all photos by: Jeff Martin
Gina Chersevani has some serious clout in the DC bartending/mixology/craft cocktail groupie community. She’s also a blast to hang out with. After arriving to the DC area from New York (where she spent her childhood running around her Dad’s pizzeria and developing a hospitality bug she’s not been able to get rid of since) she got her DC feet wet at Penang, and then made her way through Poste, Rasika and Neighborhood Restaurant Group, finally landing at Chef Peter Smith’s PS7′s in Chinatown. There she’s been concocting some of the most delicious and innovative cocktails in town (Gnome’s water is STILL one of our favorite things to have in a tall glass during any season and her cuptails this season have been making a splash), helping found DC Craft Bartenders Guild winning a RAMMY for best beverage program in 2010, the Humane Society, DC Central Kitchen, Share Our Strength, March of Dimes, and Starlight Foundation and a few things in between. Needless to say, she’s a busy lady.
So, when she offered to track her drinking and cocktail making over the holidays for us (all the while prepping for PS7′s upcoming Christmas and NYE celebrations AND attempting to relax) – we could not say “no”, now could we?
So, prepare for the magic:
Sunday, December 18, 2011
- 8am Alarm goes off, which is not normally a problem, but I ended up working until 4 am the night before. I also managed to bike home so I didn’t fall asleep until 6:30ish. I am SO F***ING TIRED!
- 10am Back to PS 7’s to prep and create cocktail mixes for a birthday party, it was a take on a Giddy with Marigold Tea, Apple Shrub, Cognac, and Benedictine. Next up – prepping for the Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) seminar that is at PS 7’s later at 5 pm.
- 11:30am Finally done with the mixes and they are picked up from the bar. I’m back on my bike, riding from Chinatown to Capitol Hill for a lighting meeting for a new project. Hello!? Whatever happened to Sunday is the “Lord’s Day”?
- 12:45pm Grabbed a desperately needed coffee (Cappuccino regular with one Sweet & Low) at Pound on Penn Ave SE and got back on the bike. Drank my coffee first–can’t drink and ride. Rode home to change and then got right back on to head back to PS 7’s.
- 4:45pm People are starting to arrive for the holiday seminar which is Phil Greene, JP Caceres, Katie Nelson, Jon Harris, and Dan Searing—my perfect storm.
- 5:15pm Time to start cooking, that’s right! I made the food for 55 people. Im talking Flat Breads, Tuna Sliders, and Spinach Dough Puffs. I will NEVER COMPLAIN AGAIN about something being well done, I am pretty sure I over cooked the spinach pastry that Chef Andrew Markert made to heated. Sorry, Chef
- 6:30pm Just finished the class. I was the last to demo. Which is always my favorite—I love to be the closer. Benedictine Candy Cane Cuptails anyone??
- 8:45pm We are still cleaning up after the seminar, UMMMMM why am I washing pots? Oh…because I used them. I hate people who leave a mess for someone else.
- 10pm Finally done cleaning and time to have a cocktail! What do the cocktail elite drink anyway? Kentucky Snow Cones, of course! Shaved ice, champagne, and bourbon.
Monday, December 19, 2011
- 12:30am AFTER PARTY! After about five bottles of champagne and wine Jon Harris, Adam Sackett and myself head to the Hill. (Katie and Dan were responsible and homebound, while JP hit up a holiday party.) 18th Amendment, anyone? George is bartending, so we know this is going to be late. Pass me a Miller High Life and Jameson shot please!
- 3:30am Back to my house to show Jon and Adam my glass collection—and of course, another bottle of Swine Wine before we all throw in the towel.
- 7:15am Wake up in my favorite green chair, next the Christmas tree, to my roommate coming down the stairs. WOW. What the hell happened? There seems to be a time lapse. I am going to bed!
- 11am Finally up and I feel SH*TTY. I am too old for all night booze sessions. Not really, but it sounds good right about now. I debate on taking the day off considering that I have basically worked 26 days in a row since Thanksgiving, including every Sunday that I should have had off but I ended up with back to back events. Screw it—I am taking the day off.
