City Paper is not for tourists
What: Pedro Does Provence with tequila, palo cortado sherry, lavender syrup, mezcal, and lemon bitters
Where: Radiator, 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW
What You Should Be DrinkingThe cocktail that gets the least customer love at Radiator inside Kimpton’s newly minted Mason & Rook Hotel may come as a surprise, considering there’s a drink that contains ricotta cheese on the menu. Alas, it’s Pedro Does Provence with tequila, palo cortado sherry, lavender syrup, mezcal, and lemon bitters that gets overlooked. Head bartender Sarah Rosner explains that the “Pedro” part of the cocktail’s name comes from the tequila and splash of mezcal, while the lavender and lemon represent Provence in France—home to some of the world’s most impressive lavender fields. But the house-made lavender syrup and the lavender sprig served on the side with a tiny paperclip aren’t imported from overseas. Instead, both the garnish and the lavender used to make the syrup are often harvested from a garden that Rosner helps maintain at her apartment building.
Why You Should be Drinking ItThough Rosner says the unlikely combination of tequila, mezcal, and sherry often repels people, the mezcal and sherry combo are nevertheless becoming mainstream. “The one indicator I always find is when you don’t explain it, someone at the table explains it,” Rosner says. “That’s when things take the next step.” The Pedro Does Provence may be getting a little help from elsewhere in the restaurant community as Espita Mezcaleria is helping to demystify mezcal, just as Mockingbird Hill educated customers about sherry. Even those who avoid tequila due to taste or fuzzy memories can enjoy the cocktail because it’s gentle, herbaceous, and sweet, with just a wisp of smoke from the mezcal. The sherry may be the drink’s most valuable player because its nuttiness lingers on the palate.