Underserved is a recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you’re not ordering.
What: Diablo 14 with Fidencio Mezcal, house-made grenadine, apple bitters, celery bitters, aromatic bitters, habanero tincture, lime juice, and a grapefruit twist, $12
Where: Eat The Rich, 1839 7th St. NW
What You Should Be Drinking
This cocktail was born out of Eat The Rich’s big, sloppy crush on the Misfits and other bands created by Glenn Danzig. The heavy metal-themed bar introduced the Diablo 14 as a part of a special menu created when Danzig’s deathrock band Samhain came to the Howard Theatre on Halloween. Named after the song “Diablos ’88,” the drink was a hit. So they downloaded it to the permanent menu where its popularity has slipped. Bar Manager Ben Matz calls it a loosely interpreted Old Fashioned because it combines a big, bold spirit plus fruit and bitters. Even before the Samhain-inspired menu, Matz made an early version of the cocktail based on a customer request. He notes an increase in regulars who ask the bartender to create a custom drink based on their whims, rather than the printed cocktail menu. “It’s challenging and rewarding for bartenders, but customers get a kick if they see their drink make it onto the menu.”
Why You Should Be Drinking It
Matz says the mezcal scares people off because they’re less familiar with tequila’s smokier cousin. Then there are the naysayers who say they’ve sworn off tequila (and the agave spirit family) after an epically bad night. It’s time to unload that baggage and give mezcal a shot (but not that kind of shot). The Scotch-drinker’s tequila has unrivaled smokiness that goes great with anything fruity—like Eat The Rich’s tart and tangy pomegranate grenadine. The Diablo 14 may look like a ladylike, sweet pink drink, but there’s definitely some junk in the trunk with a full 2 oz. pour of Fidencio Mezcal. “It’s a hefty cocktail with all that mezcal, but as my father would say, it wears it well,” Matz says. The blend of three types of bitters (apple, celery, and aromatic), plus tongue-tickling heat from habanero peppers prevents sugar from overpowering the drink. It’s a well-balanced glass that’ll warm you up from the inside.
Photo by Laura Hayes