Cocktail Chemistry: Gina Chersevani On How To Mix A Lover's Libation (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

Cocktail Chemistry: Gina Chersevani On How To Mix A Lover's Libation

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
Welcome to "Metro Connection." I’m Rebecca Sheir and here's a question for you, what comes to mind when you heard the word chemistry? Do you head back to the high school science lab and experiments gone awry?

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:22
Do you think about ionic versus covalent bonds?

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:27
The periodic table and its myriad charms?

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:31
Or instead, does your mind take you here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1

00:00:34
My darling, you are my Valentine, I adore you, I worship the ground you walk upon.

SHEIR

00:00:41
Well, no matter where your mind goes, we've got you covered this week with a show all about the complex, often mysterious realm of chemistry.

SHEIR

00:00:50
We'll meet a scientist using chemistry to improve on life-saving drugs.

DR. JOSEPH FORTUNAK

00:00:54
Big pharma doesn't actually have the mission of making certain that medicines are available for everybody in the world.

SHEIR

00:01:01
And we'll learn more about the science of blind dating.

MR. BRIAN FITZGERALD

00:01:05
Chemistry, you know, from an academic standpoint, you could have one explanation, but in terms of a romantic explanation it almost is the same thing. It's watching two agents interact.

SHEIR

00:01:21
First though, we're going to meet a Washingtonian who's concocted a whole menu of ways to harness the power of Cupid's arrow…

MS. GENA CHERSEVANI

00:01:27
Give it a little mix and I'm going to pull up the mixture from the bottom because it's a tall drink.

SHEIR

00:01:30
…in a glass.

CHERSEVANI

00:01:31
And I'll give you a taste.

SHEIR

00:01:32
And this particular glass…

SHEIR

00:01:33
All right.

CHERSEVANI

00:01:34
All right.

SHEIR

00:01:36
Let's give this a go.

SHEIR

00:01:36
…contains a mixture of liquor, flavorings and herbs that, according to our gal here, is destined to get you in the mood this Valentine's Day.

SHEIR

00:01:43
Hey, can I have one more sip before we move on?

CHERSEVANI

00:01:45
Yeah.

SHEIR

00:01:47
Gina Chersevani is a long time bartender here in Washington, or as she calls herself, mixtress.

CHERSEVANI

00:01:53
I like calling myself the mixtress because it's just a little bit naughty and a little bit nice.

SHEIR

00:01:57
We're at the Eddy Bar, inside Hank's Oyster Bar on Capitol Hill. This Valentine's Day weekend Hank's and Eddy are offering a tasting menu inspired by Aphrodite. Each dish, many of which involve those famous oysters, is paired with a duo of his-and-hers drinks.

CHERSEVANI

00:02:11
And, of course, I go with his-and-his and hers-and-hers, so don't worry. We have something planned for everybody.

SHEIR

00:02:16
Each cocktail couplet is named after well-known romantic pairs who've been known to squabble from time to time. So, you've got the Al Bundy and the Peg Bundy. The Richard Burton and the Elizabeth Taylor.

CHERSEVANI

00:02:27
And we have the Fred and Ethel. It is a ginger-rye drink for the man. And then it's going to be the cucumber and the lavender for the woman.

SHEIR

00:02:35
But why ginger and rye for the guy and cucumber and lavender for the gal? Well, Gina says it all boils down to chemistry, a subject the University of Maryland science and art major has been teaching in her new class, Cocktail Chemistry.

SHEIR

00:02:49
What exactly does that entail? What are you doing with the students?

CHERSEVANI

00:02:52
We go through, like, different herbs, flavors, their profiles, like fresh snap ginger. You know, what does it do to a woman? Well, it makes her think of cleanliness. Things smell like ginger, perfumes. For men, when they eat it, it, you know, it keeps the hoo-ha going. And that's what we kind of do in the class.

SHEIR

00:03:12
Is there something that you find that you bring up with the students that, like, surprises them more than anything? They're like, no way.

CHERSEVANI

00:03:16
Soap. Cleanliness and that being the best thing for women. Laundry. You know, all the things that are in laundry detergent. What's the number one thing they add in laundry detergent? Lavender. Fresh laundry is said to be the best aphrodisiac for a woman. Period.

SHEIR

00:03:29
I’m not going to lie. I love the smell of fresh laundry.

CHERSEVANI

00:03:31
But that’s, I mean, if there was a way I could just make a fresh linen cocktail and not have it be the grossest thing that you've ever had, maybe I would really hit it.

SHEIR

00:03:40
Well, okay, I love this like wall of jars. I can't really recognize most things. Oh, cinnamon sticks.

CHERSEVANI

00:03:45
Yeah, cinnamon sticks. Like right there, like that's a really good one for men, it's cassia, right. So cassia is found in different liquors and it's just like a root, but it's very appealing to, like, men's libido. It's the reason why in general, men stick to, you know, something with bitters in their cocktail or Manhattans or something. Just that flavor is what they like. And cucumber is another one. Cucumber is very appealing to the sensuality of women.

CHERSEVANI

00:04:13
They really, like, respond to it. That's why when you go into Body Works or, I don't know, down the aisle in CVS, what's the number one flavor? Cucumber melon. They're all things that remind you of that euphoria of, like, again, of like love, friendship, warmth. Another cool one is sassafras. Sassafras to women smells a lot like, you know, root beer or, you know, some sort of raisiny--it's got a raisiny undertone for us.

CHERSEVANI

00:04:42
But for men, it is a sweeter sensation. And it is definitely found in most colognes. We have this drink here at Hank's which we do with a little bit of sassafras and orange, like an orange soda. And I love to mix it with a little bit of rye. So rye's just a strong, delicious liquor, right? But it really, really lends itself to the orange and to the sassafras. And orange and orange sense and peel is just really enlightening, opening.

CHERSEVANI

00:05:13
And if you are missing aphrodisiacs, if you need a really quick fix of how do I get myself there? Gin is one of the best things that you could do. You could just go buy gin and it contains all the things that get people in the mood, the juniper, the cassia, the lemon peel, orange, it's pretty interesting. And if you're going to have cocktails that give you some sort of feeling, you can start there.

SHEIR

00:05:35
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me and to educate me.

CHERSEVANI

00:05:39
Yes, of course. Have a cocktail. Hang out.

SHEIR

00:05:42
Twist my arm.

CHERSEVANI

00:05:42
Done.

SHEIR

00:05:42
Gena Chersevani is the mixtress at the Eddy Bar inside Hank's Oyster Bar on Capitol Hill. Hank's is serving it's Valentine's Day tasting menu all weekend long. To learn more about Gena's cocktail chemistry class and to see photos of Gena mixing one of her love potions, visit our website, metroconnection.org.
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