ETHOS: Cocktail Flight at Michelin-starred Bresca in Washington DC

One of the delightful surprises of a recent visit to Bresca, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Washington, DC, was Ethos, a cocktail flight guided by lead bartender and mixologist extraordinaire, Sara Chaudhuri, who brings her creative background and life experience to her craft.

cocktails at Bresca
Photo by Rey Lopez

The daughter of successful immigrants from Bangladesh – her father an aeronautical engineer and her mother at the Smithsonian – Chaudhuri grew up in the Washington area, studied Russian and was headed for a career in science when her creative impulses emerged in high school and she was accepted at the prestigious School of Visual Arts in New York for graphic design.

Work in graphic design soon led her into the high-end restaurant business where, after a stint at several locations, she became lead bartender at Bresca, one of two Michelin-starred restaurants created by Chef Ryan Ratino.  Inspired by her art background, Chaudhuri creates narrative cocktail experiences that are geared toward both the customer’s emotions and dining tastes.

Photo by Nancy Kay Turner

Twice a week, Chaudhuri curates Ethos, five cocktails that “evoke a state of mind, the character of a place, or a moment in time.”  These are essentially flights of imagination, storytelling through the mixture of flavors and sensations conjured through drink.

bartender at Bresca
Photo by Nancy Kay Turner

On the evening of our visit, Chaudhuri began with a story.  “Imagine you are in the backyard of your Brooklyn apartment….”  This immediately provoked fond memories of summer afternoons in Brooklyn, having a barbecue with friends, escaping the hectic life of the city in a backyard hideaway.  Appropriately, the first cocktail was “Sunlight” – the feeling of sun touching your skin – a delicate concoction of iichiko shochu, st. germain, lemon, honey and champagne.  Clearly, this was a bespoke cocktail, not what you order up at your neighborhood bar.

Photo by Nancy Kay Turner


The story continued through a summer day, from a festive party to a nap on clean sheets to the infectiousness of warm fellowship and the relaxing feeling of good music.  Ingredients ranged from mijenta blanco tequilla and green chatreuse to remy 1738 and michter’s rye, with coffey malt, earl grey tea, chinola passion fruit and avocado – all part and parcel of a marvelous parade of tastes.  ETHOS is currently offered on Thursdays and Sundays.

1906 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009; (202) 518-7926.

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