What is that—velvet? You bet it is. And the Rabbit is back with a brand-new menu for spring—no carrots, but there are plenty of veggies, spices and refreshment to be found. I previewed some of the offerings before their March 2 debut with owners Christina and Pamela Dylag and company, and was pretty impressed. Here’s what we’re drinking.
By Marshall Scheuttle
Gin, sake, house-made honeydew melon shrub, house-made ginger honey pepper syrup, fresh lemon, muddled cucumber and a dusting of black pepper.
The perfect place to start! Fresh as spring rain, but with a complexity that peels away to reveal new flavors with each sip. “The melon shrub really complements the sake,” Pamela adds.
By Pamela Dylag
Tequila, fresh pressed red bell pepper juice, lemon, house-made cherry white peppercorn syrup, Chesapeake Bay bitters, muddled cucumber and a basil leaf.
“I wanted a savory cocktail, but not a really rich one. Something really fresh, but not overly sweet either,” Pamela says. And she nailed it. Whereas this cocktail could easily have gone all Bloody Maria, the bell pepper juice is used sparingly, as well as the bitters, which are wicked spicy. In one sip you first get cherry, then pepper, then cherry, then pepper. “And white peppercorn is more subtle that black. It complemented the cherry really well,” she says.
La Brujita (Little Witch)
By Cody Fredrickson
Tequila, mescal, house-made orange shrub, fresh orange juice, house-made ancho ginger soda, dehydrated smoked salted lime wheel on top and served with spicy mescal peanuts.
“I really wanted to play with enhancing the drinking experience by pairing it,” Fredrickson says.” Normally, I would put a salt rim on a drink like this. But I think as a whole it completes a bigger experience.” And they do work in concert: The drink makes you eat the peanuts, which makes you take a sip, which makes you crave the peanuts. And if peanuts are not your thing (or could kill you), you’ll get jalapeño ranch flavor popcorn from Popcorn Girl, which work, too.
The Pool Boy
By Andrew Smith
Light rum, fresh grapefruit juice, tarragon syrup, coconut milk, Bittermens tiki bitters and Fee Brothers aromatic bitters, topped with soda.
“I wanted something easy drinking, approachable, but still complex on the palate.,” Smith says. This one is probably the most difficult for me to wrap my head around. But it smells and tastes like vacation, and who couldn’t use one of those?
By Christina Dylag
Rye, Cynar, house-made lemonpeel star anise syrup, Lagavulin rinse and a lemon swath garnish.
“This is the most spirit-forward cocktail on the new menu,” Christina says. “I love working with Cynar. It really adds a nice bitter element without using bitters.”
For my taste, this is exceptional: The nose is all lemon and Scotch, but on the palate you get some balanced sweetness. It’s like coming down through the fog after a long flight.
All cocktails are $10. Save the date for Velveteen Rabbit’s Bollywood-themed two-year anniversary on April 30.