Now Playing

Ripple’s Josh Berner uses Google Goggles to ID ingredients. Photography by Greg Powers


by Kelly A. Magyarics | DC magazine | October 29, 2012

These days, smartphones, apps and tablets are as indispensable as jiggers, eye droppers and muddlers in DC’s most wired venues. Mixologists in search of that perfectly balanced concoction glean inspiration from cocktail apps and culinary websites, double-check potable portions in online databases and share stylized pics of new drinks on social media. We check in on a few of the city’s hot spots to see where it all clicks.

The Tech Google Goggles (app for iPhone and Droid)
The Tipple Que Pera
The Technique Ripple Bar Manager Josh Berner snaps pictures to help identify random vegetation procured during staff foraging forays.After validating their edibility with the app, he uses plants like rosemary, juniper and spruce in cocktail garnishes and infusions. For the Que Pera, Berner infuses tequila with vanilla beans, and gin with cardamom pods, before mixing the heady spirits with pear puree and spiced-pear bitters. He then adorns it all with a bright marigold snagged during a harvesting stroll. 3417 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202.244.7995, rippledc.‌com

The Tech Foodpairing.‌be
The Tipple Malum Malum
The Technique This scientific flavor-mapping application, which drills down food and drink to its basic molecular and chemical components, inspires Firefly’s new bar manager, Jon Harris, to create wild new taste combinations and deconstruct familiar flavors. By recognizing that dry sherry has notes of apple; scotch’s floral, herbal and chamomile components provide bite; and lime is not only tart but grassy, Harris creates an Appletini variant—without a slice or drop of any apple-derived product necessary. 1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW, 202.861.1310, firefly-dc.‌com

The Tech blog.ideas­infood.‌com
The Tipple PT-109
The Technique Eddy Bar’s mixtress, Gina Chersevani, is fascinated by this food-science blog, which breaks down contemporary dishes and dazzles readers with molecular gastronomy and other modern techniques. For her eclectic effervescent sips, it’s not enough just to add bubbles and serve; the art of soda-making involves chemical reactions, like surface tension and cream breakdown. The coconut-cardamom carbonation in the Bluecoat gin- and citrus-based PT-09 puts these scientific principles into fabulous, fizzy practice.
633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 202.733.1971, hanksoysterbar.‌com

The Tech Good Food Seasonal Recipes (app for iPhone and iPad)
The Tipple Pumpkin Old Fashioned
The Technique The BBC-run culinary app encourages users to make the most of seasonal produce. Brian Scott, the director of operations for the new Drafting Table, has made the app his go-to download for cocktail creation. After recently stumbling upon a recipe for an earthy syrup crafted from roasted pumpkin, Scott’s thoughts immediately turned to a super sipper for sweater weather. His autumn-inspired riff on a classic pairs it with bourbon, orange and brandied cherries. 1529 14th St. NW, 202.621.7475, draftingtabledc.‌com

The Tech Speakeasy Cocktails: Learn from the Modern Mixologists (app for iPhone and iPad)
The Tipple The Getaway
The Technique You may not believe that Columbia Room’s Derek Brown—a veritable walking encyclopedia of libation information—would ever need to consult anything to mix a drink. “It’s very hard to remember hundreds of recipes or spirits reviews,” Brown admits. “We taste and read all the time—why shouldn’t there be an app that helps us with that?” He touts the app’s demos and recipes, created by New York bartenders Jim Meehan and Joseph Schwartz, which actually includes his own Cynar-, lemon- and Cruzan Black Strap-based concoction. 1021 Seventh St. NW, 202.393.0336, passengerdc.‌com/columbia