Bartender: Frankie Jones
Where: The Gibson, 2009 14th St. NW
Mystery Ingredient: Colman’s mustard powder
Bartender Response: A fit of laughter that resulted in Jones dropping the tin of mustard and spilling powder on the floor. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen powdered mustard,” he said.
What We Got: A very bold rum and Kümmel cocktail with honey, lemon, and bitters. Jones tried a bit of mustard and, well, it was intense. “It starts off tasting like nothing, and then there’s this wasabi kick that comes in at the end. It has this extremely long finish,” he said.
How It Tasted: Whoa. The pale yellow rum-based cocktail was simultaneously tart, salty, and bitter with a spicy kick—everything at once! But the most interesting thing was how Jones battled the mustard with the equally bold fennel, cumin, and caraway-flavored Kümmel, which gave it a bit of licorice-like sharpness. “I love Kümmel, there’s nothing else that tastes like this. It gives the drink its own distinctive personality,” he said.
Improv Points (1 to 5): 4. “That does not taste horrible,” Jones said after he sipped the finished cocktail, and I agree. That was a major achievement in light of the difficult savory ingredient. Honey subbed in for simple syrup and bitters cut through some of the overwhelming mustard taste.
1 1/2 ounce of El Dorado 3 Year Old Rum
1 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce honey
2 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes of orange bitters
1/2 ounce of Kümmel
1 bar spoon of Colman’s powdered mustard
Combine above ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously with ice. Double strain into cocktail glass.
Photo by Adele Chapin