Food & Drink

We Played Boozy Word Association With 15 DC Bartenders

D.C. bartender fixing garnish on orange cocktail
Laura Hayes/Thrillist

We wanted some of our favorite bartenders -- who are as full of snark as they are charm -- to tell us how they really feel. So we gave each of them a spirits-related word and asked them to spout off the first thing that came to mind. Spoiler: if you order a buttery nipple, they will make fun of you. But not until you’re out the door. 
 

Fireball

"Greek life"
-Phil Clark, BRABO Head Bartender   

"Rookie"
-Trevor Frye, Dram & Grain Co-founder & Jack Rose Beverage Director 

"Still?"
-Rico Wisner, Tico Bartender 

"Make it stop"
-Christine Kim, The Riggsby and Tico Lead Bartender

"How about Overholt?"
-Theo Rutherford, Mindful Restaurants Beverage Director 
 

Tinder

"Better than TV"
-Phil Clark, Brabo Head Bartender   

"I'm on Bumble. *waving hand emoji*"
-Megan Barnes, Espita Mezcaleria Beverage Director 

"Yaaaas, queen"
-Allison Lane, Compass Rose Bartender

"Awkward silence"
-Parker Girard, Barrel Bar Manager 

"Hug or handshake?"
-Eddie Kim, The Partisan Bartender & Bar Otsukare Co-founder
 

Buttery nipple

"Penis-shaped party favors"
-Megan Barnes, Espita Mezcaleria Beverage Director

"WTF. Butter beer"
-Caroline Blundell, Ripple General Manager 

"Taylor Swift"
-Trevor Frye, Dram & Grain Co-founder & Jack Rose Beverage Director

"In bed only"
-Chris Hassaan Francke, The Green Zone Owner 

"Two, please!"
-Nick Farrell, Iron Gate Bartender

Speakeasy

"You are licensed"
-Chris Hassaan Francke, The Green Zone Owner

"Ambivalence"
-Nick Farrell, Iron Gate Bartender

"Better be hidden"
-Will Witherow, Copperwood Tavern Bar Manager

"Is it 2006?"
-Parker Girard, Barrel Bar Manager 

"Mustaches & vests"
-Caroline Blundell, Ripple General Manager 
 

Vodka

"Easy enough"
-Will Witherow, Copperwood Tavern Bar Manager

"Still has calories..."
-Theo Rutherford, Mindful Restaurants Beverage Director

"Blank canvas"
-Trevor Frye, Dram & Grain Co-founder & Jack Rose Beverage Director

"Flavorless, odorless, useless"
-Chris Hassaan Francke, The Green Zone Owner

"Rose Kennedy"
-Allison Lane, Compass Rose Bartender
 

Snapping (as in, your fingers to get the bartender’s attention, not Snapchat)

"Please don’t"
-Dave Delaplaine, Roofers Union Beer Director

"For a cappella"
-Nick Farrell, Iron Gate Bartender

"Last in queue"
-Will Witherow, Copperwood Tavern Bar Manager

"Not your dog"
-Rico Wisner, Tico Bartender 

Making a Murderer
-Carlie Steiner, Stir Bartending Co. Co-owner 
 

Mojito

"Liquid air-conditioning"
-Chris Hassaan Francke, The Green Zone Owner

"With pleasure"
-Phil Clark, Brabo Head Bartender   

"Gringo"
-Nick Farrell, Iron Gate Bartender

"Yes, please"
-Parker Girard, Barrel Bar Manager 

"Stress reliever"
-Christine Kim, The Riggsby and Tico Lead Bartender

Mixologist placing strawberry garnish on red cocktail
santypan/Shutterstock

Mixologist

"Doesn’t equal bartender"
-Chris Hassaan Francke, The Green Zone Owner

"I’d prefer cocktologist"
-Megan Barnes, Espita Mezcaleria Beverage Director

"Pretentious"
-Trevor Frye, Dram & Grain Co-founder & Jack Rose Beverage Director 

"Astrologist"
-Nick Farrell, Iron Gate Bartender

"Cooler than me"
-Theo Rutherford, Mindful Restaurants Beverage Director 

Rows of barrels sitting underground
Jesus Cervantes/Shutterstock

Barrel-aged

"Like playing the waiting game while handcuffed to a bed"
-Christine Kim, The Riggsby and Tico Lead Bartender  

"Played out"
-Phil Clark, Brabo Head Bartender 

"Is that legal?"
-Theo Rutherford, Mindful Restaurants Beverage Director 

"I’ve got wood"
-Eddie Kim, The Partisan Bartender & Bar Otsukare Co-founder

"Whiskey not cocktails"
-Carlie Steiner, Stir Bartending Co. Co-owner 

Mixologist finishing pink drink with lemon wedges
Milkos/Shutterstock

"Surprise me"