- 1pm Took a nap on the couch, nursed my hangover and my general foul mood. Called the DJ for PS 7’s New Year’s Eve bash, and made progress to get the contract signed. Our New Year’s Eve party is going to be sick—“Gangster to Gangsta”!! Love it.
- 1:30pm Ordered Royal Thai to the house—its the best hangover cure. I savor the Tom Yum soup and brown rice. Still in my PJ’s the way, the fuzzy ones with pink reindeer. My fave!
- 6:30pm I’m finally up and head out to meet Kathleen Duffy (my best friend since I was 11 years old back in Long Island.) We are going to VA for a little holiday shopping.
- 7:00pm Did you know there is a Crate and Barrel outlet in Old Town?! Thanks, Kaye! I’ll be coming here more often than I’d like.
- 10pm After all the shopping, which included Target, PetSmart, Sports Authority, and Borders, I am still not done. That is what happens when you have five brothers and sisters, and nine nieces and nephews. I am my Dad’s “Honey” Secret Santa this year. I got him a new pair of sneakers. He is 75 years old and will be rockin’ the new Nike Fusions come December 25th!
- 10:30pm Stopped at We, the Pizza for a slice to-go—pretty good! And the eye candy behind the counter is nice to look at too! What? Too much??
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
- 1am Still awake…shouldn’t have had that Coke Zero so late. OUCH!
- 6:30am Wide-awake! I’m a little anxious but thank goodness for my 75-minute massage at BLISS. Yay! I got a gift certificate from my “brother” Jake Bakst (not really) and I’m now finally going. I am totally pumped. I even tweeted it. How many glasses of water are you suppose to drink?
- 7:28am SH*T! I forgot I left my bike at PS 7’s on Sunday (remember? I was too f*cked up to ride it home) and now I have to take the metro, which I hate. I would rather ride my bike in the rain and snow to VA then be stuck in a tube. Gross Commit to RIDE! It will change your life!
- 8:45am Arrived at Bliss…it’s in the basement of the W Hotel. I was the first appointment, which is always nice because you are the first to use all the amenities that day, such as the Eucalyptus Steam Shower (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED).
- 9:10am Changed, drank my delicious, soothing tea, met my masseuse, Joanna (she is a Godsend, by the way). Enjoyed my deep tissue massage with paraffin feet molds. Loved it!!
- 11:30am Finished up at Bliss, walked over to Old Ebbitt and ponied up to the bar and ordered a water and ice tea. Yes, I am one of those people who needs multiple drinks. I order a Turkey Reuben sans the Thousand Island because I hate it (don’t hate me), substitute with spicy mustard, and get the fries. Their fries are SO good (and naughty).
- 12:01 pm Ben Franklin reincarnated walks into Old Ebbitt, I tweet it and am shocked when Old Ebbitt tweets me back. Franklin is actually a regular of theirs—he’s the tailor of the President. I wish I had said “Hi!” This guy looked straight out of a movie—I wanted him say, “I discovered electricity!” or something. I’m making it my mission to meet this man.
- 12:30pm Opted to walk home from Old Ebbitt, especially since I ate the fries (all of them). Stopped into H&M for a look around, but what a disaster! There were only two cashiers and the place was a zoo. Too bad I really did like the pink sweater with the black tie, but I am not waiting in that line for anything. I will go back to see if I can get it at some point.
- 3:30pm Well you caught me DC, I am playing hookie from work. I took another day off, but I needed to get some other stuff done. I finished emails, and finalized a contract for a special project.
- 6:15pm Richard Branenburg, Director of Culinary Strategy of a new North East project, Edens, meets me for a stroll around a potential new project. I have to say, sometimes bigger is better.
- 6:23pm Standing in the arena where the Beatles first played in the United States. Pretty unreal, considering it’s a parking garage now. NAUGHTY DC, don’t you have any style?
