WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

Filed Under:

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

Play associated audio
At the Eddy Bar, Gina Chersevani uses a number of herbs and flavorings to harness the power of Cupid in her cocktails.
Rebecca Sheir
At the Eddy Bar, Gina Chersevani uses a number of herbs and flavorings to harness the power of Cupid in her cocktails.

Gina Chersevani has been tending bar in Washington for years. But rather than calling herself a "bartender," she prefers another title.

"I like calling myself the 'mixtress' because it's just a little bit naughty, and a little bit nice," she says with a laugh.

Chersevani heads up 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.

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.

"We have the Fred and Ethel," Chersevani explains. "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?

Chersevani 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."

"We go through different herbs, flavors, their profiles," Chersevani explains. "Like fresh ginger. 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 keeps the hoo-ha going!"

Chersevani says the biggest surprise for her students is the appealing nature of soap.

"Cleanliness [is] the best thing for women. Laundry. 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.

"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!"

The Eddy Bar features a wall of herbs and other mix-ins for Chersevani's cocktails. One of her favorites is cassia.

"That's a really good one for men," she says. "Cassia is found in different liquors and it's just like a root, but it's very appealing to men's libido. It's the reason why in general, men stick to something with bitters in their cocktail, or Manhattan. That flavor is what they like."

And a flavor women especially like, she says, is cucumber.

"Cucumber is very appealing to the sensuality of women. They really respond to it. That's why when you go into Body Works or down the aisle in CVS, what's the number one flavor? Cucumber melon. They're all things that remind you of that euphoria of love, friendship, warmth."

Another Cupid-like item Chersevani enjoys mixing in cocktails is sassafras.

"To women [it] smells a lot like root beer; it's got a raisiny undertone for us," she says. "But for men, it is a sweeter sensation. And it is definitely found in most colognes."

But if all else fails in the liquor/love department, Chersevani says, there's always the old standby: gin.

"If you are missing aphrodisiacs, if you need a really quick fix, gin is one of the best things that you could do," she says. "It contains all the things that get people in the mood: the juniper, the cassia, the lemon peel, orange. It's pretty interesting. If you're going to have cocktails that give you some sort of feeling, you can start there."

[Music: "Love Potion #9" by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass from Classics Vol. 1]

Photos: Chemistry Cocktails


Actress Niecy Nash Is 'Getting On' Just Fine

Perhaps best known for her work on Reno 911, Nash talks to Fresh Air contributor Anna Sale about playing a nurse on HBO's Getting On, a series about an extended care facility for elderly women.

High-Sodium Warnings Hit New York City Menus

The city is the first in the nation to require chain restaurants a sodium warning on menu items containing 2,300 milligrams of sodium or more, the recommended daily limit. Most of us consume far more.

Paris Climate Talks Face A Familiar Hurdle — American Politics

The U.S. and China are the world's two largest polluters, but in both countries, the will to do something about climate change is lower than the rest of the world. In the U.S., there's a party split.
WAMU 88.5

Computer Guys And Gal

Another year is coming to a close and the Computer Guys And Gal are here to discuss this year's biggest technology news, including the growth of virtual reality and the "Internet of Things."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.