Mix your own DC ‘Quarantini’ cocktail with the help of a virtual class

Ashley McPherson of D.C.’s HalfSmoke participates in a virtual cocktail class. (Credit: Trey Campbell/Courtesy HalfSmoke)

A D.C. restaurant is working to stay engaged with its customers during the coronavirus pandemic with online classes on how to make professional craft cocktails.

The classes, which are broadcast on the Instagram account @halfsmokeDC, are a mix of entertainment and education.

“People are kind of twiddling their thumbs at home,” said Julie Andre, a manager with HalfSmoke. “I think it creates a sense of normalcy.”

HalfSmoke is located in the District’s Shaw neighborhood.

For the online classes, it has partnered with several bartenders from other restaurants in the area including Tiger Fork, Bidwell, Don Tito’s, Lily & The Cactus, Left Door and Dougie’s Backyard.

“These are cocktails that are fun and engaging,” said Andre. “People can comment and ask questions, and we give the recipes ahead of time so anyone can go grab the ingredients and follow along.”

The first class was held on Monday, with HalfSmoke bartender Ashley McPherson showing off four cocktails including the Berry Smoquila, Decades Old Fashioned, Grown N Sexy and the C’est la Vie Quarantini.

“We can’t go into a bar and watch your favorite bartender create their curated cocktails for you,” said Andre. “We are missing that right now.”

Watching the “Quarantini Virtual Cocktail Series” is free, but viewers are encouraged to leave a tip by sending money to the bartender’s Venmo, Cash App or Zelle accounts.

The schedule for the classes is below:

  • Well+Good on Thursday, April 23, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. —Bartenders Lisandro Meza and Michael Loria of Tiger Fork will spotlight a series of aphrodisiac and medicinal cocktails inspired by Chinese medicine. Standouts include the Aphrodisiac with Convite mezcal, cardamom pods, lime, miso paste, honey and habanero shrub and the March Into May Penicillin with Zacapa rum, elderflower, chrysanthemum tea, cinnamon bitters and turmeric root.
  • Caribbean Breeze on Monday, April 27, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Bartender Fabian Malone of Left Door and Dougie’s Backyard will be on hand to pour The Jamaican Godfather, which is made from a combination of Wray & Nephew Overproof rum, Averna, mango chutney, honey syrup and lime juice.
  • Quarantine Favorites on Thursday, April 30, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Bartender Kat Basile of Don Tito will stop by to demo two of her favorite libations: The Convite with Convite mezcal, house-made chili and white peppercorn syrup and fresh lime juice, garnished with a sriracha sea salt rim and the Tickle My Banana with Denizen rum, banana simple syrup, brown sugar syrup, Falernum and nutmeg, garnished with a maraschino cherry and banana.
  • Tried-and-True on Monday, May 4, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Malachi Smith of Lily & The Cactus will pay respect to the classics, focusing on the world’s favorite and most endearing libations: the Daquiri, Margarita and Micheladas.
  • Bartender’s Choice on Thursday, May 7, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Bartender Cassie Womack of Bidwell Union Market will stop by to demo two mystery cocktails.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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