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The Drink: Norfolk Dumpling
Where to Get It: PX, 728 King St., Alexandria; (703) 299-8385; barpx.com
What It Is: Not a dumpling. Instead, it’s a cocktail made with duck sauce soda, pisco, tequila, lemon bitters, and cherry bitters. It arrives in a frosted coupe glass garnished with a shrimp cracker.
What It Tastes Like: It’s nothing like the glutinous orange condiment of Chinese takeout fame. This sipper is smooth and both slightly sweet and slightly savory. Hints of garlic, espelette pepper (grown in the garden at sister operation Restaurant Eve), and Champagne vinegar form the faux duck sauce base for the soda. The flavors come through, though none overpowers the overall taste. Unless you’re focusing on the idea of duck sauce, you’d probably have a hard time identifying its flavor.
The Story: Bartender and owner Todd Thrasher was noshing on shrimp crackers from a pu pu platter at an unmemorable Chinese restaurant. “I was dipping them into the duck sauce and loving it,” he says. “So I turned to my wife and said, ‘I should make a cocktail with duck sauce.’ She replied, ‘You’re fucking crazy.’” Shortly afterwards he devised the Norfolk Dumpling, a name he says is inspired by the last dance a pirate does—dangling at the end of noose—but neither the phrase nor its origins could be confirmed. The cocktail originally went on the menu at fine dining Restaurant Eve, where it bombed. “It was way too out there,” says Thrasher. However, when PX opened in 2006, it became the top selling cocktail for the first three months of business.
Photo by Nevin Martell