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All photos: Stephanie Breijo

Last Sunday Firefly hosted its second Bottle Battle, a competition pitting wine and cocktail offerings against each other to see which could be best paired with some of Executive Chef Daniel Bortnick’s Firefly menu staples.

DC “mixtress” Gina Chersevani put together custom designed cocktails for five courses, squaring off against expertly selected wine pairings by Brabo sommelier Matt Carroll. Matt won the night, raising over $3,000 for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk this fall.

Those of you with calculators for brains will likely have caught on to the fact that this amounted to five cocktails (which Gina gleefully made more and more powerful as the night went on) and five glasses of wine over the course of four hours, not counting the potent welcoming punch Gina whipped up as a freebie. The concoction is essentially Autumn in a cup, with lots of warm cinnamon and some light apple overtones.

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Gina made a strong case to be picked as winner—particularly in the appetizer and desert courses, which I’m more inclined to pair with a cocktail anyway. For Firefly’s heirloom tomato and basil bread salad, Gina presented a bold and fizzy basil, brandy and bourbon drink named 3 B’s. Firefly executive chef Daniel Bortnick mixed up the traditional tomato/basil/mozzarella pairing (a staple at so many restaurants for a reason) with some chopped red onions that really made the dish stand out.

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But Matt Carroll won the night for his apropos main course wine pairings. He brought the tender pan roasted halibut to life with an Italian Kerner, a light and rich white. Matt noted a slight herbaceous flavor to the wine that lent itself to the fava bean pesto and wilted greens. It’s worth noting that Gina aimed her pairing at the baby beets in the dish with her most colorful presentation of the night, featuring homemade candied beets in a spoon with the glass.


Desert was a tossup. The peach cobbler was paired with a moscato—I can’t stand most sweet wines, so the fact that it was so hard to decide the best pairing for this dish speaks for itself. Gina pulled ahead with a light and sweet verbena Riesling soda topped with some bourbon soaked peaches.

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Firefly will be shuttering its doors over the next two weeks for renovation, but we’ll be excited to go back and try some out some pairings of our own.

Now back to your regularly scheduled food porn:


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