Name: Chantal Tseng
Title & Establishment: Bartender/Head Mixologist, Tabard Inn, Washington, DC
“The bar and restaurant opened in the ’60s, but the hotel’s been running since early 1900s. It’s the longest continuously operated hotel in the city so lots of history. It’s established but whimsical and is many different things to different people. I love story telling, so this place is inspiring.”
• Been at Tabard Inn for 7 years
• Prior to that, Arbor Wine Bar
• Began bartending while waiting tables at the XandO, a Capitol Hill coffeehouse when she filled in for a no-show bartender. “It was a natural course from there! I learned on the job and really wanted to take it as far as I could in knowledge and products and technique.” And she did just that:
o Certified Sommelier
o Bar Ready graduate of the B.A.R. program
o D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild founding member
What’s in the Shaker?
“I’m very much into fortified wines – vermouths, sherries and so on, and also amaros. They’re complicated, complex ingredients with a lot of history, things you want to drink and smell while enjoying a cocktail because they’re lighter. On menu is a signature drink I created, the Tabard Cocktail, with Amontidallo sherry. It never gets old for me.”
What You are Sipping?
“Any interesting vermouth, sherry, amaro or mixtures of them with bitters. But I’m also a big fan of variations on the Whiskey Sour. I make one with a honey pomegranate syrup.”
What You Are Humming or Dancing to While Mixing?
“A lot of Johnny Cash, Neil Young and also indie pop music -- I do like the beat when I’m running around working the bar when it’s busy, it gives me a rhythm. I like Singe, and a newer artist called Matthew Costa. He’s folksy but newer and guitar oriented.”
Quirks & Quotable
“Any lack of etiquette makes me crazy. There are manners that parents should have taught and people should use, no matter what side of bar you’re on.”