Daniel Barnes‘ father and grandfather were plumbers. While he hasn’t followed in their footsteps, the bartender has incorporated their profession into one of his latest cocktails at the Alex Craft Cocktail Cellar & Speakeasy in the Graham Georgetown Hotel. His “bathtub gin” and tonic is served in a miniature porcelain clawfoot bathtub.
“I’ve seen a guy who actually made one in a toilet bowl,” Barnes says. “That’s a little too much.”
Barnes makes his own gin and his own tonic for the $14 drink. Because he doesn’t have distilling equipment, he infuses a neutral spirit with botanicals for a month. The Dutch-style gin (a sweeter version) incorporates juniper, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, bitter lemon peel, and orange peel. For the tonic, Barnes uses sous-vide to infuse the flavors of quinquina bark, lemongrass, citrus, salt, brown sugar, and honey.
The gin and tonic are then combined and carbonated together. To complete the cocktail, Barnes makes ice cubes with star anise in the middle. A metal spoon-straw is meant to look like “the pipe that comes out of back of the tub.” The vessels themselves came from one of the bar’s glassware purveyors, but they’re also available online.
The bathtub drink is part of a recently revamped cocktail menu from Barnes, who joined the hotel bar as “master mixologist” just over two months ago. Previously, he oversaw the cocktail program at Mindful Restaurant Group’s Ghibellina, Sotto, and Denson.
Other cocktails on the menu are served with equal flare: A hot bourbon drink with chai-spiced figs, maple, and black tea comes in a glass teapot, which sits alongside a bell jar covering a teacup filled with cinnamon-espresso smoke.