Jack Rose Dining Saloon | American, Whiskey | $$-$$$$ | 2007 18 St NW, Washington, DC | (202) 588-7388

Young professionals and seasoned veterans alike populate the bar. Hipster pop music floats around the restaurant, lending a trendy feel to a room filled floor to ceiling with bottles.

Saloon 1

There is no decor in Jack Rose Dining Saloon. Frankly, there’s no room for decor in the restaurant. Jack Rose has more than 2600 bottles of whiskey in its collection, making it the largest whiskey collection in the western hemisphere. It is Mecca for whiskey drinkers. Everything from the ubiquitous Wild Turkey to spirits that could run you upwards of $600 per ounce are available at the multi-level restaurant, and it is this incredible collection that instead features on the walls of the building.

BLT 1

Of course, the “dining” portion of the Dining Saloon is equally important to the experience. The BLT sliders made for a perfect savory starter to my evening. A light and flaky bun encapsulated crisp lettuce, a bacon round that had been cooked to the exact midpoint of meaty and crispy, and a deep-fried green tomato that provided a bit of tart moisture to an ensemble that left the mouth otherwise begging for a drink (that are never in short supply).

Easy Pickin 1

The salty sandwiches paired well with the sweeter Easy Pickin’s, an original Jack Rose cocktail. Featuring Jameson Caskmates as the base spirit, Easy Pickin’s presented me with a range of flavors in each sip, and a strange texture that can only be achieved through the use of egg whites in the drink. I know the look you’re giving me right now. Just trust me. The delicate fluffiness of the egg white meringue floating in the drink made for the perfect transition into the grips of autumn.

Feeling like I was now in a position to be able to truly appreciate the fine liquors on display like jewels in front of my seat at the bar, it was time for the headline performer to take center stage. Journeying through Scotland, Japan, and Kentucky on the wings of brown spirits, with Christian and Brianna, the bartenders, as my guides, I partook in soaring vanillas, sweet honeys, and hearty sherrys.

Willet 1

For the first time, I understood why people so love drinking liquor on its own (I had always been a cocktail guy before then). I understood why people would shell out $80, $100, $200 (or more), for a bottle of liquor. And I understood why people would spend four hours at a bar, standing room only, sipping whiskey, as I just did.