"I like a challenge"
-Dave Delaplaine, Roofers Union Beer Director

"I’ll show off"
-Will Witherow, Copperwood Tavern Bar Manager

"Malört shots"
-Parker Girard, Barrel Bar Manager 

"Bourbon it is"
-Theo Rutherford, Mindful Restaurants Beverage Director 

"Favorite game"
-Carlie Steiner, Stir Bartending Co. Co-owner 

Old-fashioned with cherry set on wood table
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Old Fashioned

"No muddled fruit!"
-Dave Delaplaine, Roofers Union Beer Director
 
"Tried + true"
-Megan Barnes, Espita Mezcaleria Beverage Director 

"Over the pants"
-Trevor Frye, Dram & Grain Co-founder & Jack Rose Beverage Director 

"Bourbon or rye?"
-Parker Girard, Barrel Bar Manager 

"Modern day cosmo"
-Christine Kim, The Riggsby and Tico Lead Bartender

cdrin/Shutterstock

Craft cocktails

"Fancy ice"
-Trevor Frye, Dram & Grain Co-founder & Jack Rose Beverage Director 

"Impress me"
-Dave Delaplaine, Roofers Union Beer Director

"Construction paper, safety scissors + Elmer's Glue"
-Megan Barnes, Espita Mezcaleria Beverage Director 

"Constantly improving"
-Will Witherow, Copperwood Tavern Bar Manager

"Redundant"
-Parker Girard, Barrel Bar Manager and Theo Rutherford, Mindful Restaurants Beverage Director 
 

Last Call

"In everyone’s best interest"
-Dave Delaplaine, Roofers Union Beer Director

"Ehhh, that’s flexible"
-Chris Hassaan Francke, The Green Zone Owner 

"Finish line"
-Nick Farrell, Iron Gate Bartender

"Just got here"
-Rico Wisner, Tico Bartender 

"Shots!"
-Caroline Blundell, Ripple General Manager 

Hand-crafted

"The ice too?"
-Chris Hassaan Francke, The Green Zone Owner

"No shit"
-Phil Clark, Brabo Head Bartender   

"It better be"
-Will Witherow, Copperwood Tavern Bar Manager

"Foot-crafted"
-Rico Wisner, Tico Bartender 

"Up-charge$$$"
-Christine Kim, The Riggsby and Tico Lead Bartender
 

Red Bull

"Cough syrup"
-Trevor Frye, Dram & Grain Co-founder & Jack Rose Beverage Director 

"Heart attack"
-Dave Delaplaine, Roofers Union Beer Director

"Lemme see ID"
-Chris Hassaan Francke, The Green Zone Owner

"Casino floor only"
-Phil Clark, Brabo Head Bartender   

"Diarrhea"
-Allison Lane, Compass Rose Bartender
 

Mezcal

"Mmm, Mexican smoke"
-Chris Hassaan Francke, The Green Zone Owner

"Nectar of the gods"
-Megan Barnes, Espita Mezcaleria Beverage Director 

"Heaven"
-Will Witherow, Copperwood Tavern Bar Manager

"Next big thing"
-Theo Rutherford, Mindful Restaurants Beverage Director 

"Forget the worm"
-Eddie Kim, The Partisan Bartender & Bar Otsukare Co-founder
 

New Year's Eve

"Rent. Paid. Holla."
-Allison Lane, Compass Rose Bartender

"Precedes Dryuary (Boo!)"
-Chris Hassaan Francke, The Green Zone Owner

"No. Celebrate always."
-Nick Farrell, Iron Gate Bartender

"Bubbles are delicious"
-Theo Rutherford, Mindful Restaurants Beverage Director 

"Amateur hour"
-Will Witherow, Copperwood Tavern Bar Manager, Rico Wisner, Tico Bartender, and Christine Kim, The Riggsby and Tico Lead Bartender

An assortment of cocktails on a Platter
Laurin Rinder/Shutterstock

Beertails

"Under-appreciated"
-Trevor Frye, Dram & Grain Co-founder & Jack Rose Beverage Director  

"New Saturday morning cartoon?"
-Megan Barnes, Espita Mezcaleria Beverage Director 

"Campari/IPA, yum"
-Nick Farrell, Iron Gate Bartender

"Should not happen"
-Carlie Steiner, Stir Bartending Co. Co-owner 

"Yes, please"
-Dave Delaplaine, Roofers Union Beer Director

Sign up here for our daily DC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Laura Hayes is a DC-based food, drink & travel writer who also contributes to Washington City Paper, Food Network, Arlington Magazine, and others. She’s on a quest to a place that serves donut holes but hates that DD still calls them Munchkins. Follow her on Twitter @BTMenu.