Where We’ve Been Drinking: Thip Kao

Posted on Jan 21, 2016


Where We’ve Been Drinking: Thip Kao

thip kao

photo cred: thipkao.com

Here are two things we’ve learned since moving to DC:

  1. Making friends is harder than we remember;
  2. Capitol Hill is far away from everything.

We knew moving would entail saying goodbye to so many friends, and we could piece it together that this would then also entail (hopefully) making new friends. What we didn’t know was that it is hard. Or slow. Or both. And conjures up some memories of dating. Should I initiate? Will they like us? How soon is too soon to propose another time to hang out?  And we knew that Capitol Hill wasn’t close to where most people our age like to hang, but it was just too charming to turn down. We told ourselves, ‘We’ll still go out. It’s not that far.’

Thus, when we met a lovely couple at a Thanksgiving party and they suggested drinks in a neighborhood on the other side of town, we immediately said yes.

We trekked up to Columbia Heights to try out Thip Kao for Laotian cuisine. Thip Kao has gotten a lot of press, and was just recently voted one of DC’s 10 best restaurants. We wholeheartedly agree.

From the cocktails to the curry, everything we we put it on our mouth was both utterly unique and entirely delicious. We’re not very abreast to standards in Laotian cooking, but we give it many thumbs up.

What we ordered

Teapot Scandal: dry curacao, laphroaig 10 yr, amaro sibilia

Falang Jetsip Haa: botanist gin, elderflower-lychee liquor, seasonal berries, bubbles

Rye Bird Chili: wild turkey rye, chili-infused aperol, massenez creme de griotte, lemon

Som Nam Naa: makers mark cask-strength, dry vermouth, laab herbs, thai basil

What We Thought

What we loved about all of the drinks was the plethoera of unique ingredients, but with still very smooth flavor profiles. There were so many ingredients we had not heard of or had not seen used. Now, that’s not always a good thing, as it means you’re guessing when you order (and that’s exactly what we don’t want you to do! Or at least we want you to be able to guess intelligently) or you’re googling the entire menu…and that can take awhile.

The Teapot Scandal was a nice take on a hot toddy with curuaco as the base and the splash of an amaro. Currently, we’ll order just about any drink if we see it has an amaro we haven’t tried.

Falang Jetsip Haa (I made Brian order that one since I knew I would fail at pronouncing it) was a good, lighter drink with zest sort of like a sophisticated sprite with that certain zangyness that can only be described by lychee.

The Rye Bird Chili was the favorite. It was satisfyingly spicy, but had no kick; it went down completely smooth. Was it the creme de griotte or the lemon? I don’t know, but it was excellent. Most ‘spicy’ drinks either leave me coughing or wishing white people knew better what counted as spice. This one seemed just right.

Should you go?

Yes. Go for drinks. And for food. You won’t be disappointed.

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