Alfie’s is a stellar bar with best-of-class cocktails, a wonderful crowd, and a simple warm décor.
Overall Rating: 4.75
“Ooh she gave me Mekong Whiskey
Ooh she gave me Hong Kong Flu
Ooh she gave me Mekong Whiskey
Put me on a breeze to Katmandu”
-Sayonara, The Pogues
I’m not a huge fan of Thai food, so when I heard about the opening of Alfie’s, a hot Thai pop-up on Georgia Avenue near Howard, I wasn’t immediately drawn in. However, I noted that all the articles about the place made mention of the cocktails, subtle clues and hints that seduced me ofter time. So I headed uptown and stopped into the cozy and nice bar/restaurant which, come 7-8 pm on a Saturday, gets packed out. I had a fabulous time – the rich and five-alarm dishes provide a good smorgasbord of starch and carbohydrates, which always help an evening of drinking along. And the bar staff is killer, always taking time to explain a drink, pour a new one, or tell some jokes.
The seven drinks on Alfie’s list are without exception strong, measured, and use some awesomely fresh and unique ingredients – always a pleasure to drink at a bar where they take such pride in making all the cocktail components in-house! I thought three of them were especially phenomenal.
I started with “The People of Petworth Place” with vodka, St. Germain, Chacho Jalapeno Aguardiente, gum syrup, soda, and a lemon twist. This standout was just perfect, a wonderful synthesis of the cool vodka and St. Germain and spicy jalapeno, the heat of which reveals itself slowly and in measured fashion. The soda gives it a nice refreshing pop and I loved the sugary gum syrup, which enriches the whole body of the drink. Perfect for a nice spring or summer night, I loved this drink. Threw some Thai Tiger beer into the mix with the “Catch a Tigers Tail” with tiger, thai spiced syrup, lemon, and basil. Another nice refresher, the lemon and spice sex up the ultra-light Tiger beer, which tastes good on its on own as well. Makes me long for summer and some outdoor drinking.
Went with the “Dude, Where is my Bikeshare” next with Avua Prata Cachaca, Catoctin Creek Rye, cardamom, pineapple, lime, and bitter truth aromatic bitters. An impressive standout, I loved how this drink so deftly combined a lengthy list of diverse ingredients that roll out in a soft, consistent taste marked pleasurably by the light touch of cardamom and pop of pineapple. This is such a joy to drink, with the welcome tropical taste just going on for days. I then ordered the “You My Boy Boon!” with New Amsterdam Gin, benedictine, Rothman and Winter cherry, pineapple, luxardo, lime, and grenadine. The pineapple shies again in this standout, which is pretty easy and carries a subtle gin burn and a hint of sweet cherry. I also thought the benedictine was an interesting addition, giving this a little stronger, savory body than you’d expect. A fun tropical drink, I wanted this one poolside.
Hit the rye again with the “Farangs Sazerac” with Crown Royal North Harvest Rye, Arbellot VS cognac, Copper and Kings absinthe bitter, Truth creole bitters, and Copper and Kings absinthe. This is a bit different from your standard saz with a kinder, gentler burn off of the rye and an interesting, hard to place kick from the cognac. The absinthe also adds some real power to it with a subtly stringent hue. Good. Then I was introduced to Mekhong Thai whiskey with “The Teachings of Mekhong” with Aperol, coconut milk, lime cordial, Bar Keep Chinese bitters, orange bitters, and basil. So, Mekhong Whiskey is a kinda-whiskey, kinda-rum spirit with an interesting background and constituency. Suffice to say, you’ve probably never tasted anything like it – I drank it straight and was semi-mesmerized by the rum sweetness, rye burn, and peppery taste. Anyway, in this drink, it plays well especially with the rich lime cordial and coconut milk, which softens and cools. Nice one.
I ended the good times on a soft and sweet note with “Brunch is Not My Religion” with Wild Turkey, Aperol, lime, egg white, Peychauds, and an orange twist. The aperol and turkey click well here but I loved the citrus kiss lent by the orange twist. The lime and egg white keep the drink velvety and rich, making for a nice, desert-ish cocktail. The perfect way to end a fun night of cocktails at Alfie’s!