Your memory’s maybe a bit fuzzy on the exact sequence of events from last New Year’s Eve. But bet you can’t forget the next morning, when you had to pay the price — and it was way higher than the credit card charge for that round of Jell-O shots. To ensure that the first day of 2012 isn’t a repeat of that head-pounding punishment, try one of these hangover helpers.
The Chef’s Recipe
When Dennis Marron, the executive chef at Poste (555 8th St. NW; 202-783-6060), wakes up after one too many, he makes a beeline for the fruit bowl on his kitchen counter. “The sooner you get something in your stomach, the better off you are,” he says. “Melons are good because of the high water content.” For a purely liquid breakfast to help you rehydrate from the previous night’s debauchery, he prefers coconut water or carrot juice. However, if you’re looking for something a little heartier that won’t break any of your New Year’s resolutions, Marron recommends frying up a few egg whites.
Before Shab Row Bistro and Wine Bar’s mixologist Alex Strange ever crafted a single cocktail — or drank one for that matter — he spent a childhood working as an actor. He was only nine when he made his Broadway debut as Gavroche (“the kid who gets shot in the head at the end”) in Les Miserables. A couple years later, he scored the part of the little boy Edgar in Ragtime, which earned him and the rest of the cast a Tony nomination.
The Curtain Call at Opera Ultra Lounge combines sorghum, bourbon, Thatcher's apple spice ginger liqueur and muddled fresh cherries.
New England has a long-standing love affair with maple syrup, but below the Mason-Dixon Line, it’s all about sorghum syrup. Made by boiling down the juice from sorghum cane stalks, the golden liquid has a sweet, earthy flavor that’s been described as molasses without the bite. Chefs and mixologists are fans because sorghum can sweeten the savory, add depth to desserts or bring a twist to a cocktail. No matter how it’s used, sorghum puts a spotlight on Dixieland cuisine. “The South is shining right now,” says Sou’Wester chef de cuisine Eddie Moran. “It has really great food made with these amazing ingredients that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Before Moran was a Washingtonian, he did a culinary tour of duty through the Southern states. During a sojourn in Little Rock, Ark., he was introduced to sorghum when somebody poured it onto a bowl of hot grits. “It reminded me of growing up in California,” he says, “except we used maple syrup on cereal instead.” When Moran moved to D.C., he decided to play around with the amber liquid to see how he could put a spin on it. The result is a duck breast glazed with a gastrique of sorghum, cabernet vinegar, star anise, clove and peach pieces. The dish, above, is topped with a small salad of fresh local peaches, making it an ode to both the season and the South. Mandarin Oriental, 1330 Maryland Ave. SW; 202-787-6140. (Smithsonian)