Whiskey Bliss at the Rye Bar

By Punch Pulse Correspondent Niki Clark

I may not have founded a fledgling nation or contributed to the Declaration of Independence, but as I learned at last night’s Rye Bar preview tasting, I do have something in common with founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson: I appreciate a good whiskey.

It is in that spirit that Rye Bar, and its home in the yet-to-be-opened Capella Hotel is built. While still technically a construction zone—opening day is March 22nd—the people behind the Rye Bar understand luxury. Tucked up alongside the C&O Canal in Georgetown, the bar will seat about 30 people in an intimate setting and serve libations such as the Older Fashioned (made with aged sherry) and apple martinis. No, not that kind. Food & Beverage Director Will Rentschler makes each beverage in a labor of love, mashing a full granny smith apple for each drink. No Sour Pucker for miles.

Whiskey Tasting at the Rye Bar

Whiskey Tasting at the Rye Bar – Will Rentschler

And each drink has similar passion behind it. The Manhattan is actually barrel aged after being concocted and the margarita is made with white rye. The idea is quality over quantity, Will says, over the buzz saw working furiously in the background.  Even with the constant hum from an approaching opening deadline, the bar and drinks somehow create a calming oasis.

Whiskey Tasting at the Rye Bar


The chefs are just as devoted as the mixologists. Chef Jacob Esko brings out several samples during the tasting, including a braised oxtail and mushroom stuffed potato which I am still thinking about 24 hours later. While food will be available at the bar, the Grill Room will provide a full menu and will continue the concept by including rye in many items. In addition, guests can choose from champagne, beef tartar and dessert trolleys (or try one from each!) and enjoy meals alfresco on the canal-side patio.

Whiskey Tasting at the Rye Bar

one of my favorite dishes

For more information or to make a reservation, visit cappellahotels.com. And mark March 22nd on your calendars; it will definitely be an event to remember.

About Niki McMillan:
Punch Pulse Correspondent Niki McMillan is a part time photographer; full time Red Crosser and 24/7 big sister to fellow puncher Lindsey. She loves travel, puppy kisses (especially from her own, ichabob) and invites to bourbon-orientated events.
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