DC “DCocktail” Series: The Gibson, 2017 Spring/Summer Menu

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of The Gibson’s spring/summer cocktail menu.  The Gibson is a speakeasy and cocktail bar located in the U Street Corridor of Washington, D.C. While taking a stroll in the busy area, you’re likely to miss the establishment due to its nondescript entrance. However, once inside, you’re met with a sleek and sophisticated space, complete with dim lighting and intimate seating. Further back in the bar leads to a charming open patio area, which was the setting for the cocktail tasting.

The seasonal menu includes 27 uniquely-mixed cocktails with names as distinct as the ingredients. Each drink boasts names derived from pop culture references or inside jokes between the staff. I had the pleasure of imbibing on 10 of the specialty drinks. Because I know your time is precious, I will highlight the standouts from the night:

I Never Do This

Mezcal, which is a favorite of Will Drink for Travel, provides a smoky element to this dark and rich cocktail. Aromatic bitters are another primary ingredient, however it had no bearing on how smoothly the concoction settled.

Brooklyn Zoo

Thanks to my mental repository of all things pop culture, I was able to guess where this drink got its name (R.I.P. ODB). With a mixture consisting of chili-infused sherry, lemon, pineapple syrup, and grapefruit bitters topped with soda, I didn’t know what to expect. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), there was a nice balance of bitter and sweet, which was very pleasing to my taste buds.

I’m Remy, You’re Nicki

Do I even need to go into specifics on the origins of the name? Inspired by the recent “beef” between the hip-hop heavyweights, this cocktail packs a mean punch. The inclusion of Laphroaig 10 makes this a perfect drink for lovers of scotch. Because this was my first time tasting it in a drink, the harshness took some getting used to. Indubitably an acquired taste but settles smoothly, nonetheless.


Named after one Ms. Josephine Baker, this banana-infused cocktail is an ode to her infamous skirt made of the same fruit. This drink has a very interesting blend of ingredients-cognac, vanilla, mint leaves, banana liqueur, and a whole egg (yes, you read that right)-that I was all ready to write off. Boy, was I wrong! Each component was very subtle, creating a richness that proved plenty refreshing. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the dehydrated bananas used as a garnish. By far, my favorite of the night!

Kudos to the Gibson’s team of mixologists that prepared a wonderful launching event! The spring/summer menu was officially rolled out to the public on April 14th, perfectly coinciding with outdoor dining season. For more information on all things Gibson, please visit their website at thegibsondc.com

- Andrea Williams

Photo Credit: Frankie Jones

D.C. Eats: Mangia DC Georgetown Foodie Tour

As the weather warms up, and hopefully stays that way in the District, it’s the optimal time to get outside and eat! Mangia DC Food Tours provides the perfect opportunity, with walking food tours available in DuPont Circle and more recently, Georgetown. I had the pleasure of experiencing the newest tour, thanks to managing director Dave Saxe, who has managed to fuse work with pleasure in his venture. “I didn’t come from the food industry but I’ve always loved to eat. Being able to make my passion into a business has been a fun experience,” he explained.

Photo Courtesy of Mangia DC

Photo Courtesy of Mangia DC

About Mangia D.C.

Based in DuPont Circle, Mangia DC began in 2013 as an Italian food tour, hence the name. Tours occur Wednesday to Sunday each week, and showcase D.C.’s vast Italian culture, which was historically saturated in the Judiciary Square area, according to Saxe. Besides meaning 'eat' in Italian, Mangia (pronounced MON-JA), also means coming together to enjoy a delicious meal, which can be experienced with friends, or a group of diverse strangers, such as on one of Saxe’s tours.

Besides meeting people and eating great food, patrons get the chance to learn some history about where they’re going. “Georgetown was once a food processing district, so there was lots of food commerce in the 1920s…this tour pays tribute to that,” Saxe informed our group. The tour takes a detour off of the infamous shopping strip that is M Street and exposes you to local eateries and specialty shops you may not know exist in the neighborhood.

Georgetown Foodie Tour

Our first stop included a stint at Stachowski’s where we greeted with fresh from the oven pirozhkis. Besides being fresh, they were pretty substantial in size, and made for a good appetizer for our walk to the Georgetown Olive Oil Company. If you’ve only been using one type of olive oil all of your life, this store is going to be a revelation. With several olive oils, balsamic vinegars, salts and herbs available, you’ll get a chance to update your palette and expand your kitchen pantry.

After olive oil tasting, we were treated to a family style sit-down at Via Umbria, where we sipped on an Aperol spritz and dug into pork belly porchetta sandwiches. To say that the sandwich was delicious would be a major understatement. Full disclosure, I’ve since randomly day dreamed about this particular sandwich; it literally melts in your mouth. Also of note is that the restaurant itself makes you feel like you’re somewhere other than D.C., which I’m sure has something to do with the owners’ consistent trips to Italy.

Pork belly porchetta sandwiches

Pork belly porchetta sandwiches

To round off our good eats, we cut through the Georgetown canal and found ourselves at Dog Tag Inc. & Bakery, where we sampled oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. More than a bakery, the organization provides a work-study program for disabled veterans and caregivers. Many of us were excited to support their mission.

Eat, Learn and Enjoy

Saxe, who is a fan of Thai food and a good Sazerac, hopes that patrons take away the true mission of Mangia tours - “eat, learn, and enjoy.” I certainly did just that, and was surprised to find other locals on the tour wanting a new experience of D.C. The tour accommodates vegetarian, gluten-free and other dietary restrictions as long as you alert them in advance. Outside of this service, they also offer private food tours for up to 60 people (i.e. for corporate functions, anniversaries, etc), private gourmet cooking classes (including vegan Italian), and yoga with mindfulness eating workshops. Mangia donates a portion of their proceeds to S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat) and engages in community service at local food pantries to give back.

For more information about Mangia DC Food Tours please visit www.mangiadc.com and tell them Will Drink For Travel sent you!

- Nyasha Chikowore