Topaz Hotel
1733 N St. NW

Splash of gin
Organic black tea

Brian’s take: Maybe this is just me, but I have always considered tea and alcohol to occupy very separate spheres in my liquid life. I generally reserve tea for porches, breakfast nooks, camp stoves and coffee shops, and while alcohol certainly has its place in all these venues, mixing the two potables seems to yield a result that is a bit less than the sum of its parts. Such was my impression of Topaz’s Unique Bronze Piece—it was a rather delicious tea drink, but in the end, I want my liquor to taste like liquor, if only a little bit. To be fair, that is often the problem with these artfully made martinis—the liquor takes a backseat—and I would rather have tea at the forefront of the flavor rather than some abominable gooey syrup. But in the end, I’ll take my tea at tea time, my booze at boozing time, and my kick in the old derriere at closing time.

On a scale of 1 to 5 olive branches: 2.5

Ted’s take: A lovely little drink, in which neither the honey nor the tea overstays its welcome. The only complication I foresee is that it tastes so much like a breakfast drink…and the booze itself is so silkily masked…that this could spell trouble in the early hours of the a.m. A word to the wise: should you have the unique pleasure of sipping this unique drink, you will find yourself lulled into a Zen-like complacency, in which your inner life finds no objective correlative in the outside world. Bear in mind the following koan, and let your spirit be your guide:

A lord asked Takuan, a Zen Teacher, to suggest how he might pass the time. He felt his days very long attending his office and sitting stiffly to receive the homage of others.

Takuan wrote eight Chinese characters and gave them to the man:

“Not twice this day
Inch time foot gem.
This day will not come again.
Each minute is worth a priceless gem.”

On a scale of 1 to 5 olive branches: 4