At Georgetown’s El Monumento Restaurant, Bar Manager Jeremy Corn can mix up a mean Manhattan while regaling guests with nuggets of cocktail history and trivia.
See related: Drinking in the Details
“The recipe for a Manhattan,” he says, “is two ounces of bourbon, 1 ounce vermouth, and two dashes of bitters. That’s easy to remember—211—that’s Manhattan’s area code.”
Every Wednesday, Jeremy and his crew of bartenders host an event at El Monumento’s bar, known as El Bar, called “Mixology Wednesday.” For $14, visitors can try miniature versions of three classic cocktails, comparing flavors, techniques, and presentation. Depending on the day, Mixology Wednesday can wind up like an abridged version of Jeremy’s popular “Mixology 101” class, which he offers monthly and also by special arrangement.
“We keep the classes small-about seven people tops-since we have them out back at the tiki bar,” says Jeremy. “So far, the crowds have been really diverse; last weekend we had a couple in their mid-30s, a few regular customers at the restaurant, and a couple from Sun City.
“People always want to know: Why do you stir instead of shake, and vice versa? The rule is that you should stir drinks that contain straight spirits. We apply water and ice to chill and dilute the drink, and you don’t want to introduce air. When you pour a spirits drink, it should look silky-smooth like ribbons, like a stream of diamonds.
“ But you shake a drink that has fruit juice in it. The shaking creates bubbles, which creates an infinite surface area. That creates what we call a flash infusion.
“Sometimes people wonder: Why use a jigger? Why measure at all? I always tell them that we approach cocktail-making like making a recipe. After all, it’s an offshoot of the culinary arts, and attention to detail is paramount.”
Jeremy is writing a booklet to accompany his “Mixology 101” classes, in which he’ll provide the recipes for the drinks he considers the top 25 classic cocktails. If you master these, you’ll bartend with flair at any gathering. The top 25 include standards like the Bloody Mary and the Daiquiri, along with lesser-known libations such as the French 75, the Moscow Mule, and the Sazarac, which dates to 1820s New Orleans.
Jeremy says his favorite drink right now is the Old-Fashioned, and here’s his recipe: Combine 2.5 ounces rye whiskey, .5 ounces simple syrup, and .25 ounces Angostura bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir very well. Strain into an ice-filled, chilled rocks glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.