Best of Washington: Tuscany in an Ice Tray?

Best New Drink

Washingtonian > Packages > Best of Washington

Gina Chersevani’s novelty drink: wine over frozen cubes of Tuscan sangria. Photograph by Matthew Worden.

After her sophomore year at the University of Maryland, Gina Chersevani begged her parents to let her go to a summer bartending school. “It was fake school,” she laughs. “The only thing I learned was to mix a drink the same way, every time.”

Now Chersevani, 31, is the mastermind behind cocktails at the five Northern Virginia restaurants owned by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group: Evening Star Cafe, Rustico, Vermilion, Tallula, and EatBar, where she’s based. She’s often in the kitchen quizzing chefs and testing new drinks—cooking down fruit, making purées in a Vita-Prep, rolling out ribbons of alcoholic strawberry-and-coriander “fruit leather” with a pasta cutter.

Chersevani, whose father is a chef, recently debuted a summer drink that took two years to perfect. “My baby lives in a tray,” she says, displaying an ice tray filled with frozen cubes of Tuscan sangría made of vin santo, Chianti, lemons, limes, and oranges.

Tableside or at the bar, she stacks a few of the cubes in a glass and pours wine—red or white—over them from a carafe. “The choice of wine makes it a completely different drink,” she says. “Or it’s great with gin and a splash of Champagne. Then it’s a cocktail.”

Frozen Sangria is available at EatBar, 2761 Washington Blvd., Arlington; 703-778-9951.  

This appeared in the July, 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. 

Best of Washington: Chef's Specials

Best of Washington: Eating In 

Belly Up: Gina Chersevani 

Drink Up: A Guide to Washington's Creative Cocktails 

Flips, Fizzes, and Other Fabulous Cocktails: A Chat With Three Mixologists

More>> Best Bites Blog | Food & Dining | Restaurant Finder