscale experience (and perhaps live jazz, which is performed on Friday evenings), expertly made drinks and a nibble or two--both the bar menu and the full restaurant menu are available in the lounge.

Duane told me the top sellers right now are the Jefferson, made with Bulleit Bourbon, Crème de Mure, Carpano Antica Formula, Fee Brother’s Old Fashioned bitters; and the soon to disappear from the menu Indian Summer, with Plymouth Gin, peppercorns, fresh lime, strawberry syrup and egg white. Both were lovely in their own way--the Indian Summer gave a definite nod to summer's fleeting super sweet strawberries (I miss June already...), while the Jefferson has a decidedly fall feel to it (brown spirits tend to do that...)

I was certainly intrigued by the Forest Through the Trees, described on the menu as "a loose adaptation of the Southside Cocktail," with Plymouth Gin, Clear Creek Eau de Vie de Douglas Fir, tarragon, fresh lemon and Peychaud’s bitters. While Duane said the mention of a fir tree makes some guests steer clear of a drink that they fear may taste like Pine Sol, the promise of a fresh pine scent and flavor actually made me want to order it even more. I was surprised to find that the drink actually tasted much more herbal than like a Christmas tree (I'm sure the tarragon had a lot to do with that), but either way, the sip turned out to be great to pair with some of the appetizers we shared, including the aforementioned trio of french fries; fried pickles, spicy chicken lettuce wraps and a juicy burger with no condiments required--the meat was that flavorful.

My favorite cocktail of the evening turned out to be the Spiced Marmalade. Its oranges and cloves totally spoke to the season (and reminded me of a great bubble bath I used to have that was discontinued. But I digress...). So spicy, cozy, and citrusy-fresh (and not requiring of any unusual or hard to find ingredients, or time consuming techniques, which I disappointingly find is sometimes the case with great drinks I hear about). I actually tracked down the recipe for that one, and plan on whipping some up very, very soon:

Spiced Marmalade
Courtesy of Bourbon Steak, Washington, DC

2 oz Plymouth gin
1 oz orange juice
½ oz lemon juice
3-4 cloves
muddled barspoon of orange marmalade
2 dashes of orange bitters

Shake all with ice, and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.