Puttin’ on the Ritz – America Eats Tavern (Visit #2)

A relaxing and bright bar in Tysons, America’s Eat Tavern is a good after-work spot to chat with friends and watch the sun set.

Ambiance: ***1/2

Decor: ****

Service: ****

Cocktails: ****

Overall Rating: 3.75

I always get nostalgic in Spring; as temperatures rise and flowers bloom, I think fondly of times and bars gone by. Anxious to drink down memory lane, I’ll be spending some time in the next few weeks re-visiting the bars I toured months and months ago. First up in the @hellococktails reunion tour is American Eats Tavern in Tysons Corner, tucked away in the little-known Ritz Carlton hotel. I was last here way back in August and commented very favorably on the bar/restaurant’s open, classy aesthetic  (opening line: “Like me, America Eats is classy and beautiful to look at”). This is definitely the type of bar where you can expect to be out-dressed by almost every other customer.

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In my first visit I had four drinks, most of which were alright particularly the “Landing Gear” which is still on the menu. For this reunion, I tried five new drinks out of which I found two standouts, including the excellent “Endicott Pear” with gin, lemon, lavender bitters, and poached pear. I’m a sucker for all of these ingredients, and together they make for a wonderfully refreshing, poppy, gin sipper. Surprisingly powerful, this mellows out into a nice, pear-heavy burn with citrus on the corner. A great drink to start the night. The next drink was my favorite at AET, the superb “Jose’s Gin and Tonic” with gin, makrut lime (a lime hailing from Asia), juniper, lemon, and lime. The ‘ol G&T is sort of boring to me so I wasn’t expecting much from this,  but it was killer, with an uber-herbal background and a powerful fruit tinge that sexed it up something fierce. The gin is well-measured, and this was a cool and bright celebration of that age old mix. Awesome.

Next up was the “Blackberry Smash” with rum, blackberries, lemon, elderflower liqueur, and mint. This was a pretty staid little fruit drink, with muddled blackberry and rum as the primary ingredients –  I didn’t really pick up on the elderflower or mint. Fine. Then the “Jose Sour” with rye, lemon, orange, simple syrup, and Jose Cuvee wine. This was different, not great but not bad with a heavy rye base. The sweet wine that rests on top didn’t add much to the taste, I thought, but it does make it pretty. Not bad.

I concluded with the “Papa Gallo” with dark rum, sweet vermouth, PX sherry, orange blossom water, and absinthe. This was a drink and half with some real resonant, rich power behind it. I actually found the vermouth and rum combo a tad overwhelming, although I did love the orange blossom water, which relaxes the bracing mix a little bit at the end. An experience, not for the faint of heart. ‘Til next time AET!

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