From the menu, Jeff Faile's Nicolaki cocktail -- house-made Greek yogurt with vodka, honey, lemon and rosemary, shaken and served in coupe glass -- reads like an unfortunate twist on a smoothie. But the drink that tops the list at the re-envisioned Iron Gate is tart, surprisingly refreshing and quickly becoming the signature of the restaurant's striking bar, Faile's new stomping grounds.
On a cocktail list that's full of nods to the kitchen's Greek-inspired fare, the Nicolaki also feels like the most obvious way to get into the Iron Gate spirit. "Curiosity is making people try it," says Faile, who was known for myriad variations on the bitter Negroni cocktail in his previous gig at Fiola. Plus, Faile says, it's a vodka cocktail, which has a way of attracting even the most cocktail-averse.
If Iron Gate's vintage good looks and candle-lit bar weren't romantic enough, know this: The drink, $12, is its own tribute to love. Faile named it for his wife, Nicole.
Iron Gate, 1734 N St. NW. 202-524-5202.