Where: BLT Steak, 1625 I St. NW
Bartender: Steve Oshana
Mystery Ingredient: Old Bay Seasoning
Bartender Response: “Does it have to be a Bloody Mary?” asked Oshana, before grabbing a pan and disappearing into the kitchen.
What We Got: Bourbon and demerara sugar syrup combined with an Old Bay–infused caramel cream.
How It Tasted: Not at all reminiscent of crabcakes. It was sweet but not cloying, with a little bite from the bourbon and the Old Bay at the end.
Improv Points (1-5): 4. The Old Bay caramel was an audacious move. What could’ve easily been a train wreck turned into a sweet and savory drink that embraced the paprika and celery salt undertones in Old Bay. Maybe you wouldn’t want to drink this cocktail every night, but the creative risk-taking was impressive. This isn’t Oshana’s first rodeo though: He used to host a “Bring Your Own Ingredient” night at Sova on H Street NE. Bonus points for giving us a tub of Old Bay caramel to take home, complete with a personalized label.
1.5 ounces of Woodford Reserve bourbon
.25 ounces of cinnamon and clove-infused demerara sugar syrup
1 ounce of Old Bay salted caramel cream*
Combine above ingredients, shake with ice, then strain.
* To make Old Bay salted caramel cream: Combine 1 cup sugar and 1.5 cups water, add 1 tablespoon of Old Bay, 5 grinds of cinnamon stick, and 5 grinds of clove. Cook and reduce volume by 25 percent. Add half a cup of cream. Caramel will be thinner in consistency than typical caramel in order to combine easily with the other ingredients.
Photo by Adele Chapin