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The Drink: Midnight Karma
The Location: Zengo, 781 7th St. NW, (202) 393-2929
The Price: $10
The Skinny: I’ve always wanted to go to the opera, but the price tag has kept me away. So when a friend tipped me off to a way to win free tickets, I was excited. When I found out it involved cocktails, I was out the door. The Washington National Opera is holding a Macbeth Cocktail Contest—-three area restaurants are inventing cocktails inspired by William Shakespeare‘s play. By voting for the best one, you’re entered in a drawing to win a pair of tickets. I headed to Zengo—-the Chinatown-based, Latin-Asian fusion eatery co-owned by Plácido Domingo—-for “The Bloody Dagger,” a red wine, sake, brandy, Asian pear, and Fuji apple concoction. But when I asked the bartender about it, he seemed baffled. And a little frightened, I think. (Calls to Zengo seeking clarification have not been returned.) After inspecting the mint-heavy cocktail list for a second choice, I settled on the Midnight Karma, a beautifully balanced mix of Tanqueray Rangpur gin, blueberries, and lime. The gin is distilled with rangpurs (a fruit that looks kinda like a mandarin orange but tastes more like a lime) and makes the drink. Unlike all those fruit-infused liquors out there, which usually taste artificial, this Tanqueray still tastes like gin—-crisp and junipery. Plus, it’s strong enough to cut through the blueberries. The texture of the mashed blueberries is the drink’s only downer; they’re chunky enough that you have to chew-drink each sip. But at $10, maybe it helps justify drinking your dinner.