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Though it’s hard to imagine Columbia Room spinning the Beyoncé track “Who Run The World, (Girls)” it would be fitting because the winter cocktail tasting menus rolling out Tuesday, Jan. 10 celebrate and honor iconic female bartenders and chefs.
“We started to realize how much what we do is influenced by women and how little credit they get,” founder Derek Brown says. “It’s not a political thing, just an honest to god tribute to the people that inspire us.” Those women include Alice Waters, Ann Tuennerman, Julie Reiner, Ivy Mix, Rachel Barrie, andAudrey Saunders to name a few.
Brown’s partner, Drink Company CEO Angie Fetherston, says she wanted to pay homage to pioneering women who paved the way for young aspiring female bartenders to make an impact in the hospitality industry. “These women are close to our hearts and have been mentors or sources of inspiration,” she says.
Each season, the James Beard Award-winning bar launches fresh three- and five-course tasting menus ($79 and $108, respectively) comprised of cocktails paired with small bites from the kitchen Chef Johnny Spero helms.
Some highlights include:
“The Hanky Panky,” created by Ada Coleman—the legendary head bartender who ran The American Bar at London’s Savoy Hotel in the early 1900s. It comes paired with a pintxo (skewered Basque tapa) of pickled anchovy, black olive, and guindilla peppers that’s inspired by Spain’s Elena Arzak—the joint head chef of Michelin-starred Arzak restaurant.
Then there’s “The Speed Rack Roulette” from spirits industry leaders Ivy Mix and Lynette Marrero. The pair founded the annual “Speed Rack” bartending competition, which benefits breast cancer research, education, and prevention. Much like the competition that involves a spin of a wheel, Columbia Room guests too will spin a wheel to find out which cocktail they’ll receive such as the Espresso Martini, Chartreuse Swizzle, and Champs Élysées.
Expect to see Mix and Marrero get behind the bar inauguration weekend with a percentage of proceeds going to charity.
Another way to enjoy the Columbia Room is in the Spirits Library where walk-ins are welcome and guests can order a la carte. Drinks there will also be hat tips to women, including the “The Barrie Bevvie,“ inspired Scotch master blender Rachel Barrie.
The winter menu will be available Jan. 10 through the end of March and reservations are available online.
Columbia Room, 124 Blagden Alley NW; (202)316-9396; columbiaroomdc.com