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Tips From Behind the Bar

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Greg Jasgur of Georgetown's Birreria Paradiso says he's pretty good at remembering faces and warns people to be patient when the bar gets crowded. He's only one man, after all.
Greg Jasgur of Georgetown's Birreria Paradiso says he's pretty good at remembering faces and warns people to be patient when the bar gets crowded. He's only one man, after all. (By Linda Davidson -- The Washington Post)
Rasika bartender Gina Chersevani serves one of her imaginative cocktails to Kim Minor of Bowie. Chersevani is known for her creative streak when it comes to mixing drinks. "Once, I made a drink to taste like my favorite lip gloss," she says.
Rasika bartender Gina Chersevani serves one of her imaginative cocktails to Kim Minor of Bowie. Chersevani is known for her creative streak when it comes to mixing drinks. "Once, I made a drink to taste like my favorite lip gloss," she says. (By Jahi Chikwendiu -- The Washington Post)
A member of Bartender Magazine's Hall of Fame, Jimmy Cirrito once set a world bartending record. For the past decade, he has run Jimmy's Old Town Tavern in Herndon.
A member of Bartender Magazine's Hall of Fame, Jimmy Cirrito once set a world bartending record. For the past decade, he has run Jimmy's Old Town Tavern in Herndon. (By Richard A. Lipski -- The Washington Post)
Jin Chong pulls double barkeeping duties at Love and Russia House. His go-to drink recommendation? Zubrowka, a Polish vodka, and apple juice.
Jin Chong pulls double barkeeping duties at Love and Russia House. His go-to drink recommendation? Zubrowka, a Polish vodka, and apple juice. (By Jahi Chikwendiu -- The Washington Post)
Lili Montoya doesn't take any guff from patrons at the Black Cat. "I ignore anyone who's waving or yelling," she says.
Lili Montoya doesn't take any guff from patrons at the Black Cat. "I ignore anyone who's waving or yelling," she says. (By Ricky Carioti -- The Washington Post)
Tradewinds' Nicole Jones has a claim to fame that few other barkeeps have: A song immortalizes her bartending prowess. Jones has built a following at the Temple Hills bar.
Tradewinds' Nicole Jones has a claim to fame that few other barkeeps have: A song immortalizes her bartending prowess. Jones has built a following at the Temple Hills bar. (By Aaron Clamage For The Washington Post)
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By Fritz Hahn
Friday, December 28, 2007; Page WE25

New Year's Eve is a night for going out. If you go to a bar and you're lucky, you'll get a bartender like one of these veteran drink dispensers. Fritz Hahn talked to six of the best in the area and asked them to share their knowledge: Does waving money in the air get you served faster? What makes for a good New Year's Eve? So belly up to our story and enjoy.

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Gina Chersevani

Rasika (633 D St. NW; 202-637-1222)

Tuesday-Saturday

If you want the most creative cocktails in the District, visit Gina Chersevani at the mod little lounge Rasika. She could be experimenting with lavender-infused gin or chocolate-infused tequila, creating her own flavored bitters for a new martini, mixing Indian spices into a mojito or cooking persimmon and cinnamon to serve as the base for a new warming winter cocktail.

Chersevani, who says "a lady never gives her age," got her start as "the girl with the beer tubs" in College Park, where she worked at Terrapin Station bar, but became interested in cocktails while working at Penang and 15 Ria. She really came into her own as a bartender at Poste, raiding the restaurant's outdoor herb garden for fresh ingredients for martinis and infusions.

She can also do simple: The Geezy Teezy is a glass of gin with ice cubes made of tonic water. As they melt, the flavor of the drink changes.

How do you come up with ideas for new drinks?

"They come from everywhere. Once, I made a drink to taste like my favorite lip gloss. Here's a story: My mom grew up on Bergen Avenue in Brooklyn. She loves egg creams. She used to get them at this place called Norma's Chocolate Store, and she still talks about the place. So I wanted to make try to make something similar for my mom. She's like 70. So I tried everything. Then I infused tequila with chocolate and added Baileys and topped it with Frangelico whipped cream. Mom liked it, but she's like, 'It's still not as good as Norma's.' "

What's your favorite drink when you're off the clock?

"A shot of Jameson's."

How does someone become a regular?

"There's a difference between being a regular and being a 'liked' regular. . . . Sit at the bar, talk to me, talk to other people, try different drinks, whatever."


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