Wisdom Takes The White House

The White House... for those of you who are already confused.

After passing a behemoth health care bill, balancing two wars, and juggling some tricky financial reform, last Sunday, the Obama administration took on its biggest challenge to date as it attempted to shepherd the Wisdom staff on a tour through the West Wing of the White House.

Walrus stuck in the wall

Mounted Walrus at Old Ebbitt

In the early evening hours, Wisdom and company descended on the historic watering hole, Old Ebbitt, to quench their insatiable thirst and prepare for the night’s events. After a few drinks and some fine dining, momentarily satisfied, the group trooped out into the night to meet the sorry soul doomed to be their tour guide.

Wisdom White House Tour and Bowling

Mighty Malcolm, Wisdom's very own Trivia guru, is prepared for anything the White House or Secret Service has to throw at him with his daredevil helmet which also came along for the tour

In their excitement (and perhaps partially because of the booze), the crew realized nearly too late that one of their most important members, the Mighty Malcolm (Trivia guru), was in fact missing. After a few frantic phone calls and a fair amount of finger pointing, they were finally able to track him down at his place of residence in the H Street area.

With only 15 minutes to spare before access to the White House was closed to him (probably forever), the Mighty Malcolm jumped on his scooter, not to be deterred by the seemingly impossible, and defied natural physics as he somehow arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue just as the Wisdom staff had lost all hope and was entering the grounds. Finally, the Wisdom crew was at full force.

Terry, White House Sentry

Honored Wisdom patron and fearless tour guide, Terry explains the finer points of this West Wing entrance

Wisdom-regular and fearless tour guide Terry, along with soon-to-be-regular and experienced tour guide Danny, headed up the ambitious White House effort and deftly maneuvered the group of miscreants on an extensive tour without major incident.

Wisdom White House Tour and Bowling

Above an entrance of the West Wing

The group dug down deep and everyone was on their best behavior as they combed the halls of the fully operational West Wing. Along the way, they were able to see the door to the Situation Room as well as the Oval Office. They were even able to spy HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as she passed through the Rose Garden.

Unfortunately, photographs are not permitted in this branch of the White House and, believe it or not, none of the Wisdom staff was stupid enough to try. Or at least not stupid enough to post it here.

Wisdom White House Tour and Bowling

Scott, the Mayor of Wisdom, cozies up to the podium in the White House Press Room

Next, it was on to the Press Room.

The Eisenhower Building

Then they hit up the Eisenhower Building to check out Terry’s office and eat his jolly ranchers.


Truman Bowling Alley, somewhere underneath the Eisenhower Building and the White House

Finally it was time for the night’s main event: The most competitive bowling match the White House has ever seen. It was Team Lame vs. Team Awesome and with the help of a little Sierra Nevada the heated battle began.

After a little back and forth in the early frames, Team Lame eventually broke out into a commanding lead and in the end crushed Team Awesome. (Note: Actual scores are too embarrassing to post here).

Josh, member of Team Lame, stands victorious with his score sheet in front of Nixon

Miraculously, no one was hurt or arrested and virtually no damage was done to the property. However, there were reports of technical issues on Lane 1 of the bowling alley shortly after Wisdom’s departure. (Note: For details about these allegations, consult The Mayor of Wisdom).

Wisdom White House Tour and Bowling

Back row from left: Cheese, the GINtender, Clayton, Bart; Front row from left: Sweet Vee, Josh, Emily, Brandon; Not Pictured: Scott (The Mayor of Wisdom), Mighty Malcolm (Wisdom Trivia guru)

After all was said and done, the crew returned to Wisdom for the after party.

For more photos, check out Scott’s Flickr page:

**Special thanks to Terry and Danny for making this adventure possible**

And the alcohol of the month is…

Green Chartreuse!!!

That’s right, the GINtender will be providing you with an assortment of recipes throughout December featuring this French liqueur as the main ingredient!

According to legend, the Carthusian monks of Vauvert (near Paris) adopted an “elixir of life” concoction from one Francois Hannibal d’Estrees in 1605. The original recipe called for some 130 herbs, flowers and “secret ingredients”.

Over time, the Carthusian monks continued to modify the recipe and it eventually evolved into the sweet, yet potent liqueur it is today. These liqueurs are produced in Voiron, France using the herbal mixture prepared by two monks at Grande Chartreuse.
There are a variety of Chartreuse liqueurs, but the Green Chartreuse is one of the better known.

Green Chartreuse gets its herbal flavoring from 132 different plants and gets its greenish tinge from chlorophyll.

Generally speaking, Chartreuses have a very herbal flavor and run between 80-110 proof. It can be served straight (if cold) but is often present as the featured ingredient in many cocktails. In fact, some recipes call for only a few drops of Chartreuse due to its potency.

Be sure to check back with the GINtender daily to get the latest recipe and don’t be afraid to suggest a few of your own!


TONIGHT, 2 November at 7:30 p.m.

