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The Drink: Vanilla Julep
The Location: Restaurant K, 1700 K St. NW, (202) 974-6545
The Price: $9.85
The Buzz: After a renovation and a new chef, Jimmy’s on K recently reopened as Restaurant K, with the much-heralded Alison Swope at the helm. While the ambience feels hotel lobby-ish, the bar is handsome, and its centerpiece is a display of tempting house-made infusions. It may seem like the infusion world is getting exhausted (Seriously, Stoli, you need to settle down), but there is plenty of fertile territory left—-basically anything other than vodka. Restaurant K infuses bourbon with vanilla beans, a process that takes roughly a month, and uses it as the base for a mint julep. The bartender rubs the inside of a martini glass with mint leaves and drops them into the bottom. He adds a splash of lime juice, a splash of simple syrup, and strains the shaken bourbon over top. The variation on the Southern standard is a perfect union of flavors: the bourbon, the mint, the vanilla—-they’re all present without trying to outdo one another. It’s comfort in a glass. And if you’re not in the mood for a laid-back cocktail, I have to recommend a martini made from their cucumber-infused gin. The bartender poured me a small shot, and I was in love. It’s in the same vein as Hendrick’s, but the cucumber is more prominent, and it’s smoother. Which is one of the beautiful things about infusions: They make liquor, even rail liquor, perfectly sippable.