Underserved is a recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you're not ordering.
What: Screw You, Rusty with Bols Genever, Laird & Company’s AppleJack, Bonal, Drambuie, housemade apple bitters, and a Laphroaig rinse
Where: Roofers Union, 2446 18th St. NW
What You Should Be Drinking
The first thing that hits the glass in the Screw You, Rusty comes from a spray bottle. “Rinsing” the drink with Laphroaig, one of the peatiest Scotches on the planet, imparts just a twinge of smoke to remind imbibers they’re drinking a twist on the Rusty Nail. But instead of the two-ingredient cocktail made solely of Scotch and Drambuie, bartender Erin Goodman’s drink has a few more party guests: Bols Genever, Laird & Company’s AppleJack, Bonal, and bitters made with local apples from the Columbia Heights farmers market. The result is a whiskey drinker’s gin cocktail that’s as ready for winter as Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. “Bols Genever is a funky, original gin before gin was gin,” General Manager Dave Delaplaine explains. “It tastes like a whiskey-gin hybrid, so when you put it in a cocktail, you want to approach it more like whiskey because of its depth.” Bonal, a quinine-spiked wine cordial, lends bitterness while the two apple ingredients bring the sweet.
Why You Should Be Drinking It
Delaplaine says customers balk at the drink because of the mysterious ingredients, but they shouldn’t because it tastes like an oh-so-hot-right-now old fashioned. “The base spirit is going to scare people off and then it goes crazy from there, but it all plays really well together,” he says. The bar team’s goal was to make a cocktail with Drambuie, since the booze made of a blend of aged Scotch, honey, and herbs typically sits on the shelf. So much so that Delaplaine had trouble finding it. “Bartenders today are more up for a challenge,” he says. “We’re asking, ‘How do I incorporate things into a cocktail and convince people they like it?’” Little convincing is needed. The dark and broody cocktail with a welcome warming quality begs to be sipped after dinner.
Photo by Laura Hayes