City Paper is not for tourists
What: CPR, with chamomile-infused rakia, pear puree, ginger cordial, lemon juice, and Ambar bitters, garnished with candied ginger
Where: BABA, 2901 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington; (703) 312-7978; baba.bar
What You Should Be Drinking: No, nana hasn’t fallen and can’t get up. This drink at the cocktail den adjacent to Ambar in Clarendon (whose name is the Serbian word for “grandmother”) has nothing to do with first aid. Rather, the acronym refers to the three main ingredients in the cocktail created by bartender Danilo Simic. He infuses rakia (a traditional Balkan fruit brandy) with chamomile, and then shakes it with pear puree, ginger cordial, lemon juice, and Ambar bitters. The cocktail is served in vintage glassware that could have been pulled from granny’s cupboard, and garnished with candied ginger.
Why You Should Be Drinking It: BABA’s friendly servers, who hail from all over Eastern Europe, are great at educating guests about rakia. Still, it’s a spirit that remains pretty unfamiliar to most Americans, especially because it can be confused with raki— the anise-flavored Turkish spirit. This elixir is the perfect introduction. Chamomile softens the rakia, pear and lemon give fruit notes, bitters balance, and ginger in the cordial and the candied square on top add tingling spiciness. Sink into a plush couch and sip it with the signature beef and veal slider with gribick salsa, red cabbage, and coleslaw. —Kelly Magyarics