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

Holiday Mixology Gift Certificate


We Have Gift Certificates For The Cocktail Enthusiast On Your List!

Email DCWISDOM@gmail.com with “Gift Certificate” in the Subject line and how many persons you would like to purchase for. We will then send you a paypal link and then mail the certificate & password to you. The lucky recipient will then email us (at the email above) to reserve their class anytime in 2016.

Discounted until Dec 22nd


The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival (Nov. 18)



On Tuesday, November 18 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., gin expert Erik Holzherr (The Gintender) will host a special Book Signing with author Matt Teacher to celebrate the release of The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival (Cider Mill Press Book Publishers, November 2014) at Wisdom (1432 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, 202-543-2323). Guests will be able to purchase copies of the book at the event for Teacher to sign, and will also have the option to purchase and sip a specially curated gin flight that Teacher and Holzherr put together specifically for the event.

“Washington, DC has become a mecca for cocktail lovers, and especially for gin lovers, over the past few years, and I’m thrilled to visit and share my new book with the knowledgeable and curious drinkers in the District,” says Teacher, who is also the author of The Home Distiller’s Handbook (Cider Mill Press, 2011). Adds Holzherr, “We’re so happy to have Matt join us and share his gin stories first-hand with our fans and friends.”

10_20_14-GintenderAdTeacher and Holzherr created a special flight of three exceptional gins for guests to compare and contrast at the event which will include a traditional London dry gin, a historic Old Tom gin and a barrel-aged gin.

The Spirit of Gin is an engaging and informative chronicle of Teacher’s self-education on the oft-misunderstood and newly back-in-vogue spirit. The book, loaded with cocktail recipes, celebrated clubs, bars and top mixologists passionate about the spirit, as well as the large and small distilleries making the best gins today, belongs on the shelf of any serious home bartender, and would be equally at ease beside other best-selling cocktail books in any of the bars that Teacher visits on his gin-fueled journey. Each page leads readers through Teacher’s story in words, recipes and illustrations that range from clever original pieces to vintage advertisements and photographs. The book is a showpiece and makes a thoughtful gift for anyone interested in the contemporary cocktail revival.

Established in 2008, Wisdom is Washington, DC’s first dedicated cocktail parlor. The bar features the largest gin selection in DC/MD/VA, specializing in house-original cocktails, the finest American microbrews and the largest selection of authentic absinthe in Capitol Hill. Wisdom is also home to the country’s first Gin Club. It is located a half block from the Potomac Avenue Metro stop on the blue, orange and silver lines.

Matt Teacher is the co-founder and proprietor of Philadelphia, PA’s Sine Studios, a recording facility designed for acoustic optimization. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he is also a devoted spirits lover whose thirst for knowledge drove him to research and write The Home Distiller’s Handbook, and now, The Spirit of Gin. He resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Katie, a musician who frequently joins him on his travels and who he is proud to have transformed from a vodka kind of gal into a knowledgeable gin lover. He is also the author of The Musician’s Hit Song Writer’s Notebook (Cider Mill Press, 2009).

For more information, please visit thespiritofgin.wordpress.com.

The Wisdom-Genever Cocktail Competition-18 July 2013


Wisdom is hosting its first cocktail competition of Diep 9 Genever for industry and non-industry folks!

Why genever (Juh-nee-vur)? It is the precursor of Gin and has a flavor profile that has been described as a mix between gin, whiskey, and vodka. Before prohibition in 1920, Americans were drinking up to 7 times more genever than gin and today the spirit is almost completely unknown in the States.

It is free to enter, and if your recipe is accepted you will have a chance to win some great prizes including bar and restaurant tabs!

Every Sunday starting this Sunday (June 9th) you can visit Wisdom to try free samples of Diep9 old and young genever. Just tell the bartender you are interested in the competition. All recipes must be submitted to dcwisdom@gmail.com by Friday July 12th.

New to genever?  Check out our last post with Diep9’s Veronique Beittel and her new book Genever: 500 Years of History in a Bottle.

The nitty-gritty details:

Diep 9 Official Cocktail Competition Rules, Hints & Tips

1. Two entries per person maximum
2. Entries must be in the form of a long or short drink, not a shot and be a maximum of 4oz
3. Entries should be submitted by email to dcwisdom@gmail.com but are not officially accepted until email notice of acceptance is sent by the organizers.

4. Drinks must not contain more than seven ingredients, including fruit juices, syrups, drops or dashes. Solid garnishes are not considered ingredients. It is acceptable to additionally spray a citrus fruit zest over the drink if specified as a garnish. With a few exceptions it is the simple drinks that have gone on to become ‘classics’, and due to this the judges will be instructed to favor simple drinks with fewer ingredients.
5. Hot ingredients, premixes of any kind or home preparations are forbidden without advance written authority of the competition organizers. Competitors wishing to use these should submit their request at least 5 days before the day of competition but are advised to seek permission as soon as possible.
6. Recipes which can be easily replicated are preferred so unless judges give advanced written authority (rule 5 above) ingredients must be readily/widely available proprietary products, fruit and commonly found bar products.
7. Recipes must contain a minimum of 1.5 oz of Diep 9 Old genever or Young genever
8. Ingredients may be measured using a jigger or similar measure or freely poured.

