September #VaSpiritsMonth Tastemaker: Nick Farrell of Iron Gate, Washington DC

Nick Farrell

Nick Farrell, Spirits Manager for Iron Gate Restaurant, Washington DC

If you’re in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., during September #VaSpiritsMonth, make sure to stop by one of the District’s oldest continuously operating restaurants, Iron Gate Restaurant. While you’re there, ask our featured Tastemaker Nick Farrell for the Duck, Duck, Booze! Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at prepping this sumptuous cocktail at home.

Duck, Duck, Booze, featuring Filibuster Bourbon Whiskey, and VA Distillery Company’s Virginia Highland Malt Whisky:
1 oz. duckfat washed Filibuster Bourbon Whiskey
0.5 oz. VA Distillery Company Virginia Highland Malt Whisky
0.5 oz. Zucca (or Cappelletti Sfumato, if you can find it)
0.5 oz. Cocchi Torino Vermouth
0.5 oz. Dry Vermouth
Two dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters

Duckfat wash
1.5 oz. Duckfat per 750 mL. Filibuster Bourbon Whiskey
Peel of one orange
Three-star anise
2 tsp. Pomegranate molasses

Simmer duck fat, pomegranate molasses, star anise, and orange peel for three minutes. Remove from heat. Discard orange peel and star anise. Add to Filibuster Bourbon Whiskey. Let sit overnight at room temperature (12-24 hrs). Freeze for four hours. Fine strain bourbon to separate out duck fat.


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by: Amy Ciarametaro

As someone of Sicilian descent, Iron Gate is a restaurant after my heart. I feel at home amongst there Southern Italian/Greek-inspired menu, traditions and techniques – all while utilizing the finest local ingredients from the Mid-Atlantic foodshed.

Before heading to Iron Gate (if you haven’t already been), allow me to pass along the ”skinny.“ There are two ways to taste Iron Gate. One strategy is the no reservations bar set in the strikingly beautiful long-hall at the entrance. The other strategy requires a short walk across the back patio leading to their formal, 48-seat dining room, which offers four- and six-course tasting menus.

I stopped by recently to have a chat with Nick Farrell, Spirits Manager for the restaurant. Nick has been with Iron Gate for over two years. Prior to that, he worked in New York City at a farm-to-table restaurant called Flying Pig.

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After sipping on his delicious September cocktail “Duck, Duck, Booze,” I pried him on why Iron Gate supports local farmers, watermen, food artisans and distillers. Clearly I pushed a button. Nick responded with zeal and said, “There’s a million eye-roll inducing reasons that we’ve heard too many times before, but never become less true: eating and drinking fosters a sense of community, and there’s nothing more communal than what’s local. Having a relationship with the people producing the things we consume helps us understand where we live, where we come from, and what goes into all the amazing products that end up on our plates and in our glasses.”

Hear hear Nick! He waves the local flag high and with pride. For this reason and many more, Nick was selected as a Tastemaker for September #VaSpiritsMonth! Now, if you mind, I’d like another Duck, Duck, Booze, please.

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*Rapid Fire with Nick Farrell of Iron Gate Restaurant *

#VaSpirits: Where did you grow up?

Nick: I grew up in Westchester, New York.

#VaSpirits: What was it that first inspired you to get into the F&B business?

Nick: Watching Good Eats and spending a short amount of time living on a farm in Ecuador, and realizing everything that goes into what goes onto our plates every day.

#VaSpirits: Tell us a little bit about your daily routine, Nick!

Nick: I try to fill out at least one survey every day, usually while drinking a cortado at Big Bear Cafe. I also really enjoy going to baseball games, eating carrot cake, and drinking amaro. You can also find me exploring new neighborhoods of D.C.

#VaSpirits: When you’re not drinking Virginia spirits, what do you enjoy drinking and why?

Nick: For wine: Assyrtiko and Lambrusco right now because it’s still warm outside. Vermouth and soda. Spirits/liqueurs: Amaro and soda. Beer: Union Old Pro Gose. And, any pina colada ever made.

#VaSpirits: Give us your best PG-rated joke to wrap things up!

Nick: What’s the greatest thing about living in Switzerland? I don’t know, but the flag is a big plus!


For more information on Iron Gate, visit their website or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Photo credit: Jay Paul