Since late last year, Himitsu co-owner and beverage director Carlie Steiner has been quietly building a wine list featuring women winemakers. Now, she’s going all in. She’s in the process of sourcing everything behind the bar from women producers.
“I just really want to put my money where my mouth is and instead of just talking about the support of women, actually supporting them by purchasing their products,” Steiner says.
While not all the spirits and beers are made by women yet, Steiner says she’ll make the switch over the course of the month with rare exceptions “if something really speaks to us.” So far, the list already features booze from DC’s women-owned Republic Restoratives distillery in Ivy City, but Steiner has also tracked down women-made mezcal and bourbon she plans to stock on her shelves.
In the meantime, Himitsu launched a new drink menu this month with cocktails inspired by “badass women.” A green chartreuse-based libation dubbed “The Chartrueth” nods to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets her own sherry, thyme, and coconut concoction called “This Is My Thyme.” Steiner pays tribute to José Andrés‘s wife Patricia Andrés with a toasted sesame and pineapple “peanut butter & jelly” drink, because, as she explains, “they’re power couple goals… They’re like peanut butter and jelly.”
“Some of them are a little bit more humorous and easy-going. Some of them are a little bit more political,” Steiner says. “There’s definitely representation of queer people of color. They’re just women I admire.”
While some other places, like Dio Wine Bar on H Street, highlight women-made wines on their larger menus, Himitsu’s wine list is now exclusively from women. And don’t just think they’re all from California. Women winemakers from Bolivia, Spain, Hungary, and beyond are recognized by name on the menu.
Meanwhile, Steiner is teaming up with Taqueria del Barrio owner Anna Bran-Leis to open a new cocktail bar across the street from Himitsu called Dos Mami’s, City Paper reported this morning. The menu there will likewise highlight female winemakers.
Steiner insists her new approach won’t be limiting to what she can serve. “I’ve been doing so much research, and anything I would want to put on the menu, women are making,” she says. “Even if it is limiting, that’s not going to stop me from doing it.”