The beloved season of cherry blossoms, outdoor patios, bright colors and refreshing flavors is officially upon Washington D.C. Michael Mina’s BOURBON STEAK is springing into the season by releasing its updated cocktail menu today. Thanks to an exclusive afternoon tasting with BSDC’s stellar staff, THL has the exclusive on the drinks Washingtonians must order.
Located off the lobby of Georgetown’s Four Seasons Hotel, BOURBON STEAK gives an innovative, elegant twist to the American steakhouse. While luxurious, BSDC also boasts a warm, welcoming atmosphere, particularly through its cocktail bar. Head Bartender Torrence Swain, a native of Virginia’s Tidewater and former cocktail connoisseur at Farmers Fishers Bakers, brings his Southern hospitality to one of Washington’s finest establishments.
Ahead of the release, Torrence and the rest of BSDC’s team gathered for their quarterly cocktail tasting, in which I was invited to participate. From sommeliers, to cigar aficionados, to highly-skilled bartenders and servers, nearly the entire team was assembled to scrutinize the details of their new menu so every drop tastes of perfection.
Impressive is an understatement when describing the knowledge in the room. Prior to the tasting, team members were quizzed on the menu and during the tasting each beverage was sharply questioned by the staff, who wanted specifics on every ingredient, thoughts behind the creation of the flavor profile, as well as the process for creating and serving. During drink presentations members of the team were called out at random and asked to pair the cocktail with a specific dish on the menu or a particular cigar. The value Swain placed on the opinions of every staff member, as well as the passion of the staff for the execution of each beverage, was awe-inspiring and a testament to the quality of BSDC.
We sampled sixteen cocktails, and while all were of expert design and taste, here are some of the standouts:
Refresh Yourself – Koala in Cuzco
This beverage is full of bright flavor with mint infused La Diablada Pisco, kiwi and fresh lime. Garnished with candied mint and compressed mint-flavored kiwi, the cocktail manages the perfect balance between sweet and herby.
A Smashing Success – Freshen UP
A choice patio cocktail, Freshen UP blends pisco, mezcal, sotol and gin with fresh lime, mint and ginger. It’s light, refreshing and ideal for lovers of more powerful lime flavors.
Play it Cool
As an Urban Bourbon Trailblazer, it’s no surprise this drink was my favorite. Inspired by a cucumber lemonade cognac he had years ago, Swain mixed Bulleit bourbon, spicy Rittenhouse Rye, Hennessey VA, George Dickel #9 and Compass Box Asyla. In a flavor combination I’ve never had, but adored, this boozy mixture is elevated by fresh lemon, cucumber, cane and soda. The powerful citrus and cucumber flavors lightened the bourbon’s bite and was the most refreshing bourbon cocktail I’ve ever tasted.
Sweet for a Sweet – Lost in Decadence
This rich dessert drink is Swain’s version of a cherry cordial. Vodka is combined with house-made fudge, and ristretto. Topped with a fluffy eggwhite espuma of Godiva white chocolate, hazelnut liqueur, and maraschino, the beverage is aptly named – you’ll truly get lost in its chocolatey decadence.
Tiki Time – Maui Waui
Pina colada enthusiasts will appreciate BSDC’s upscale take on this classic. Coconut infused Denros rum is mixed with pineapple gomme, orgeat fresh lime and barrel aged bitters. Served over crushed ice, garnished with a pineapple chunk and topped with cocoa powder, the flavor combination is rich, tropical and delicious.
International Leisure – Peruvian Pisco Punch
BSDC’s take on Peru’s Pisco Sour serves pineapple, fresh lime, fresh grapefruit and Angostura bitters in a small carafe, which is then poured over a pineapple and clove ice cube. The presentation is lovely and the tart taste makes for a perfect first drink, preparing your palate for delicious food and drinks to come.
The Sparkle in Your Eye – Beer’s Knees
A close second favorite of mine, this cocktail is a twist on the classic Bee’s Knees and tastes like sunshine. Gin, fresh lemon, and honey are mixed with 3 Star peppercorn saison and garnished with a lemon peel. The carbonation from the beer brightens the already fresh flavors and acts as a perfect pick-me-up.
The best part? This isn’t even half of the cocktails curated by Torrence Swain and team. With the district now shining and blooming, make the trek to Georgetown, enjoy the sun on Bourbon Steak’s patio and sip away to celebrate spring.