Photos: Tracy Conoboy, Alanna Sheppard and Monica Alford
Photos: Tracy Conoboy, Alanna Sheppard and Monica Alford

Behind the Bar: July 2016

All-American 
Michael Rovezzi  Beverage Director at Bar Deco

On Tap: How would you characterize Bar Deco’s cocktails?
Michael Rovezzi: A blend of traditional classics and approachable craft cocktails. The idea is to offer great seasonal drinks with high-quality spirits in a way that’s approachable for anyone, not just the cocktail aficionado.

OT: What was your process for crafting Deco’s originals and classics?
MR: When it comes to originals, the plan is to be just that. There’s something intentionally simple about that half of the menu. We [also] have the Deco Classics, which is where I get to have fun. And that’s something we change seasonally and always takes many different forms.

OT: What seasonally-inspired drinks will be on the menu in July?
MR: Our new summer cocktail menu features a lot of really bright summer flavors on top of some really unique boozes, mostly focusing on rum and clear spirits.

OT: Why the local focus in your beer selections?
MR: We like to feature products from the DMV as much as we possibly can, not only because we’re proud of where we are, but because places like DC Brau, Port City, Green Hat [and] Don Ciccio [are] all doing really great work just down the road, and we should support [them].

OT: Aside from its drinks, what gives Bar Deco its all-American feel?
MR: Nothing says America like grit and hard work, right? The building is a completely redone printing factory, with a space to drink outside. Our kitchen features two large smokers, and we cook a good portion of our food over a [wood-burning] fire. Pretty American, I’d say.

OT: What is your favorite aspect of working at Bar Deco?
MR: There [aren’t] a lot of drawbacks to managing the place, especially when you consider most nights I end up on the roof under the stars.

Michael’s Pick: Ruth’s Punch
(Named after his mom)
– Ketel One vodka
– Aperol
– Lemon juice
– Cane sugar syrup
– Fresh basil

Bar Deco: 717 6th St. NW, DC; www.bardecodc.com 

French Flair 
Lily Lippman General Manager at Duck Duck Goose 

On Tap: What mark do you think the newly opened Duck Duck Goose will make on the DC foodie scene?
Lily Lippman: There is so much love, hard work and passion that goes into every detail of DDG. As with any restaurant sharing that same conviction, the only hope is that the love and passion is translated through the product you put out, and received in a way where guests leave happy and inspired.

OT: Is your role at DDG your first foray into French-inspired libations?
LL: We are a contemporary French brasserie, so there is room to play. When rolling out our first cocktail menu, I wanted to highlight the playfulness of our restaurant’s concept. French, yes. Contemporary, yes. The cocktail menus will continue to evolve.

OT: We’ve heard great things about the Duck L’Orange. What inspired this cocktail?
LL: The Duck L’Orange is really a playful spin on an Old Fashion, while incorporating signature items such as our house-made duck bacon lolli and maple simple to add a bit of dimension and flare.

OT:  What other standout cocktails do you recommend for summer?
LL: For those tequila lovers, like myself, the Loosey Goosey is a great summer cocktail: Herradura Silver Tequila, fresh mint, [a] splash of OJ, elderflower, fruit tree honey and lime.

OT: What makes DDG’s drink menu reminiscent of what’s found in a French brasserie?
LL: Our beverage program was designed to pay homage to what you would find in a French brasserie – from pairing a nice Burgundy with your dry-aged duck, to the Muscadet with your baked scallop.

Lily’s Pick: The Golden Goose
– Grey Goose Citron
– White cranberry
– Cointreau
– Fresh lemon
– Champagne float
– 24K gold flakes

Duck Duck Goose: 7929 Norfolk Ave. Bethesda, MD;  www.ddgbethesda.com 

Belgian Boldness 
Phil Clark Head Bartender at Brabo 

On Tap: What libations from Brabo’s drink menu have Belgian influences?
Phil Clark: Most of our Belgian influence is present on our beer list, where we have several representations of both imported Belgian trappist ales and lagers, as well as American craft-brewed versions of the blanche, tripel and saison styles.

OT: Do you feature any traditional Belgian cocktails, or are all drinks made with contemporary fusion in mind?
PC: Our cocktail menu at Brabo is very much an expression of contemporary flavors represented in classic cocktail structures, with a strong focus on seasonality and cocktail technique.

OT: How has Brabo allowed you to tap into your creativity at the bar?
PC: Brabo has been extraordinarily supportive of my creativity. Chef Harper McClure has been very contributory to my vision to dovetail the cocktail concept with the exceptional food we serve, and our entire management team has provided significant input and resources while also supplying invaluable critique with their palates.

OT: Will you be sharing any new drinks with customers during Belgian Independence Week (July 17-21)?
PC: There are some exciting variations that can be made to classic cocktail structures substituting Belgian lambic ales for fruit purees and liqueurs, or by making ale-syrups using a Belgian beer, as opposed to water, as a major component in the recipe.

OT: What’s your favorite Belgian beer served at Brabo?
PC: I have a long and eventful relationship with Victory’s Triple-Style Golden Monkey Ale, which I always reflect fondly upon. I grew up in relatively close proximity to Victory Brewing, and maintain a deep appreciation for their contributions to bringing European-style conviction and attention to detail to American beer brewing, specifically to the East Coast.

Phil’s Pick: Rum Julep
– Plantation Five-Year Barbadian rum
– Smith and Cross Jamaican rum
– Lemongrass syrup
– Four dashes of Bitterman’s ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters
– Grated nutmeg and lemongrass fan for garnish

Brabo: 1600 King St. Alexandria, VA; www.braborestaurant.com 

Photos: Tracy Conoboy, Alanna Sheppard and Monica Alford