Negroni Week is once again upon us! The Negroni is a classic cocktail that in recent years has come back with a vengeance! It is made of equal part Campari (bitter orange liqueur), red vermouth, and gin, with a twist. It is a fun drink to tweak for many bartenders and this year, from June 5-11th, our staff at Church&State and Wisdom will be serving up their recipes for your drinking pleasure as well as the Fisher House Charity. 
As a long-time mixologist its current popularity truly surprises and pleases me; for it is a drink that stands out boldly in the bitter realm–a realm that the masses usually do not embrace.
Appreciating bitter is generally something that comes with experience and age–it is said that ‘a mature palate, is one that appreciates bitter’, and that the young tend to shy away from this part of the flavor spectrum.  Bitter however is a cornerstone in the Italian liqueur world, where imbibing on a digestivo after the meal is a long and wide-spread cultural tradition.  The growing love for this classic beauty may very well be a good indicator of America’s revival of and embracing of the neo-cocktail culture.
The classic origin story is that the drink was created by or for Count Camillo Negroni circa 1920 in Florence, Italy at Bar Casoni (now, Caffe Giacosa). The concoction was a riff and higher-proof evolution of an Americano (indicating bitter in Italian not American) Campari, red vermouth soda water. Before the Americano, there was the Milano-Torino (Campari from Milan and Martini Rosso Vermouth from Turin) and older still the Torino-Milano (Campari and Amaro Cora, another Italian bitter liqueur).  And before the Torino-Milano there was the big bang.
So swing by Wisdom or Church & State June 5-11th for a unique Negroni cocktail experience!1195

Vote Josh Berner for Cocktail King – Artini 2011

Our very own Josh Berner has rolled up his sleeves and tossed his hat in the ring for the Washingtonian annual Artini 2011 contest. You may recall a black horse candidate named Erik Holzherr that snuck past all the other contestants for a big win last year with his beloved “Tortoise and the Bear” martini, a favorite at Wisdom (and still available if you’d like to swing by and try it). Now, Josh with his own established style is trying to keep in the tradition of winning with his delicious “B Cup.” Inspired by Kiki Smith’s provocative Breast Jar sculpture, this drink is sweet, complex and naughty much like the piece of art that evoked Berner’s creativity with this piece. Complete with Zubrowka bison grass vodka, previously featured on www.Gintender.com, Berner’s very own home made vermouth, Cointreau, apple juice, bitters and a round ice ball, informed by the sculptures ’roundness’ – this drink is a winner. At this point I’m going to avoid a turning of phrases like “you’ll be grasping for more”, “you’ll wanna cup one of these all night”, or “suckling on a B Cup will never be the same” – but it’s truly unavoidable. Watch Josh make his soon-to-be-prize-winner below then go vote!


Full Page Spread in Modern Luxury Mag

Ok, so this is the first time I’ve been referred to as Yankee Dude-ly, but in this case I’ll consider it an honor. Modern Luxury Magazine penned a couple of lines in their most recent edition boasting the bodaciousness of our newest venture Church and State. Check out the full article here.

Bison Aphrodisiac

Simple, Sexy...everything an aphrodisiac should be

Simple, Sexy…everything an aphrodisiac should be



1.5 oz Bison Grass Vodka
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz simple syrup
1 strawberry



Muddle strawberry in bottom of mixing glass.  Add all ingredients and ice to mixing glass (Boston Shaker best in this case).  Shake vigorously.  Pour into chilled martini glass and top with Prosecco or other light bodied “off dry” sparkling wine.  Garnish with rose petal or strawberry.

Polish Martini




1 part Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka

1 part Krupnik

1 part Apple Juice




Shake vigorously in shaker and serve in chilled martini glass.  Usually, the Polish Martini does not have a garnish, but a cinnamon stick or apple peel will complement the drink nicely.

Stringa Bell

Photo by Martin Walls




1.5 oz Bison Grass vokda

.5 oz Mint syrup (see recipe)

.25 oz Cynar (Artichoke aperitif)

1.5 oz Club soda



Shake all ingredients (except club soda)  hard on ice.  Serve in chilled martini glass, top with club soda.



Mint Syrup Recipe

Heat 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water until sugar dissolves.  As mixture thickens, add 1/2 cup of crushed mint.  Stir occasionally.  Let simmer for about 1 minute.  Then remove from heat and let cool.  Place syrup into a jar or container.  It should keep for several months if refrigerated.


Bloody Bison

Photo by Dimitri Castrique



1.5 oz. Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka
.5 tbsp. Prepared horseradish
.75 oz. Beef broth
Bloody Mary mix


Build this cocktail one ingredient at a time over ice in a bucket glass.  Add Bloody Mary mix last and fill to the top of the glass.  Then stir gently and garnish with lime wedge and celery stalk.


**Note: This intriguing recipe remains untested by the GINtender, but it was so interesting that we thought it justified a place on the blog. If you are brave enough to give this one a try, be sure to let us know what you think!**

Krakow Witch

Photo by Cisco p.a.




1.75 oz. Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka
.75 oz. Liquore strega
1.5 oz. Lemon sour Mix


Shake on ice and serve in chilled cocktail glass.

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