Underserved is a recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you’re not ordering.
What: On a Bearskin Rug with cold-brewed coffee, cocoa nibs, ancho chili whipped cream, Averna, Mezcal, and Becherovka herbal liqueur
Where: Bar Charley, 1825 18th St. NW
What You Should Be Drinking
Bar Charley is trying to make embarrassing cocktails from the ’90s cool again with its refined take on a chocolate martini. Except that On a Bearskin Rug doesn’t contain any actual chocolate beyond the cocoa nibs used as a garnish. Instead, the drink gets its deep flavor from coffee, mezcal, and an Italian amaro called Averna. Other oddball ingredients like Becherovka—a cinnamon-dominated herbal liqueur from the Czech Republic that Bar Manager Nick Nazdin fondly refers to as grown-up Goldschläger— also make it a tough sell, at least until someone breaks the seal. “Once one goes out, a bunch of people will order it because it looks really cool,” says Nazdin. “But unless that happens, we’ll go days without making one.” They even tried changing the way the ingredients are listed and relieved the drink of its original name: OMG Chocolate Martini.
Why You Should be Drinking It
On a Bearskin Rug is just sweet enough to play the role of a nightcap. In fact, it tastes like a gourmand got his hands on Starbuck’s Frappuccino recipe and tweaked it to be smoother and far more sophisticated. Most importantly, that single ounce of cold-brewed java from local roaster Zeke’s Coffee provides just enough caffeine to keep you awake after a long night of drinking. The whipped cream amplified by ancho chile liqueur from Puebla, Mexico and a spritz of Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters contributes a bedroom naughtiness feel to the drink, because every sip guarantees a little will be left behind on your lips. It’s quite possibly the best part of the cocktail because the chile liqueur lends a spicy earthiness. You’ll want to dribble a shot of it on ice cream ASAP, but if that’s not in the cards, you can just order round two of On a Bearskin Rug.
Photo by Laura Hayes