Where We’ve Been Drinking: Cava Mezze on Capitol Hill
Back in May, we went with a few friends to a fantastic event with a silly name, The Lamb Jam. The Lamb Jam was all-you-can-eat samples of lamb dishes designed by about fifteen local chefs, accompanied by all-you-can-drink local beer, wine, and cocktails. It was a bit dangerous, and quite delicious. We had roast lamb, of course, but also lamb sandwiches, and lamb tostadas, and lamb soup, and lamb meatballs, and lamb bao, and ten other lamb dishes I’m forgetting now. Our favorite was from this place called Cava Mezze, which sounded familiar though we couldn’t quite place it. It turns out it’s two blocks away from our apartment, and we passed by it all the time without ever quite noticing it in the din of all of the other restaurants on that strip. Well, now it was on our radar. It still took us a few months–you know how it is with restaurants you ‘can go to any time’ and then somehow don’t–but we finally made it to Cava for a late dinner last week. It was a perfect evening to enjoy tasty, Greek-influenced small plates on their charming roof deck, with its exposed brick and strung lights. To our delight, the cocktails were also quite enjoyable.
What We Ordered
She’s a Super Greek: ouzo, lemon, simple syrup, mint bitters, egg white
Goodbye Yellow Basil Road: Bourbon, yellow Chartreuse, sweet vermouth, absinthe, bitters
What We Thought
We made the unusual choice of ordering two anise-flavored cocktails–I guess we were in a Mediterranean mood–but we don’t regret it. Both drinks were surprising, interesting, and enjoyable. In the Super Greek, the anise and the mint came out strongest, playing off of one another in an unexpected way; the ‘meringue’–as we like to call it–was deliciously light and fluffy, bringing an overall airy quality to the drink.
You’d think from all of the strong flavors involved that the Yellow Basil Road would have been kind of busy, but it was actually really smooth. The effect of the Bourbon and absinthe was quite subtle, with vermouth and Chartreuse taking the lead.
Should You Go?
Yes, both to Lamb Jam and Cava Mezze. And when you go to Cave Mezze, sit on the roof deck, order the lamb, and enjoy your cocktails.
Goodbye Yellow Basil Road Cocktail Recipe
by our best guess
- 1 oz Bourbon
- 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
- 1/4 oz yellow Chartreuse
- 1 tsp absinthe
- 1 dash aromatic bitters
- Combine all ingredients in an old fashioned glass.
- Fill with ice.