9. Recipes entered must be the original creation of the competitor and if a competitor is thought to have plagiarized a known, existing cocktail they will be disqualified.
10. Recipes entered must be expressed in ounces or with the use of ‘dashes’ and/or ‘drops’ limited to bitters, hot pepper sauce and the like. Fruit juice quantities must also be stipulated, e.g. “squeeze of lime” is unacceptable.

Drinks & Preparation
11. Drinks must be assembled in front of the judges.
12. Drinks may be hand stirred, hand shaken or blended in an electric mixer.
13. Competitors must supply their own bartending utensils (shaker, bar spoon, strainer etc.). An electric blender will be provided by the organizers.
14. Cocktails may be presented in any shape of glass, cup or other hygienic and safe receptacle. The organizer will supply limited basic glassware but competitors are advised to bring their own. Note, points are awarded for presentation. No brand name or logo other than the regular discrete mark of the glassware manufacturer should be visible (sponsoring brand excepted).
15. The organizers will supply ice
16. Drinks may be served hot (with organizer’s written consent), straight-up, or over cubed, cracked or crushed ice.
17. Each competitor must make at least two identical drinks for the judges to sample.
18. Competitors must be able to prepare drinks within a maximum of 5 minutes but will additionally be given a further 5 minutes, prior to making their drink, to familiarize themselves with the bar area and prepare equipment and ingredients.
19. Competitors serving drinks which appear inedible or working with unhygienic methods will be disqualified and their drinks discarded without being sampled.

20. Garnishes must be edible but may be mounted on sticks, skewers, straws, forks or other such common bar accessories. Use of edible fruits, herbs, leaves and spices my include sprigs, peels, barks, fruit shells etc. Any flowers and petals used must be of an edible variety.
21. Fruit for garnishes may be peeled in advance, but not sliced, wedged or pre-cut in any other way. Garnishes must be assembled within the five minute allotted drinks preparation time.

22. By entering this competition, competitors agree to assign copyright of their recipe and drink name to the competition organizers.
23. Competitors and drinks presented during the competition may be photographed (still or motion picture) by the organizers and copyright of these images for any use, including advertising, will be retained by the competition organizers.

Drink Names
24. Drink names including rude, lurid, sexual words, or words associated with narcotics or motor vehicles are prohibited.
25. Competitors are encouraged to talk to the judges while making their drink. Points will be awarded for general presentation and working methods.
26. Competitors using rude or swear words will be disqualified.

27. The competition organizers reserve the right to have the final decision on any matter relating to the judging of the competition.
28. The competition organizers will appoint the panel of judges and reserve the right to replace or appoint new judges before or during the competition.
29. The judges must remain impartial and declare any vested interest they may have in the competition or competitors. They must judge each competitor on their competition presentation and drink alone.

30. While every reasonable effort will be made, the competition organizers cannot guarantee the safe return of glassware, equipment or any product supplied by a competitor. Therefore competitors are advised to house their tools and product in bags/boxes which enable them to efficiently gather and hold their equipment and ingredients immediately after competing.
31. Competitors considered by the organizer to be practicing or promoting any form of irresponsible drinking, including ‘shots’ will be disqualified and may be asked to leave the venue.
32. Competitors must conduct themselves in a safe manner and any action considered by the organizers to endanger fellow competitors, judges or spectators will result in instant disqualification and possible ejection from the venue.


Wisdom: April Book Club

The Wisdom Book Club will meet the last Sunday of each month.  Stop by and enjoy a few cocktails while we discuss the book of the month!

For April 7:

 The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Description: “My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.” Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”
The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.


The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.


For April 28:


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon
Pulitzer Prize winner, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a triumph of originality, imagination, and storytelling, an exuberant, irresistible novel that begins in New York City in 1939. A young escape artist and budding magician named Joe Kavalier arrives on the doorstep of his cousin, Sammy Clay. While the long shadow of Hitler falls across Europe, America is happily in thrall to the Golden Age of comic books, and in a distant corner of Brooklyn, Sammy is looking for a way to cash in on the craze. He finds the ideal partner in the aloof, artistically gifted Joe, and together they embark on an adventure that takes them deep into the heart of Manhattan, and the heart of old-fashioned American ambition. From the shared fears, dreams, and desires of two teenage boys, they spin comic book tales of the heroic, fascist-fighting Escapist and the beautiful, mysterious Luna Moth, otherworldly mistress of the night. Climbing from the streets of Brooklyn to the top of the Empire State Building, Joe and Sammy carve out lives, and careers, as vivid as cyan and magenta ink.

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