Interview with Chef Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve and The PX - Washington, D.C.
Will Blunt: How did you develop an interest in mixology?
Todd Thrasher: By drinking a lot, seriously! I was a bartender all through college and when I graduated and got a regular job I wasn’t making much money, so I started bartending again.
WB: Who are your mentors?
TT: I worked with Jose Andres for seven years, and he was very encouraging. I got really into Caribbean cocktails like caipirinhas and mojitos working at Café Atlantico with Jose. Cathal Armstrong has helped me tremendously, showing me how different flavors work together. I get a lot of ingredients from the kitchen in my drinks, not just bar liquors mixed together. We would prefer our guests have a fun cocktail, instead of a glass of champagne, upon entering Restaurant Eve.
WB: Do you have any formal training?
TT: In 1997 I completed the first level with the Court of Sommeliers but I didn’t go any farther. It took the fun out of it for me!
WB: What are some current trends in mixology?
TT: People are marrying wine and liquor. For instance, we poach pears in Sauternes and currants in Gewürztraminer.
WB: What inspires you? What is your creative process?
TT: I had a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc the other day. It was very acidic and all I could taste was gooseberries. So I wanted to make a cocktail that mimicked that experience. I mixed gin, gooseberries and Sauvignon Blanc to add complexity to that tart flavor. I usually spend a couple of months developing, experimenting and tasting. When I’ve got the drink right where I want it, I ask everyone in the restaurant to taste my creation and improve upon it.
WB: What are your favorite products to use or make?
TT: I don’t like flavored vodkas so I make my own. I use fresh herbs, fruits and other produce that’s in season. I make my own sweet vermouth which took about two months to perfect.
WB: What is your favorite cocktail at the moment?
TT: Pisco Sours come out perfect every time if you stick to the recipe. I use one ounce each of egg whites, lime juice, 1 ½ ounces of Pisco, and a Tablespoon of sugar. I use Peruvian Pisco, which is where it comes from originally. Even though Chile claims they came up with it, I’m on Peru’s side! When I’m drinking though, I like a Captain Morgan and Coke. I love rum! It’s all I drink besides wine.
WB: What are your favorite cookbooks?
TT: I have a Cuban drink book, but I prefer The French Laundry. I use the food ideas and apply them to my drinks: mint oil, pickling techniques, all kinds of things.
WB: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
TT: For now, I want to make Eve better and better and strive for the elusive fourth star. I want to continue making better more innovative cocktails. There’s talk of something new but for now I am very happy.
Mixologist Todd ThrasherRestaurant Eve
110 South Pitt Street
Alexandria, VA 22314