- 7:30pm Walked most of H Street, NE, talking about the potential properties and opportunities—the conversation gets monotonous after a while. Walked into the Queen Vic on H Street. I love that place and their new Chef–best bone marrow in the city at the best price. Perfectly savory, with the right amount of salt, parsley, and lemon salad on the side. Yum! I finally order a cocktail, shocking I know, and order a Bluecoat Martini. The bartender said, “You actually want vermouth?” I said, “Yes”, but what I really wanted to say was “…what’s a martini without vermouth?” Sometimes it’s just better to be nice and smile then to be a dick.
- 8:45pm Got a ride to Chinatown and went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Needed to get the last part of my Honey Secret Santa’s (my Dad’s) Christmas present. Ended up getting him a scale to go with his sneakers. I am pretty excited to see how much my father is going to hate this gift.
- 11:55pm Why am I still sending emails?? I need some serious rest.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
- 9:30am Just checked the sales of our New Year’s Eve bash and they are SLOW. I AM PISSED! WTF! Who wouldn’t want to eat, dance, and drink as much as you want for $130? Did I mention DJ Atticus? So mad right now.
- 10:45am I am really behind in emails this morning, I haven’t even made a coffee yet. I have one of those Keurig coffee machines with those K-Cups. I make that in the mornings—my favorite are those Coffeehouse brand ones, with a little milk and always over ice.
- 12:15pm Getting ready to leave the house, when I realize that I might be better off doing work from home then going into PS 7’s. I feel like I might be setting the wrong example here but I haven’t had any time to myself for a long time and well you don’t exactly get mental health days in the restaurant business.
- 1:30pm Walked up to Union Station and got the call! Sherette is going to cover my management shift! Woohoo! Thanks Pete
- 5:50pm Give Rachel Sergi from Jack Rose a call to see what she is up to. We plan to meet up at Tortilla Coast on the Hill, as we both live in walking distance to the restaurant.
- 8:00pm And…I am late! I was just going to answer a few emails and then I got caught up. For someone that works in a bar, I have a lot of emails to actually read and answer. It’s ridiculous!!
- 8:15pm Finally make it to the Coast to find Brendan, my roommate, and Rachel chatting at the bar. Did I mention that Kathleen works there only on Wednesdays? Kathleen has a full time job at a law firm and bartends part-time because she loves it! How refreshing and awesome. We all share a bowl of Bob Armstrong dip (melted cheese, beef and spices) and chips—talk about holiday calories. Perhaps I will wash that down with an ice cold beer. YUP! Though Rachel made a good point that the margarita topped with sangria is pretty good. I just wish they used fresh juice—that’s why I drink beer there.
- 10pm Walked home while chatting with a buddy of mine from College Park—for me the holidays are all about taking the time to catch up.
- 11:10pm Hit up Hulu and watched the latest episode of Grimm. My roommate got me into it. What can I say, mythical creatures in a human world always grabs my attention.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
- 8am My alarm is going off which means it’s official! I have to go to work today all day and all night!
- 9:10am F*ck I am running late! I have to bring all my gifts to Kathleen for Christmas so that she can bring them home to New York for me. We live 10 minutes from each other in Long Island where we both grew up, funny huh?
- 9:35am Still not ready for work nor do I have my packages ready to go with Kaye! Why am I always so late??? Argh!
- 10:19am I just got to PS 7′s and I am 19 minutes late. Funny thing is that I give people the “you need to be on time speech”, yet I am always late. Not cool! Perhaps that is going to be my New Year’s Resolution.
- 12:12pm Typical lunch—quick start, cue the phone (ringing off the hook), not enough menus, need more ice tea, we are in an absolute RUSH!
- 2:33pm LUNCH IS OVER! Survived the madness
- 3:10pm Need to place the rest of my orders for Friday. We have service on Saturday and I don’t want to run out.
- 4:15pm Just checked ticket sales for our New Year’s Eve Party again, and not looking so good. Where are the people?!? We’re giving away the house here…geez! I never understand ticket sales—they either go or they don’t. Weird.
- 6:10pm Why did I buy tights at CVS? Womp, bad idea. They suck. Stick with what you know and buy good tights!!
