Mockingbird Hill: Exploring Sherry (DC)
Whenever I travel to a city, I usually try and see what restaurants, bars, etc. are there. Serious Eats.com is a great place to go for several of the major cities. They have writers in different towns that really help to point out the local gems. On my recent trip to Washington DC, I found an article on a sherry and ham bar called Mockingbird Hill (thanks Brian Oh). Up until this point I had never really liked sherry. It was always this dark brown liquid, in a dusty old bottle at the bar, that had an after taste of prunes and not much depth of flavor beyond that. Regardless of this, Brian Oh's article had me looking forward to this new experience and once I stepped into Mockingbird Hill I suddenly jumped into excited.
The bar required a good cab ride from Georgetown into a residential area - that always seems like a good sign to me. Like i'm discovering a locals spot rather than a tourists spot. The space is so chill and intimate I felt like I had been invited to a small party where people sat around talking about their day and drinking sherry. There were three women at the bar that looked like they had just met up after work to chat and relax. The owner was very sweet and had a quiet trendiness about her that was debuted behind an adorably quaint smile. She always seemed to be holding in just absolute joy at the opportunity to share a drink she truly loved with others- and it came out in her smile every time she poured a glass.
As I sat down I ordered 2 flights of sherry and realized I knew NOTHING about it. One flight was all lighter colors that were themed around the sea -looking like white wines. They were tasty and light and paired wonderfully with the small plate of ham that I ordered. The second flight had 3 darker sherrys on the sweeter side. None were so sweet that I would consider them a dessert and all had that depth of flavor that I thought sherry lacked. None tasted like prunes and all of them paired wonderfully with the small plate of rasberries she gave me. It was adorable how she almost waited in anticipation to see my face as I realized that the rasberries really did compliment the sherry flight.
Through the whole tasting, Chantal (I think that was her name) would show me each bottle, explain where it was made, how the experience and geography of each contributed to the flavor and how each was slightly different than the rest. I have been to several tastings where the host was almost snobby in their presentation of information but this was totally different. It was like she had just come back with this bottle and wanted to share where she was. We were just hanging out and talking sherry.
All-in-all it was great! For sherry lovers, GO! For sherry haters, GO -you'll find something new and like it. For people on the fence, GO! It was a great experience and I stepped away with new information and a new appreciate for sherry. Just like my wine, i'm a bigger fan of the darker ones but see where a lighter sherry on a warm summer day would hit the spot. Thanks Mockingbird Hill!