Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Espita Mezcaleria Unveils New Beverage Program

From our friends at Espita Mezcaleria...

Espita Mezcaleria Unveils Its Beverage Program, Bringing an Expansive, Rotating Selection of 100+ Mezcals to the Nation’s Capital

Master Mezcalier Josh Phillips is pleased to unveil the new beverage program at Espita Mezcaleriathe 100-seat Southern Mexican-inspired restaurant which opened March 8th in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC at 1250 9th Street, NW. The list of tempting libations is seasonally developed by Beverage Director Megan Barnes. Guests can anticipate an expansive, rotating selection of mezcals featuring many varietals and styles. Over 100 are available in one or two-ounce pours, a six-ounce carafe to share, as a choice of flights, or highlighted in the nine cocktails on the list.

“I get super excited about the mezcal list that Megan was able to put together because there are so many unique and interesting ways our guests can explore the category,” says Master Mezcalier and Partner Josh Phillips. “She has been relentless in pushing local distributors to stock new mezcal portfolios, which has yielded an incredibly diverse collection of bottles behind the bar. We currently have 16 unique bottles distilled in clay pot stills, seven styles of pechuga, and 23 unique agave varietals. This list represents flavor profiles ranging from lemon oil, stone fruits and tropical fruits, to funky cheese, oily smoke and flint. The variety of the menu gives our bar staff the ability to really hone in on the right mezcal for each guest. I always say if people don’t like mezcal then they just haven’t found the right bottle yet.”

Espita Mezcaleria’s craft cocktail menu features nine house-made, specialty cocktails in three different categories: highballs, shaken & citrusy and stirred & boozy. Highball highlights, which are also available on draft, include the Ginger & Cucumber, served tall with mezcal and a cucumber ribbon; Raspberry & Chile, served tall with mezcal, jalapeño, Serrano, yellow chartreuse and lime, and the Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub with mezcal, lime and black salt. Shaken & Citrusy cocktail highlights include the Oaxacan Sour, excessive angostura bitters, espadín mezcal, lemon and pineapple; Smiling Rabbit, Siete Misterios Doba-yej, Suze, lemon, pineapple and cinnamon, served on the rocks with a pineapple leaf, and the Mayahuel, espadín mezcal, Giffard Triple Sec, lime and raw agave, served up with Sal de Gusano. Stirred & Boozy cocktails include Joya, La Venenosa Raicilla Sierra de Jalisco, chartreuse and sweet vermouth, served up with a lemon peel; Por la Sangre, Manzanilla sherry, sweet vermouth, blanco tequila and orange bitters, served up with an orange peel, and the La Llorona, available on draft and made from a combination of espadín mezcal, bitter spirits, vermouths and Mexican Fernet, served up with a lemon. Cocktails are priced from $10 to $16 each. Espita Mezcaleria offers over 100 mezcals in one or two-ounce pours, a six-ounce carafe to share, or in a choice of four flights. All flights are served with orange slices and Sal de Gusano.

The bar program at Espita Mezcaleria also offers a boutique selection of red and white wines from Italy, France, Germany and Spain. The wine menu features 10 wines by the bottle or glass. Prices range from $10 to $ 16 by the glass, and $30 to $48 by the bottle. Highlights include Les Charmes Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Reims, France; Pietro Beconcini Chianti 2013, San Miniato, Italy; Bodega Attis Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain, and the August Kesseler Riesling 2014, Rhein, Germany.  Seven beers are also available by draft and bottle with prices ranging from $4 to $8 each. Standouts include the Starr Hill Brewery’s Northern Lights, Crozet, Virginia; Victoria’s Vienna Lager, Mexico City, Mexico; 3 Stars Brewing Company’s Ghost - White IPA, Washington, DC; Right Proper Brewing Company’s Ornithology, Washington, DC, and The Beer Company San Miguel de Allende’s Brown Ale, Guanajuato, Mexico. “Espita Hour” is also available Monday through Friday, from 5 PM to 7 PM. Guests can enjoy a rotating selection of draft beers for $4, select wines for $7, and six-ounce carafes of El Silencio or El Buho mezcal for $24. A Miller High Life special is also available for $9, and includes a beer and a one-ounce pour of El Silencio or El Buho.

Megan Barnes was tapped by Phillips in October, 2015 to serve as the beverage director of newcomer Espita Mezcaleria. A native of Arlington, Virginia, Barnes studied architecture at the University of Maryland. When she wasn't busy reading The Elements of Construction, Barnes could be found pouring beers at her local watering holes, Breadsoda and Bar Pilar, where she worked from 2008 to 2011. Upon graduation, Barnes worked as a bartender at a number of top cocktail bars, including Marvin, Blackbyrd and Policy. 

Barnes’ passion for craft mixology blossomed in 2013 while working as a bartender at The Columbia Room, under the direction of Derek Brown.  During this time, she learned the art of making the perfect cocktail in a fine dining atmosphere while yielding a chainsaw and very large Japanese knife (for hand-cutting ice).  She later served as a bartender at The Partisan and then general manager/head bartender at McClellan’s Retreat, before being recruited by Josh Phillips to open Espita Mezcaleria.

Espita Mezcaleria is located at 1250 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20001. The restaurant is located two blocks from the Mt Vernon Square, 7th St-Convention Center Metro Station accessible on the Green and Yellow Lines.  Dinner is available Sunday, from 5 PM to 10 PM; Monday through Thursday, from 5 PM to 1 AM; Friday and Saturday, from 5 PM to 2 AM. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, from 11:30 AM to 2:30PM. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday, from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM. For reservations or additional information, please visit http://espitadc.com.