MS. REBECCA SHEIR
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
Do you think about ionic versus covalent bonds?
MS. REBECCA SHEIR
The periodic table and its myriad charms?
MS. REBECCA SHEIR
Or instead, does your mind take you here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1
My darling, you are my Valentine, I adore you, I worship the ground you walk upon.
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.
We'll meet a scientist using chemistry to improve on life-saving drugs.
DR. JOSEPH FORTUNAK
Big pharma doesn't actually have the mission of making certain that medicines are available for everybody in the world.
And we'll learn more about the science of blind dating.
MR. BRIAN FITZGERALD
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.
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
Give it a little mix and I'm going to pull up the mixture from the bottom because it's a tall drink.
…in a glass.
And I'll give you a taste.
And this particular glass…
Let's give this a go.
…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.
Hey, can I have one more sip before we move on?
Gina Chersevani is a long time bartender here in Washington, or as she calls herself, mixtress.
I like calling myself the mixtress because it's just a little bit naughty and a little bit nice.
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.
And, of course, I go with his-and-his and hers-and-hers, so don't worry. We have something planned for everybody.
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.
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.
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.
What exactly does that entail? What are you doing with the students?
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.
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.
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.
I’m not going to lie. I love the smell of fresh laundry.
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.
Well, okay, I love this like wall of jars. I can't really recognize most things. Oh, cinnamon sticks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me and to educate me.
Yes, of course. Have a cocktail. Hang out.
Twist my arm.
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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