25 days of cocktails at bibiana
When winter rolls around, there are many things to get excited about, which is why it’s dubbed the most wonderful time of the year. The staff at Bibiana in Washington, D.C., is making things just a little more joyous this December with its 25 days of cocktails promotion.
Crafted by general manager/beverage director Francesco Amodeo and bartender Milton Hernandez, the promotion started Dec. 1 and continues until Dec. 25; a new cocktail is introduced each day.
Entering its second year, Amodeo said that this time around his staff is more prepared and knows what to expect.
"Last year was really quick thinking … we only had two weeks. This time I took the time to develop something that would increase sales even more and build clientele — every guest is important," Amodeo explains.
This means the focus is on the drinks, with festive cocktails such as the popular Alessandra, made with H1 Spiced Pear Vodka, pear liqueur and pear juice; the Maria, made with Ceci Lambrusco wine, Cocchi Chinato Vermouth, Sangue Morlacco Cherry Brandy and cranberry juice; and the Samantha, made with VSOP Cognac, housemade biscotti liquor, lemon juice and a dash of orange bitters. Each drink is priced at $12.
The cocktail names are chosen by flavor profiles that reflect a real person. They're "names that actually mean something," Amodeo explains.
The real difficulty comes with creating 25 cocktails.
“You have to be creative," Amodeo says. "You have to come up with ideas that make sense in a cocktail."
Because developing 25 different drinks can seem daunting, Amodeo and Hernandez started planning the menu two to four weeks out, although Amodeo does note that popular cocktails from the previous year made it on the list again this year.
The goal is to use Italian ingredients, including housemade liqueurs from Bibiana, Amodeo says. He also relies on his imagination just as much as his senses, using the smell of flowers to inspire flavor pairings. "All the connections with smell give me the creativity to reproduce it in a cocktail," he says.
These imaginative drinks are drawing in repeat clientele, who are coming to Bibiana every day to try the newest creation or asking to try a featured cocktail from a previous day. Because of these return customers, Amodeo says liquor sales have increased since the promotion started.
Amodeo says giving his guests "a different treat every time" they come in is the equivalent of the anticipation a child feels waiting to open presents on Christmas day, which is part of the reason he deems the promotion so successful.
"Doing this and creating cocktails and building new clientele builds up memories," Amodeo explains. "People remember those cocktails … and keep asking for those cocktails (whenever they come in)."