Where We’ve Been Drinking: Aqua al 2
We have a fun tradition that we don’t get to employ all that often (and that’s a good thing, trust me), but when we do it’s awfully fun. Whenever one of us begins a new job, a celebratory first day on the job meal ensues. Now this probably shouldn’t really count as a tradition, since even without it we go out to eat more than our budget would like; but there is something special about marking a new beginning in this way. And, let’s be honest, we’re suckers for all celebrations regardless of the merits.
Moving to DC has meant that we both have started new jobs. I thought mine would start in August, which is why we moved here in August. But then it turned out I didn’t start until October. I realize in the grand scheme of things 2 months is really not that long, but 2 months when you’re anxiously awaiting to hear from your employer whether you’ve passed a background check can feel like torture, both because waiting on its own terms sucks and because your mind can come up with whole new levels of paranoid thought patterns about why your background check hasn’t cleared (did I commit some atrocity that I don’t even know I committed?).
Needless to say after 2 months of waiting (and by 2 I just mean for background…not the other months of applying and interviewing and all that jazz…that’s more like 6) I knew exactly where I wanted to go, Aqua al 2. It’s not the fanciest of places but it’s 2 blocks from our house, which meant that for all of August and September I would see this little tea-lit patio always filled with people dining and chatting and clinking glasses together, regardless of the day of the week. I wouldn’t call it envy, maybe more adoration, for what I felt as I passed by.
It was a wee bit too chilly for outdoor dining when we went, but the inside is warm and cozy and strikes the balance well between upscale Italian and your Italian grandmother’s kitchen. Also, we love when we go to Italian restaurants where hosts actually seem to speak Italian. We’re also always delighted when an Italian restaurant has decent cocktails. It’s like they’re going above and beyond since clearly wine is their thing. We appreciate the effort.
Also, I know this is a blog about cocktails, but you should know, their blueberry–yes, blueberry–steak is really fabulous. Okay, back to cocktails.
What We Ordered
Martini Scozzese: Blended Scotch, Cocchi di Torino vermouth, and Benedictine
Capriola Amara: Montenegro amaro, Bourbon, honey, egg white, and Angostura bitters
What We Thought
It’s not often that we order two whiskey drinks, but these ones were so intriguing that we couldn’t resist. And they didn’t disappoint. The Martini Scozzese (Scozzese is ‘Scotch’ in Italian) is more a Manhattan variant than a martini, but I guess they couldn’t resist the pun. I’m usually against puns, but I have to admit this multilingual one is kind of charming, and even more charming was the smokiness of the Scotch mixed with the smooth cinnamon flavors of the Torino vermouth. Capriola is Italian for ‘Somersault.’ I think this refers to the reversing of the usual proportions of amaro and Bourbon. It was a sweet, pleasant, easy-drinking cocktail with just the right amount of Bourbon to give it a nice bite. A great reminder that a sweet and light cocktail can still be a very interesting one.
So should you go?
Yes. The cozy atmosphere, the delicious and tender steak, the sound of Italian in the air, and the fun, creative cocktails all make Acqua al 2 a great spot for your special celebrations.