First Call: New York with a Twist at Poppy

No matter how much you love her, there's just no way your brother's fiancée's bridal shower could be a stress-free afternoon tea. There's the maid of honor stressing over the food, the tittering over lingerie (and realizing your brother will see her in it, ew), and the weird little games you just can't help getting competitive with (yes, I won.)

So even though it was a lovely day in Tacoma for my mom and I with the future family, she was also all in for cocktails on Capitol Hill that night, which brings us to:

The Bar: Poppy 622 E. Broadway

Keeper of the Bar: Veronika Groth

The Booze: Groth's co-worker overhears the First Call explanation and chimes in with: "well you need to start with a shot glass, fill it with tequila, and you'll be good." But Groth insists that's not how she's whetting her whistle these days. Her current drink of choice, she explains, is a twisted version of a Manhattan starring the sweet vermouth Dolin Rouge, "which I'm hooked on."

So how does this little cocktail pair with post-shower exhaustion? Groth says contrary to her co-workers assertion, bourbons are her liquor of choice. "They have way more complexity," she says. "I like more depth."

She ignores all the rules in making her Manhattan--she uses Bernheim Wheat Whiskey instead of a traditional rye, cherry bitters, and adds an orange twist. The result is a drink that's a little less sweet than many of the Manhattan's I've tried, but very smooth. It's a fantastic compliment to the many strange flavors in Poppy's Indian-inspired cuisine, including a delectable duck confit and tandoori chicken.

But Groth can make a little magic with the sweeter drinks too. My mom is newer to the world of cocktails having joined a book club a couple years ago (apparently "Eat, Pray, Love" and lemon drops go hand in hand). Her tastes run a little in the vein of what you might find at a sorority mixer, but with higher quality ingredients and less tragic results. When Groth asked mom what she likes she replied: "I kind of like mojitos."

"Well I'd love to make you a rum curry," Groth insisted. It's one of Poppy's signature cocktails and as mom observed, the mixer "kind of looks like stomach bile." But Groth was in the right, it's a refreshing drink with curry leaves that leans toward the summery delight of a mojito without demanding as much of your taste buds' attention.

"Ohhh, I like it," my satisfied mom said. And just like that the shower faded to a pleasant memory as the sun set over Capitol Hill.

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