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First it was cocktails on tap. Will bottled cocktails be the next local booze trend?
The Coupe, a diner/bar/coffeehouse that opened in Columbia Heights last night, offers three cocktails that are concocted and bottled in-house. So far, the drinks include the “Georgia Comforter” ($11) with Filibuster bourbon, rosemary smoked maple syrup, and peach bitters, “Grandma’s Pink Lemonade” ($8) with vodka, strawberry-lemon shrub, and Madeira over crushed ice, and “Bitter Ex” ($9) with gin, Cynar, Aperol, and grapefruit juice served with a straw. The selection will change seasonally.
Beverage Director David Fritzler says the bottled drinks were born out of logistical concerns for serving a high volume of craft cocktails in a space as large as The Coupe. “I want to also free up the bartenders to really focus on making individual cocktails for people at the bar. That’s just really hard to do on a large scale,” Fritzler says.
Fritzler was inspired by Portland, Ore., mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler, who’s popularized bottled cocktails out west. The trend is also picking up in other major cities, but as far as Fritzler (or Y&H) knows, he’s the first to offer bottled cocktails in D.C.
The cocktails are made in several gallon batches daily. “You can really tweak the drink that way,” Fritzler says. “If you change a quarter ounce in an individual cocktail, it’s pretty dramatic. So, you can really make kind of subtle changes to batches.”
The Coupe will soon serve bottled sodas in ginger, coffee, strawberry-lemon shrub, and burnt orange flavors. Look for the $2.72 sodas to launch next week.
UPDATE: It turns out that The Coupe is not the first D.C. establishment to serve bottled cocktails. Former Elisir mixologist Steve Oshana (now at BLT Steak) introduced them at the Italian restaurant when it opened in Nov. 2011. Since Oshana left, Elisir has offered the bottled cocktails off and on. Chef and owner Enzo Fargione tells Y&H that there will be at least one carbonated bottled cocktail on his new fall drink menu, set to debut Oct. 25. It’s called “Falling in Love” and contains bourbon, roasted pumpkin syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Photo by Jessica Sidman