The Drink: “The Garden Of…” with rum, vodka, fig, dates, apple, honey, apricot, hibiscus, mint, and saffron
Where to Get It: Nocturne, 1932 9th St.NW
What It Is: A cocktail with Middle Eastern flavors served in a petite French press that evolves from a balanced, booze-forward cocktail to a sweet final sip. The change occurs because the French press is filled not only with the cocktail but also with dried mango, apricot, dates, and figs. The longer it steeps, the more nectarous it becomes.
“I always wanted to do a French-press style cocktail, but I didn’t want it to just be a vessel, I wanted it to make sense also,” says new beverage director Hakim Hamid.
This drink has too many ingredients to count. It’s as if Hamid headed to a halal market and cleared the shelves in a frenzy. They include saffron, hibiscus, pomegranate tea, rose water, honey, mint, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, cloves, and apple. Hamid incorporates most of these flavors by infusing the vodka.
What It Tastes Like: Christmas in Morocco. The fruity drink is bursting with baking-spice flavors reminiscent of holiday cookies or an orange and clove pomander. But take one more sip and then another and the gentler Middle Eastern flavors slide through, like the saffron and rose water. It has the potential to be too sweet, but the hibiscus, pomegranate, and lemon make lips pucker.
The Story: Nocturne, a cocktail bar below Sugar Shack Donuts in Shaw, debuted a new menu almost three weeks ago when Hamid took over. He divided the drinks into four regions: The Middle East, Scandinavia, the Americas, and Western Europe. Patrons can purchase one cocktail for $16 or order a trio from any region for $43. The Middle East offerings have been the most popular so far, according to Hamid, who came to Nocturne from Cusbah. Try the “In The Garden Of…” with the recommended snack—a mix of walnuts, dates, and cinnamon.