Espita’s general manager, Josh Phillips, is one of the world’s few certified Master Mezcaliers, and he tapped Barnes to head the bar program, and help make a name for mezcal in DC. Since Espita opened, Barnes has introduced several new lines of mezcal to the DC market, and she’s visited Mexico on behalf of the Tequila Interchange Project, which advocates for sustainable practices in agave distillation and encourages the preservation of the heritage behind production. She’s an alumna of Columbia Room, McClellan’s Retreat, and Policy.
What do you see as this year’s biggest changes or developments in DC’s drinks scene?
Cocktail programs in restaurants -- in the past, it was all about the food, and pairing dishes with a good glass of wine. Now, restaurants are expected to have an exceptional drinks menu and a bar team that will earn them accolades.