Ever thought of a Cherry Bomb Cocktail? I hadn’t. Not until I visited Washing D.C this spring. In honor of the Cherry Blossom Festival, The Fairmont Hotel in D.C. had created a special Cherry Bomb cocktail. This smooth and delicious seasonal drink was perfect to celebrate the festival and fit right in with the spirit of the event!
Looking to enjoy this spring cocktail in the comfort of your home? Below is the original recipe provided by the mixologist at The Fairmont Washington, D.C.
The exact time of floral blooms can be hard to predict due to March weather in Washington, D.C. That, however, does not stop the season from starting early at the Ritz Carlton!
Welcome to the Ritz
As soon as I walked through the elegant lobby, the scent of cherry blossoms embodies me with happiness. The hotel’s signature scent, Sakura (meaning cherry blossom in Japanese) subtly fills the air, as cherry blossom flower arrangements brighten the public spaces. Downstairs in the conference area is an incredible hand-painted mural. The mural depicts a wind-blown cherry blossom tree set against a metallic gold background. This is perhaps the most photographed location at the hotel! When visitors come to D.C., they want to take home a memorable moment with the backdrop of the blossoms, even if they didn’t get to see them in bloom.
The Westend Bistro
Located off the main lobby is Westend Bistro, a vibrant modern bar that serves lunch and dinner. I was told that it took the mixologist months of perfection to create the house drink, Sakura cocktail. A pale red colored gin-infused drink arrives in a cold martini glass. It has layers of flavors starting with the sweetness of cherries, the boldness of Sakura tea, to dryness of the gin and bitterness of grapefruits. It is flavorful in a way that one could drink a few glasses and only later realize the alcohol content.
Westend Bistro under the supervision of Chef de Cuisine Adam Barnett was named Washingtonian’s Top 100 Restaurants for 2015, so I have to try the food. The Kabocha Squash Salad arrives as a hearty, healthy treat with baby kales and spinach, grilled Honeycrisp apples, pumpkin seed granola, and hazelnut vinaigrette.
Book a Room, Plant a Tree
When I arrived in my room, I found a card made with recycled paper at the desk. It says “a cherry tree has been planted in your honor.” The Ritz Carlton Washington, D.C. partners with the National Arbor Day Foundation‘s Cherry Blossom Give-A-Tree program. Guests can purchase an overnight room package that includes the tree donation.
Afternoon Tea Time
The afternoon is a time to experience high tea at the Lobby Lounge. Over Cherry Blossom Festival, they offer a lovely Sakura blend tea that is specially designed for the hotel. Notes of bergamot, black currant, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, soft vanilla, and white musk are complimented with, well, of course, cherry blossom flowers. The tea is served in a traditional Japanese cast iron teapot (tetsubin) and cups, with sliced lemons and rose petals on the side. It is refreshing and deep, without an overwhelming floral presence.
Tea comes with a surprise dessert amenity that is not listed on the menu. Homemade little cherry tart square and chocolate-covered cookie sticks resembling tree barks with cherry flowers, placed in a Japanese vase look too beautiful to eat. This presentation is worth taking photos of, even if you are not a dessert person.
Exploring the Festival
After enjoying all the cherry blossom themes at the Ritz Carlton, it was time to explore the festival-related events in the area. The hotel’s concierge guides me to a list of events including parades, runs, and banquets organized by the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Are you a fan of Cuban cuisine? Want to learn to make authentic Cuban tostones recipe? Well, tostones is basically a savory plantain chip that is enjoyed as a snack or a side in many Caribbean cuisines. This recipe is very easy to make provided you have the right ingredients and a little bit of free time.
Cuban Tostones Recipe
Before we get started, here are a few things you will need.
chefs knife, paring knife, small vegetable knife
plate & bowl for serving
3- 4 green plantains (must be firm, not yellow)
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
5-6 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup juice of sour oranges (Naranja agria)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin powder
lots of salt & pepper
Peel the plantains using a sharp knife across the length of the skin. Loosen the peel along the cut and remove the peel by hand. Cut the plantain into 2 inches wide slices.
Heat the vegetable or canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once the oil is hot, fry the plantain slices for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, just long enough to make them soft. Remove the plantains and drain on paper towels. Use a plantain press or the palm of your hands to smash the plantains to about half their thickness. Fry the plantains a second time in the same hot oil, turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain excess oil with paper towels. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper and serve warm.
The mojo sauce can be made ahead of time. Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan on medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and fry about 30 seconds. Add the sour orange juice, cumin and salt, and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil and whisk if necessary. Adjust seasoning as needed. Remove from heat and cool. Serve the Tostones with a side of Mojo sauce in a small bowl.
Mojo is best served within a couple of hours of making, but can it keep for several days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Enjoyed this Cuban Tostones Recipe? Check out more recipes from Go Eat Give here!
We are very excited to launch our second Go Eat Give chapter in Washington, DC starting March 2015! Over the past few years, we have received requests from all over the world to bring our programs to their cities. While our international travel opportunities are open to everyone, monthly events have been held only in Atlanta so far. It is with great pleasure that I am announcing our expansion into Washington DC, a city rich with diverse restaurants, people and knowledge!
Here are some ways to get involved with Go Eat Give DC …
Hierarchy’s 2-star Michelin Chef Gerard Pangaud, the youngest chef ever to receive 2 stars, will personally prepare light refreshments for guests. Artwork from Michael Owen, creator and lead artist of the Baltimore Love Project, will be featured on the gallery walls. There will also be a cash bar and goody bags provided. The event is FREE to attend by RSVP is required. Click here for more information.
We are looking for DC based volunteers, interns and board members to help make strategic decisions, recruit members and plan events. If you are interested in becoming a part of a growing international nonprofit organization, send us your resume. Perks include cultural interaction, good food and hands-on experience. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Participate in our local activities including Destination Dinners and Volunteer Vacations. Join Go Eat Give to receive discounts and FREE access for the entire year. Sign up to get newsletter updates, join our MeetUp group and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t want to miss another event!