Is That a Grape in My Bourbon?

Clusters of all colors are the cocktail garnish of the moment.

If 2005 was the year that mixologists fell in love with pomegranate, 2006 is shaping up to be the year of the grape. At Firefly, manager Derek Brown garnishes his Luxe Interior, an innocent-looking little punch-packer made with sparkling wine and gin, with a red-grape cluster.

Rasika’s Grape and Grain is just as strong, with muddled grapes, Woodford Reserve bourbon, and orange bitters.

Restaurant Eve serves up a fizzy Concord-grape rendition of a pisco sour, and Café Atlántico drops a few red grapes into its caipirinha.

The most popular mixer, though, seems to be ice wine pressed from frozen grapes. At the bar at the Four Seasons, we luxuriated in the Ice Age, a glass of Jackson Triggs Vidal ice wine with Cîroc grape vodka and white grape juice. But we almost gagged on the opulently presented $15 ice-wine martini at Citronelle, which tastes like straight perfume.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.