A guided tasting of 7 European Brews:

Zatek bright dark lager
S. Smith Winter Welcome
Lindemans Faro
Ayinger Ur Weisse
Rochefort 8
Traquir House Jacobite

Samuel Smith taddy Porter

Complimentary Cheese & bread plates authentic brewery glassware giveaway


Reserve NOW!

Ice Best Practices

Peter recently wrote the Gintender to ask:

What is your philosophy on the use of ice in cocktails? A traditional up gin martini chilled as close to freezing as possible approaches perfection for me. Ice is used imperfectly in most bars – from under-chilled martinis to stale cubes made from poor-quality water that imparts bad flavor.

Great question Peter!

Ice without a doubt is one of the most mentioned topics in neo-cocktail bars. The skinny of the argument is that the best ice (not wet ice) will chill your cocktail yet not water it down. There is a lot of talk and the trend in most super hip and high-end cocktail spots seems to be using ice blocks and shaving them down to size for a drink. In fact, this is the way cocktails were originally crafted.

The link you sent (http://tinyurl.com/mnvfka) is for an apparatus that takes a square block of ice and molds it into a perfect solid sphere, suited for drinking scotch or Bourbon, preventing as much melting as possible. I completely understand and respect this technique (although I don’t have a few thousand dollars lying around in order to purchase one for Wisdom at the moment).

However, I will go on record and disagree with 99% of mixologists out there and say that I personally prefer wet ice in my shaken Gin or vodka martinis. I like to lower the proof of my Gin or even vodka martinis from 80 or above proof to a range in the upper 60s/low 70s. I do this by drinking them wet (1oz of vermouth) and using a tin filled with wet ice rather than 3/4 full (I use a shaker 3/4 full to shake cocktails with mixed ingredients including juices and liqueurs that do not need to be lowered in proof.) That’s my opinion and my experience…and I don’t think that makes me as a wuss or an amateur. I have been drinking cocktails most days of the week for the last several years. Clearly the best ice for a drink is not a stone-cold fact.

For home use I would recommend filtering the water you use for your ice (through a Britta or similar device) and tr not to have anything with potent smells in your freezer because ice can absorb odor. I would also dump the ice in your shaker after each use. Personally, I think reusing ice can water down an otherwise good cocktail. I also recommend chilling the martini glass with ice and some water prior to pouring your shaken and strained creation into it.

A word about GIN styles

London Dry Gin — Dry, pure style originally made exclusively in London and appeared soon after the invention of the continuous still, which enabled production of a nearly pure spirit.  The high distillation strength removed unpleasant flavors found in earlier gins allowing this new form to be sold unsweetened or ‘dry’. Today a ‘London dry’ style gin may be legally produced anywhere in the world.

Jenever –Original Dutch Spirit that is the precursor to today’s gin.  Also known as Genever, Geneva and Holland’s, it retains more of the flavor of rye, barley & corn with which it is made and therefore is rightly separated into its own category.

Old Tom Gin — Sweet style of gin popular in the 18th & 19th century which masked the rough flavors of the distilled liquor of earlier, less efficient stills.

Plymouth — Plymouth Gin can only be produced in Plymouth using water from Dartmoor.  It is a light and very mixable Gin.

Xoriguer — Spanish gin that can only be made on the island of Menorca.

Note: Blue Coat is labeled as an “American Dry Gin”, which is a term that they created.  Since the gin is made in the states they do not have to follow the European laws (EU Appellation) and made up this term, which in essence is in the style of a Premium London Dry, but made in America…perfect for their motto “Assert your independence.”


Why GIN over VODKA?

Simply put, gin is basically a neutral spirit, (high strength vodka) flavored predominantly with juniper and various seeds, berries, roots, fruits and herbs. Under EU legislation the name ‘gin’ means any flavored spirit over 37.5% alcohol by volume which includes some juniper. There are two classifications: ‘gin’ and ‘distilled gin’.
Distilled gins are always of the best quality whereas straight ‘gin’ can be correlated to ‘bath tub gin’ and are always inferior. MOST GIN enthusiasts realize that vodka is simply unfinished Gin…Vodka or “little water” is meant to taste like nothing, where as Gin has character. A good mixologist will 9 times out of 10 reach for Gin over vodka as their blank canvas. When crafting a cocktail, if you understand the particular essence and flavor profile of a particular gin, one can create a truly special libation where the botanicals “pop” and compliment the mixers and other liqueurs. In most vodka cocktails, you are simply trying to mask the alcohol taste.
“Gin is true magic, whereas vodka’s only trick is to disappear.” –The Gintender



Tuesday, 2 November at 730pm

A guided tasting of European Brews:

Zatek bright dark lager
S. Smith Winter Welcome
Lindemans Faro
Ayinger Ur Weisse
Rochefort 8
Traquir House Jacobite
Samuel Smith taddy Porter
Complimentary Cheese & bread plates and authentic brewery glassware giveaways

Cost: $25

Reserve NOW!

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