Weekend Wine Getaway? Try Bluemont Vineyard near the Blue Ridge Mountains

Bluemont Vineyard

If you have an itch for a weekend wine getaway, now is the perfect time to hit the local wine trail. With Loudon County berries and peaches at peak, many wineries are showcasing some delicious dessert blends that will keep the taste of summer going well into fall.

Blue Ridge Blends

Grapes at Bluemont Vineyard

Bluemont Vineyard sign

We opted for the short drive to Loundon County to explore Bluemont Vineyard on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The view from the deck alone is worth the drive, but the custom blends with local fruits are just as exciting.

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A Cure For Ennui: Urbana’s Bellini Bar Is Still Charming, Four Years Later

A passion fruit-cherry combo bellini at Urbana in Dupont Circle. (Heather Brady/Glassified DC)

D.C. is a city for people who brunch. But what’s a Washingtonian to do after tiring of the usual Bloody Marys and mimosas?

In the midst of your ennui, we’re here to remind you of another tried-and-true favorite: the bellini.

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Scot’s Honor: Scottish Whisky At The Jack Rose Saloon

Ruth Lynn, who bartends in Scotland when she’s not studying for med school, examines the vast array of Scottish whiskys at Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Adams Morgan. (Heather Brady/Glassified DC)

Ever wondered about Scottish whisky? The fact that you have it neat, not on the rocks? The variety of colors it comes in? The lack of an ‘e’ in its name?

Ruth Lynn, Glassified DC’s favorite friend from Scotland, shared some of her expertise as a bartender there and demystified the liquor for us. She even impressed the bartender at Jack Rose Dining Saloon, where over 90 percent of the 1,400 whiskey bottles they have is Scottish, with her knowledge. (She impressed us, too.)

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The Story Behind the Rickey, D.C’s “Native Cocktail”

Shoomaker’s, the home of the Rickey, in 1917. Image via shorpy.com.

Find a highball glass. Take a lime, cut it in half. Squeeze a half into the glass, then drop in the shell. Add a dose of dry gin or rye whiskey, then top with soda water and stir.

You’ve just made a “Rickey”—circa-1880-style—the drink that last year became by ordinance of the city government D.C.’s native cocktail.

“We’re one of two cities that has named an official cocktail,” says Garrett Peck, a local historian who was instrumental in the process. “New Orleans is the other. Do you know what drink is theirs?”

The Hurricane, obviously.

“No, it was actually the Sazerac,” says Peck, “since the Hurricane was actually created in Wisconsin.”

It was behind the bar of a saloon called Shoomaker’s  on what is now Pennsylvania Avenue that the Rickey was created some 130 years ago. Called “Rum Row,” the stretch of the city that was home to Shoomaker’s is believed to be the highest concentration of bars that this country has ever seen.

“It was called ‘the walk of magnificent distances,’ because you could walk all the way home going from drink to drink to drink,” says Derek Brown, co-owner of a D.C. duo of craft cocktail bars, the Passenger and Columbia Room. “Shoomaker’s, though, was the star.”

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Octagon: A Wine Story Of Founding Fathers And French Grapes

The barrels that house Octagon are made of French oak. (Courtesy of Barboursville Vineyards)

D.C. knows all about Founding Fathers. From Washington to Madison, Monroe to Hamilton, the area is bursting at the seams with their influence.

But one Founding Father — that fiery redhead, Thomas Jefferson — went a step further in his contributions to the nation by encouraging the growth of French grapes for spectacular wines produced locally.

Barboursville Vineyards, a large-production facility near Charlottesville, Va., has embraced the idea of French grapes in a big way. On land that was once tended by Jefferson, the vineyard has established a wine that may just be worthy of the man himself — Octagon.

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A Bottle Of Pear Wine, Complete With The Pear

The fruit is still in the bottle — a great wine and a conversation piece. (Courtesy of Fabbioli Cellars)

What’s better than a wine made from pears?

A wine made from pears with a full piece of fruit in the bottle.

Just north of Leesburg, Va., Fabbioli Cellars has mastered the process of making pear-in-a-bottle wine, with great results.

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