I'm Erik Holzherr. I am a cocktail aficionado and an owner of three cocktail bars in the D.C. area. My passion is mixology. In other words, I’m a creative chef for drinkers. This blog provides a snob-free opportunity to learn about the art of mixology in a fun and digestible format.
Negroni Week is once again upon us! The Negroni is a classic cocktail that in recent years has come back with a vengeance! It is made of equal part Campari (bitter orange liqueur), red vermouth, and gin, with a twist. It is a fun drink to tweak for many bartenders and this year, from June 5-11th, our staff at Church&State and Wisdom will be serving up their recipes for your drinking pleasure as well as the Fisher House Charity.
As a long-time mixologist its current popularity truly surprises and pleases me; for it is a drink that stands out boldly in the bitter realm–a realm that the masses usually do not embrace.
Appreciating bitter is generally something that comes with experience and age–it is said that ‘a mature palate, is one that appreciates bitter’, and that the young tend to shy away from this part of the flavor spectrum. Bitter however is a cornerstone in the Italian liqueur world, where imbibing on a digestivo after the meal is a long and wide-spread cultural tradition. The growing love for this classic beauty may very well be a good indicator of America’s revival of and embracing of the neo-cocktail culture.
The classic origin story is that the drink was created by or for Count Camillo Negroni circa 1920 in Florence, Italy at Bar Casoni (now, Caffe Giacosa). The concoction was a riff and higher-proof evolution of an Americano (indicating bitter in Italian not American) Campari, red vermouth soda water. Before the Americano, there was the Milano-Torino (Campari from Milan and Martini Rosso Vermouth from Turin) and older still the Torino-Milano (Campari and Amaro Cora, another Italian bitter liqueur). And before the Torino-Milano there was the big bang.
So swing by Wisdom or Church & State June 5-11th for a unique Negroni cocktail experience!
We Have Gift Certificates For The Cocktail Enthusiast On Your List!
Email DCWISDOM@gmail.com with “Gift Certificate” in the Subject line and how many persons you would like to purchase for. We will then send you a paypal link and then mail the certificate & password to you. The lucky recipient will then email us (at the email above) to reserve their class anytime in 2016.
Erik Holzherr started bartending 10 years ago in Los Angeles. Before that he was an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Holzherr witnessed the start of the craft cocktail movement while growing up in New York City and was able to hone his skills on the west coast where he worked towards his dream of one day opening his own bar. That dream came to fruition when he opened up DC’s Wisdom in 2008. Gin fans may know Wisdom for its expansive gin list. “All the botanicals and flavors, its a little bit of a witches brew,” said Holzherr in a recent conversation with On Tap, “It’s exciting if you mix it correctly. It will pop and have some very rewarding compliments.”
“CHURCH AND STATE: Church and State stays very much on-theme, from the decor (yes, I do want to get drunk in a church pew) to the “Bill of Rights” emblazoned on the menu. The drinks are no exception, focusing exclusively on American creations like the Prohibition-era Tom Collins and Gin Rickey, as well as a riff on the Sazerac, the official drink of New Orleans. Like the cocktails, the ingredients are usually American as well, down to the small-batch distilled whiskies and vodkas.”
AUTHOR MATT TEACHER WILL BRING THE SPIRIT OF GIN TO DC WITH A BOOK SIGNING AND CURATED GIN FLIGHT AT WISDOM
On Tuesday, November 18 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., gin expert Erik Holzherr (The Gintender) will host a special Book Signing with author Matt Teacher to celebrate the release of The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival (Cider Mill Press Book Publishers, November 2014) at Wisdom (1432 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, 202-543-2323). Guests will be able to purchase copies of the book at the event for Teacher to sign, and will also have the option to purchase and sip a specially curated gin flight that Teacher and Holzherr put together specifically for the event.
“Washington, DC has become a mecca for cocktail lovers, and especially for gin lovers, over the past few years, and I’m thrilled to visit and share my new book with the knowledgeable and curious drinkers in the District,” says Teacher, who is also the author of The Home Distiller’s Handbook (Cider Mill Press, 2011). Adds Holzherr, “We’re so happy to have Matt join us and share his gin stories first-hand with our fans and friends.”
Teacher and Holzherr created a special flight of three exceptional gins for guests to compare and contrast at the event which will include a traditional London dry gin, a historic Old Tom gin and a barrel-aged gin.
The Spirit of Gin is an engaging and informative chronicle of Teacher’s self-education on the oft-misunderstood and newly back-in-vogue spirit. The book, loaded with cocktail recipes, celebrated clubs, bars and top mixologists passionate about the spirit, as well as the large and small distilleries making the best gins today, belongs on the shelf of any serious home bartender, and would be equally at ease beside other best-selling cocktail books in any of the bars that Teacher visits on his gin-fueled journey. Each page leads readers through Teacher’s story in words, recipes and illustrations that range from clever original pieces to vintage advertisements and photographs. The book is a showpiece and makes a thoughtful gift for anyone interested in the contemporary cocktail revival.
Established in 2008, Wisdom is Washington, DC’s first dedicated cocktail parlor. The bar features the largest gin selection in DC/MD/VA, specializing in house-original cocktails, the finest American microbrews and the largest selection of authentic absinthe in Capitol Hill. Wisdom is also home to the country’s first Gin Club. It is located a half block from the Potomac Avenue Metro stop on the blue, orange and silver lines.
Matt Teacher is the co-founder and proprietor of Philadelphia, PA’s Sine Studios, a recording facility designed for acoustic optimization. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he is also a devoted spirits lover whose thirst for knowledge drove him to research and write The Home Distiller’s Handbook, and now, The Spirit of Gin. He resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Katie, a musician who frequently joins him on his travels and who he is proud to have transformed from a vodka kind of gal into a knowledgeable gin lover. He is also the author of The Musician’s Hit Song Writer’s Notebook (Cider Mill Press, 2009).