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The Location: Cork, 1720 14th St. NW, (202) 265-2675
The Buzz: I’ve been trying to catch up on all the new wine bars that have opened, so the other night I stopped by the infant Cork, located where Sparky’s used to be. Who knew Sparky’s space had so much potential? Instead of a cramped, cafeteria feel, this new restaurant is pretty roomy, warm, and inviting. Call it sacrilege, but I think wine bars are the perfect places to start out with a cocktail. You need that extra time to sort through the extensive wine list. Plus, I had heard rumors that the bartender at Cork can work magic. So I told our server to have the bartender make me a cocktail of his choice, and he sent out this gorgeous drink he called a Bin 14, a nod to how they label their wines for easy ordering (Bin 14 is a delicious Domaine Paul Garaudet white Burgundy). Although he was a little secretive, I was able to find out that it was a variation on an aviation (gin, maraschino liquor, lemon), but he added wine, spices (including cinnamon and star anise), and possibly some other undisclosed ingredients. And the result is perfection. I was floored. It was refreshing like an aviation but still winter appropriate with the spices, and the citrus was perfectly balanced so it wasn’t sour. It was so good that I almost didn’t want to switch to wine. But then I got over that.