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Underserved is a recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you’re not ordering.
What: A Las Once with Cristal Aguardiente, pineapple juice, lime juice, chicha morada, grilled lemon garnish
Where: Del Campo, 777 I St. NW
What You Should Be Drinking
Many cultures like to get a little schnockered on anise-flavored alcohol—from ouzo in Greece and raki in Turkey to pastis in France. In Colombia, the anise-infused spirit is sugar cane-based aguardiente, the lead ingredient Del Campo’s A Las Once. Beverage Manager Tena Jahangosha combines it with fresh pineapple juice, lime juice, and chicha morada, a Peruvian syrup made by cooking purple corn down with cinnamon, sugar, and star anise. If the Cristal Aguardiente does the play-by-play in the cocktail, giving imbibers strictly what they need, the chicha morada provides color commentary by lending a dramatic purple hue and robust bouquet of baking spices.
Why You Should be Drinking It
A Las Once was resurrected from Del Campo’s opening cocktail menu because it fits fall like a glove. They’re giving it another shot even though initial orders were slow thanks to esoteric ingredients. Despite all its ingredients, A Las Once doesn’t taste like your boyfriend got the bad Twizzlers at the movies. The licorice accent is faint; cinnamon and citrus dominate instead. Another reason to order this underserved drink is because it’s symbolic of Del Campo’s aims as a restaurant. Just like the the South American menu, A Las Once stirs together components from Colombia and Peru. “We can play all over the map,” Jahangosha says. “People like to come in and try what’s original to us, so this is a great example of that.” It also helps that it’s chef Victor Albisu’s mother’s favorite drink. “She doesn’t really drink, but when she does, that’s the one,” Albisu says. Trust mom, she knows best.
Photo by Laura Hayes