Don Ciccio & Figli’s herbal liqueurs were born in Italy’s Campania region, thousands of miles away from their new home in Ivy City. But walk into the distillery’s new Bar Sirenis, and you’ll be awash in the colors of their Italian seaside home.
“We wanted to do something that would bring people to the Amalfi Coast,” says Don Ciccio’s owner and master blender Francesco Amodeo, who revitalized and dusted off his family brand in 2012 and started reproducing his decades-old recipes (some go back to the 19th century) in one of DC’s hippest neighborhoods.
Features of Bar Sirenis include white- and azure-patterned tiles, turquoise chairs, and deep blue walls offset by the white bar top and tables. And then there’s the lines of colorful bottles waiting to be savored. For Amodeo, the bar’s design evokes a morning sunset in his childhood home, albeit with the sleek industrial touches expected of an urban distillery.
The bar opened this April as part of the company’s new production distillery, pouring a variety of products from bitter amari of roots and spices to fruit and citrus creations made with ingredients like limoncello, prickly pear and mandarin orange.
Guests are recommended to start with a complimentary tour and tasting, including a rundown on the entire lineup of spirits on a thermometer from bitter to sweet. The next step is cocktail exploration in Bar Sirenis, where bartenders educate consumers and guide them through the best ways to incorporate Don Ciccio & Figli’s unique spirits into drinks.
“We wanted to capture people sitting down and watching the bartender make [the cocktail], asking questions about the application of it and really taste it in person,” Amodeo continues.
The menu is anchored around three classic Italian refreshments: the spritz, the negroni and the Americano. Working from those bases, guests can choose the bitter liqueur they enjoy the most from the tour and tasting and use that as the star of their drink. Bartenders on staff will then adjust the vermouth, other ingredients and ratios for the perfect flavor profile. Amaro delle Sirene, for example, typically calls for a Spanish dry vermouth, while Luna amaro works best with a traditional Italian red vermouth.
Hopefully, visitors will leave a little more familiar with this category of spirits, empowered to mix up some creations at their home bar.
As an added bonus, the Ivy City location is ideal for visiting other DC distillers and brewers. It’s across the street from One Eight Distilling, a short walk away from Atlas Brew Works, Republic Restoratives, New Columbia Distillers and City Winery.
“We really wanted to give our guests and our longtime regulars something that’s really beautiful and they can enjoy even more,” Amodeo notes.
Visit www.donciccioefigli.com for current tour times and bar hours.
Don Ciccio & Figli and Bar Sirenis: 1907 Fairview Ave. NE, DC; 202-957-7792, www.donciccioefigli.com