The ingredients for a fabulous fete are as follows:
Begin with bottomless cocktails, beer, and wine,
Add delicious and plentiful cuisine,
Add one part excellent company,
Include good music, preferably a live band,
Toss in a photo booth, sprinkle with silly props if at all possible,
Conclude with fun swag and goodies as you exit.
If the recipe for a spectacular shindig is like so, then Washingtonian magazine is an excellent chef.
I attended the third party thrown by the Washingtonian in the last six months, Whiskey Rocks, at the Washington Renaissance Hotel, and it may have been my favorite of the three.
Back in July, we attended the Washingtonian Best of Party after we were named one of its “Best Blogs.” Held at the National Building Museum, the enormous party had a pink candy land theme and featured appetizers and cocktails from about 30 of Washington’s best restaurants and mixologists.
Then, we co-hosted Washingtonian’s Brunch & Bloodys party at Longview Gallery. This party was a dream come true: brunch bites, Bloodys, mimosas, and plenty of fun.
A few weeks ago, I snagged some tickets to Whiskey Rocks, a whiskey and fine spirits tasting event that clearly catered to Washingtonian’s male demographic.
The evening was off to a good start—my partner in crime was a well-dressed gentleman and upon entering the room I discovered a party filled with men—something that never happens in Washington.
There were about 20 tasting stations of all types of liquor. The room was decorated beautifully, with enormous wine barrels, candles, and twine-and-moss centerpieces—not unlike how you’d decorate for a wedding held at a vineyard in fall.
While we were concerned it was just whiskey, it most certainly was not. There were more than 100 types of liquor: whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila and more, including John L. Sullivan Irish Whiskey Alaska Distillery, Angels Envy, Benevá, Boyd and Blair Potato Vodka, Catoctin Creek, Death’s Door Gin, Don Q, Chocolate Liqueur, Edinburgh Gin, Few Spirits, Ilegal Mescal, James E. Pepper 1776 Rye & 15YO Bourbon, Koloa Premium Hawaiian Rums, Pig’s Nose Scotch, Pow-wow Botanical Rye, Purgatory “Hemp Seed” Vodka, Ron Abuelo, Roundstone Rye, Sheep Dip Scotch, Smooth Ambler ‘Old Scout’ Bourbon & Rye, Tap 357 Maple Rye Whisky, Tequila Real, Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard Gin, VeeV, Watershed Gin, WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey. Wheo!
Our favorite cocktail was actually a tequila drink. The Benveno Anejo Old Fashioned, made with beneva anejo, simple syrup, angostura bitters, lemon peel.
On one side, there was a light tasting station of fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, tuna tartare on crispy wonton chips. On the other, there was chicken and rice and rich bourbon bread pudding topped with a creme anglaise. Bread pudding might be my favorite food, ever, so I was sold.
There was a cigar rolling station, paired with an outdoor smoking lounge, making the party even more enjoyable for the gentlemen.
The live jazz band in the corner was fun and upbeat, providing a pleasant vibe without detracting from the party. However, by the end of the evening plenty of people were dancing—and it wasn’t just because of the whiskey.
Once you were nice and sauced up, there was a photo booth (a signature touch at Washingtonian parties). However, these time there were bucket loads of silly props and the ability to manipulate the photos much like Instagram. Ah, perfect! Get sloshed, take some silly photos, and then quickly sneak out of the party. Be sure to grab a Washingtonian low ball glass on your way out.
All in all, a tasteful, well-done event with a crowd that followed suit.