Macon Bistro & Larder’s new bar manager, Evan Cablayan, sources some of the persimmons for his cocktails from a very unlikely place: a resident who lives near the restaurant in Chevy Chase with a persimmon tree on her property. “She brings me boxes of them, and I pay her in drinks,” Cablayan says.
The arrangement illustrates Cablayan’s commitment to keeping things as local and fresh as possible for his “farm-to-glass” cocktail menu at this newish French-meets-Southern bistro.
The former Howard University student spent time behind the bar at Eighteenth Street Lounge in D.C. before heading west to bartend at Tom Colicchio’s Craft in Beverly Hills.
Since joining the Macon team in November, Cablayan has completely revamped the cocktail program. The rising star of his new menu has been the Duck and Fig Julep ($12), made with bourbon infused in-house with duck fat, fig and cinnamon and mixed with mint and maple syrup, garnished with a piece of duck bacon.
“I put leftover duck fat from the kitchen in the bourbon, let it sit for five days with figs and cinnamon, and strain it about five times,” resulting in a smooth, smoky and sweet finish, Cablayan says.
Another standout is the Autumn Rickey made using gin, quince marmalade, nutmeg, maple syrup and lime ($12). (Cablayan is sweet on maple syrup because it’s an all-natural sweetener.) “I wanted to place an emphasis on fall ingredients, with more of a savory tone,” Cablayan says of his take on the D.C.-born cocktail.
And as for the recent rise of complex recipes and obscure ingredients? “I don’t believe in making Disneyland in a cup,” Cablayan says as he hand-chips a block of ice. “Drinks should be simple and straightforward.”
5520 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-248-7807, maconbistro.com.
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