- 10:35pm Dinner service is over and I feel like this day has been draggin’. I mean, I got a lot done, but it seems like it took forever for the day to get to this point. Ever had one of those? Yikes, man.
- 11:56pm I have to do something with my wine room! It’s a disaster of glasses, wine, booze, beer…and meat. WTF!!! I feel like a gourmet episode of Hoarders! Oh wait, that would just be another Mario Batali special. Shouldn’t have said that…oh well!
Friday, December 23, 2011
- 8:00am I hate that alarm clock so much sometimes. Ok, to be fair, I went to Fado last night for a beer and a shot…and maybe just one car bomb. So this morning isn’t so great, if you know what I mean.
- 9:34am Got ready for work and used my new Philosophy Snowman Body Wash. Yum, so soft!
- 10:40am Why are there fruit flies in December? Seriously! I have the cleanest bar, yet we still have fruit flies.
- 2:40pm Lunch service is boring. Also, got stood up by a writer—I guess people are forgetful around the holidays. So I ended up making an appointment to get my eyebrows done at Bang. If you go there ask for Michelle; she does the best job.
- 3:15pm Went across the street to the holiday market and really did some damage! Got my nieces some more gifts. Awesome earrings with little black and clear stones—super cute. A couple scarves for my sisters, Christina and Luanne. Hope they like them because they hate everything I like!
- 11:15pm Just finished the menus for PS 7’s Italian Seven Fishes Christmas Eve dinner. I had to cram a lot onto one sheet of paper! They look good, like something out of a 1983 Brooklyn Italian menu. Love it!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
- 12:45am Still at PS 7’s! Have to stop second guessing my choices for the Fishes menu. I am leaving to catch last call at Fado. Did I mention it’s around the corner from work??
- 1:45am Oops, still at Fado with my friends, having a few too many laughs and beers. Drinking at work is not as fun as drinking somewhere else, mostly because I don’t have to clean up.
- 3:30am Home! Checked my emails again and thankfully made the semi-conscience choice not to answer the email because I was intoxicated.
- 8:00am DAMN ALARM!!! I am going back to sleep, just for 15 more minutes. Apparently when I hit snooze it doesn’t matter because it just keeps ringing. Fine I am up!!!
- 9:00am Need to get some last minute things done before service today for the holidays. Seven Fishes is going to be amazing!
- 2:30pm In the restaurant and the reservations have grown. Little concerned on not having enough staff, but as always, we will be fine and will just rock it.
- 3:15pm Making a fresh batch of NogginHam cocktail mix! The bananas are really ripe so this going to be delicious.
- 5:30pm Service for the Seven Fishes Feast begins! PS 7’s looks so good—checkered table clothes and Italian music. It’s the best.
- 6:00pm Chef Peter Smith and his family return to the restaurant after the church’s Christmas Pageant. Really funny as Chef was Joseph and his little girl was Baby Jesus. Anyway they came in for their family dinner, which was hilarious. His kids, Simon and Lucy, made the night go very fast! They where everywhere and Pastry made the fatal mistake by giving them chocolate spoons to lick. They lost their minds, running around with soda guns and pretty much making a huge mess. But I did teach them how to make a Sazerac! Wrong, I know, but probably good for their futures in the restaurant industry.
- 9:30pm Father Bill came in with his family—he was giving mass at The Passenger for midnight mass.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
- 12:15am Still waiting for the kitchen staff to finish. Oh hey! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
- 1:30am Missed the midnight mass at The Passenger, still at PS 7’s and my 3am train to NY is not looking good. I hope you don’t think I packed, because I didn’t.
- 3:00am Christmas morning and finally home packing. I am tired
- 5:35am Just woke up on my couch! Merry Christmas to me—I missed both trains. Now I have to find another train on Christmas day which we all know is NOT fun.
- 1:35pm Got on the Acela homebound to NY, finally! I am late for dinner and that is a huge no-no for Italian families.
- 5:45pm Finally at my mother’s and the whole family is here! I have to go and give them all my attention now. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! (… and Happy New Year too!)