There's more to housemade after-dinner drinks than basic limoncello.
Fans of winding down — or starting off — the night with the Italian liqueur have plenty of options around town. In-house versions of cellos are becoming more popular at D.C. restaurants (and there's even an entire company supplying many restaurants that aren't making their own but still want a locally-made version of the drink).
Bar maven Sherman Outhouk, who made his way from 14th Street's Ristorante Posto to Shaw's Thally, has created several flavors of in-house cellos, including tangerine and blood orange, with the selection changing every so often. What's available to end (or begin) the evening is posted on the chalkboard in Thally. But enjoy them only at the restaurant; Outhouk has no plans in the near future to make these cellos available for retail.
In Columbia Heights, Maple, which opened with Outhouk's help, also has a collection of house-made cellos that is updated frequently. Penn Quarter's The Partisan has nine cellos for drinkers to enjoy before, during or after a meal, including apricot and burnt cinnamon flavors.
At 1905 near U Street, Chef Joel Hatton has created a few cellos using the very hardy Everclear (151-proof and 190-proof depending on the type) as its foundation so drinkers can enjoy an after dinner kick. Hatton has an orange-cardamon cello available and is working on a chai tea version as well.
Even when the bars are closed, lovers of locally made products can bring aperitifs home. One of the bigger producers is Don Ciccio & Figli. The DC-based company makes a variety of aperitifs, such as "Fico d'India" made from prickly pears, "Finocchietto" from fennel, and the secretive and monk-inspired "Concerto". There are also some classic options available from Don Ciccio & Figli, including its well-known limoncello. The company's products aren't hard to find at local restaurants and bars — Ambar in Barracks Row, Georgetown's Cappella Hotel and Columbia Heights' Room 11 to name a few.
What's the most interesting flavor of cello you've tried around town? Share thoughts in the comments.