Restaurant Eve and The PX | Washington
Virginia native Todd Thrasher has a keen eye for translating
seasonal local ingredients into cocktails. Thrasher’s well-rounded
restaurant career began at age 15 when he began working in local
kitchens. Feeling an immediate sense of comfort and ease, Thrasher
knew he had found a home in the hospitality industry. After attending
Virginia Commonwealth University for two years, Thrasher answered
his true calling and took a bartending position at the Carlyle
Grand Café. Four years later Thrasher moved on to a
position as bartender at Gabriel in 1996, where he formed
a pivotal relationship with Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong.
Soon after, Thrasher left Gabriel to open
Café Atlantico Thrasher spent six and a half years
at Café Atlantico, managing and developing his skills
as a “liquid savant.” Under the direction of Jose Andres,
Thrasher experimented with an innovative cocktail menu and became
interested in a Carribean style of mixology including caipirinhas
and caipiroscas. Thrasher adopted Andres’ spirit of innovation
and alta cocina attitude to mixology incorporating foams, hot and
cold airs and techniques from the savory kitchen. These creative
touches and a well-honed palate prepared Thrasher for his next adventure
with the Armstrongs across the Potomac in Alexandria: Restaurant
At Restaurant Eve, Thrasher has created
a team of sommeliers that search the restaurant’s wine list
with each guest’s entire order, making sure each bottle is
chilled, corked and ready as each dish approaches the table. Along
with each pairing comes a brief commentary on the region and flavor,
right down to the bottle used and why the label looks a certain
way. All of these elements add to the intensity of this intimate
dining experience. According to Thrasher, “when a guest remarks
to me that they are unfamiliar with the wines on the list, I take
that as the biggest compliment to the restaurant.”
The dining experience at Restaurant Eve is
completed by Thrasher’s relentlessly innovative cocktail menu,
created with a unique blend of ingredients that changes with the
season. In his Tomato Water Bloody Mary, Thrasher creates a clear,
flavorful tomato water as a base for the cocktail and then combines
it lemongrass, peppers, and Grey Goose citron vodka. Another signature
is Jose’s “Yin and Tonic”, a play on the traditional
Gin and Tonic and mentor Jose Andres’ pronunciation of the
drink. Thrasher begins with house-made tonic then balances it out
with Citadelle gin and a lime twist. Inspired by the bounty of seasonal
peaches, Thrasher’s Millions of Peaches uses peaches poached
in a late harvest Riesling, as well as Champagne vinegar-pickled
peaches, sugar and peach vodka. Thrasher pairs the composed drink
with a side of peach air and foie gras spread over a peach brioche
WB: Do you have any formal
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
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.
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.
back to top