City Paper is not for tourists
The Drink: Yam Thale with peanut-infused gin, cucumber, lime, ginger, chili, fish sauce, and cilantro-peanut oil
Where to Get It: Hank’s Cocktail Bar, 819 Upshur St. NW; (202) 290-1808; hankscocktailbar.com
What It Is: To make this savory cocktail that tastes like it came from the kitchen, bar manager Hunter Douglas infuses gin with peanuts. Then he adds cucumber bitters, chili-infused fish sauce, house-made ginger syrup, lime juice, and droplets of cilantro-infused peanut oil. The drink is listed on the bar’s “Food Production” menu page, which is dedicated to drinks that have culinary inspiration. “Since we don’t have a kitchen, some people will read it and think it’s our food menu,” Douglas explains. “Someone ordered it and thought it was a salad.”
What It Tastes Like: Ginger prevails as the dominant flavor, which gives the drink a welcome warming quality. While the funk of fish sauce boldly introduces itself via the nose, there’s only faint brininess on the tongue, so it shouldn’t scare off imbibers who don’t dig Vietnamese and Thai cuisines where fish sauce is used liberally. The drink is a variation of a daiquiri and has the overall effect of transporting you somewhere tropical.
The Story: Douglas’ partner in crime, head bartender Jessica Weinstein, wanted to create a drink that would be a wink at her favorite dish at Baan Thai in Logan Circle—green mango salad with peanuts, scallions, onions, cilantro, carrots, and roasted coconut flakes. It’s safe to say she nailed it. Hank’s Cocktail Bar isn’t the first to play with these flavors. Dram & Grain serves a cocktail called “Papaya Salad from a Bangkok Night Market,” and Nocturne’s infamous ramen cocktail, “Nuac the Casbah,” uses ginger juice, fish sauce, and a Thai chili tincture.