That's the mantra that you hear when you call the W hotel in Washington DC.
I recently came up with the ultimate plan for my birthday this year. I'd get a few of my friends together and host a "cocktail party." I wanted to learn how to make cocktails as well. I wanted a place with knowledgeable bartenders and and a beautiful vibe. Of course, the Wwas at the top of my list. They have a great lounge on the top floor called the POV-Rooftop Lounge and Terrace.
I didn't see the service offered on their website, but gave them a call to see if they could accommodate. They instantly accommodated and it was one of the best experiences ever! The lounge is super sexy. The bartenders aren't your typical cutie airheads. They could probably explain the history of a cherry and then tie it with their tongue.
Our bartender/hosts were Logan and Joe. They were great to learn from. They answered all of our questions and kept us entertained. And most importantly, they were scrumptious eye candy. Oh, and apparently, Logan likes yellow pants, so if you want to get his attention, wear em.
I've never liked typical martinis. Mine always had to be dirty. I always thought that regular vodka martinis tasted like gasoline. Even with premium vodka. They tasted like shots, which I can take out of a shot glass, but not drink a whole martini glass of. Plus, I don't do shots anymore...in public...often..ok, I do. But after talking with the bartenders at the W, I learned that I didn't like them because they were being made wrong.
We were going to learn the difference between two vodka martinis, one shaken and one stirred. They said that they tasted different. So typical me is thinking, yeah right. One taste like premium and the other, unleaded. They prepared the martinis, one shaken and one stirred, and i'll be hot damned. They tasted completely different and they were both great! They didn't have the gasoline taste at all. I've now learned that I'm a stirred martini drinker. I liked it a little better than shaken.
We also learned that the cosmos that we were drinking were basically cranberry and lemon juice on ice. The bartenders at the W make them the way that the originator intended. It should taste light and airy. Not like fruit juice. They'll tell you the history behind that too.
I'd originally planned for a lesson with 10 of us, due to people being late and catching us at dinner, there were only 4 (gotta love my friends). But I think that it worked out better with four of us. We got to ask more questions and get more info. With 10, it may have been a little hard to hear and all to follow.
Here are some things that I learned and if you go to the W early, before they get too busy, I'm sure that you can learn a lot more.
- All drinks at the W are made with fresh squeezed fruit juice. Not the store bought stuff. This made a huge difference. As with most food and drinks, fresh is always better. Don't slight yourself with regards to your drinks.
- Use a slightly bent bar spoon to stir your martinis. But don't stir too long, or it'll get watered down. There's a technique to it. It's all in the wrist.
- Precision is always better. I tend to eyeball it when I make my martinis. That's why sometimes they come out fabulous and other times, just ok. They measure at POV and you can certainly taste the difference.
- Ice is important. This isn't an issue at home, because I have the ice in my fridge and that's it. That's all you're gonna get. But at the W they make various types of ice and use the appropriate ice for the appropriate drink. The shape contributes to how fast it melts and how it contributes to the drink.
- Shake drinks with fruit juice. Stir others. You don't want to bruise the alcohol.
I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this lounge and the staff. Even the bar backs were on it. They were there with stirrers before we knew that we needed them. I could've sworn that they wiped up water from the ice before it even melted. But that could've been that cosmo.
Happy Friday Eve!