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Meet Rachel Enoch

Rachel Enoch
Rachel comes to us from New Jersey, bringing us some flair with her expertise in arts and crafts as well as her self-proclaimed title of alcohol aficionado. If Rachel's not setting up for an event, you can likely find her in the wine room or near the cheese.

From Campari to Camparti

At Via Umbria there are no secrets when it comes to sharing our love of cocktails. Our Mixologist Matt Demma is the “professional”, but our cafe staff has lots of experience and can seriously whip up a mean drink. While I like to think of myself as a pseudo-professional, I’m more of a self-proclaimed alcohol aficionado.

In our nation’s capital, the first week of June is dedicated to the Negroni. Another great reason to live in DC.  To celebrate Negroni Week we are throwing a storewide event where Campari meets Party: Camparti.

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Gruppo Campari is a company based in Milan that makes awesome spirits.  Most notably

Campari and Aperol.  Campari is a beautiful red, bitter liqueur and probably the world’s best known apéritivo (side note: an apéritivo is a liqueur meant to be drunk before the meal to aid in digestion). Since 1860, for over 150 years the Campari recipe has been untouched, unchanged.  Aperol is Campari’s younger, flirtier sister.  With a rich orange color, less bitter it is changing the Apéritivo scene across Italy and here in the States.

What is a Negroni?

A little background for those who do not know: the Negroni is a classic Italian Cocktail made with gin, sweet vermouth and Campari or Aperol garnished with an orange peel. As an avid gin drinker and Italophile, the Negroni is everything I ask for in a drink: strong and bitter.

Dating as far back as the beginning of the 20th century, the Negroni has been a staple cocktail across Italy. Many variations of this drink have been crafted, however the truest Negroni you’ll ever get is made with gin, sweet vermouth, and most importantly Campari (without Campari the Negroni would never have been conceived).

What is this deliciousness called a Spritz?

Around the same time the Negroni surfaced in Italy, another lesser-known (equally-as-good-if-not-better) apéritivo was concocted: Aperol. In 1919, the Italians swooned over this orange liqueur and by the 1950s Aperol had made its mark with the “3,2,1 Spritz”  recipe. As any bottle of Aperol could tell you. Magic, this drink is pure magic I tell you: very refreshing, good for any occasion…Brunch, Lunch, Happy Hour, Dinner, beyond. Love for Aperol and the Spritz spread like wildfire across Italy. Yet for 150 years Campari has owned the apéritivo market, so much so that Gruppo Campari acquired the rights and recipe to Aperol in 2003. Now, this unstoppable duo inspires a variety cocktails essential to the core of Italian lifestyle.

Negroni Week – Who Knew?

IMG_1612As the unofficial ambassadors of Umbria to Georgetown, Negroni Week is the perfect opportunity for us to share our love of cocktails combined with our appreciation and understanding of the Italian lifestyle. Although we do celebrate these apéritivos on a regular basis with our Spritz O’Clock menu in the cafe, Camparti is our way of celebrating all of our favorite Negroni and Spritz secrets. When I realized our latest catch phrase became “It’s Always Spritz O’Clock!” I just knew we were the right venue to host Camparti. From the Negroni to Aperol Cotton Candy, this Campari Party will have it all! We’ll have different stations featuring variations on the Negroni and a full Negroni/Spritz bar with drinks made to order.

How Can I Join in on the Fun

Camparti is on Thursday June 8 at 7pm, for tickets and more information please visit: http://viaumbria.com/june-8-camparti.html

A Spritz O’Clock Celebration Read more

At Via Umbria there are no secrets when it comes to sharing our love of cocktails. Our Mixologist Matt Demma is the ...

Strong Women in Fashion

Rolling out the red carpet, last Thursday we joined forces with three other local businesses, here in Georgetown, to create an experience like no other. With gorgeous gowns from Signature Dresses and Lili the First, breathtaking hair and makeup done by Illusions Salon of Georgetown, this fashion show was not really about the looks. Rather, to us Strong Women in Fashion was more than just a fashion show, it was a way for us and our collaborators to reach out and give back to the community.  All proceeds from the event, including ticket sales, were donated to Suited for Change. For those who do not know, Suited for Change is the leading nonprofit organization that provides professional attire, mentoring, and job-readiness skills to women seeking financial independence in the DC area. Overall we want our message to be clear: Female Empowerment. Uniquely yet unsurprisingly, the four businesses that collaborated to create this event are owned by women. As the idea for this event sprouted, the owners began to ask themselves, what does it mean to be a strong woman? Every person you ask will give you a different answer, but we agreed across the board that a strong woman is someone who believes in herself and believes that nothing can hold her back. In fashion, the runway is the epitome of strength, all eyes are on the model, what she is wearing, and how she wears it. And in life, clothing has the innate ability to empower women; when she looks fierce she feels fierce, and when she feels fierce she is fierce. For this fashion show we did not go out and hire runway models, instead we found women that everyone can relate to: DC Fashion and Lifestyle bloggers. These bloggers are the women we take the final word from regarding what to do, what to wear, and where to eat. Truthfully, any woman could have strutted her stuff down our red carpet runway, and that was the point. Strong Women in Fashion was never about us, it was and still is about the people we can inspire.

Photo Credits: Jeremy Goins & Snapshots by Sierra

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More than a Fashion Show Read more

Rolling out the red carpet, last Thursday we joined forces with three other local businesses, here in Georgetown, to create an experience ...

Cherries have Blossomed

Cherry-Blossoms-Washington-DC-March-23-2012-01-1068x710

As a millennial born and raised in the wonderful state of New Jersey, I did not know all that much about the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC. Other than the fact there’s an annual festival to celebrate the beautiful trees that line the waterfront, there is a limited amount of common knowledge available about the Cherry Blossoms. From my perspective, to most of the nation, they just exist. However, when I moved to DC about six months ago, I told myself I would learn the quirky secrets behind this city. In this case, my research led me to the Cherry Blossoms; as per the scientific method I cataloged my thoughts and observations as I learned the history behind this breathtaking foliage.

Initial thoughts on the Cherry Blossoms:

“George Washington and the Cherry Tree” At the age of six, young George Washington received a hatchet as a gift. A little overzealous (as any six year old wielding a hatchet should be) George supposedly chopped down his father’s beloved Cherry Tree. When his father saw what he had done George admitted “I cannot tell a lie…I cut it with my hatchet.” Celebrating his honesty in lieu of punishing his wrongdoing, George’s father praised his son’s honesty was worth a thousand cherry trees. Clearly, it makes sense that a city named after our first president would host a festival dedicated to a tree he is legend for cutting down.

Question:

Why do we celebrate the Cherry Blossoms here in Washington DC?

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Hypothesis:

Beyond the George Washington tale, I have in fact been to the festival before and my impression it that this is a great family friendly fun experience and an amazing way to open up the city for a season of outdoor fun!

Research Shows:

In 1912 the mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, gifted the city 3,000 cherry trees to honor the close relationship the United States and Japan share. Even though the first 2,000 trees that arrived in 1910 were diseased, the two nations could not be deterred from outwardly expressing their appreciation for one another. These trees were such an important gift that First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda (the wife of the Japanese ambassador) planted the first two trees in West Potomac Park on the north bank of the tidal basin. Impressively, in 1981 the United States sent clippings from the trees to Japanese horticulturists who were desperate to replace some of the cherry blossoms, which were destroyed in a flood. Since the original festival celebrating the successful 1912 planting, these blossoms have been annually celebrated since 1934 (excluding a hiatus during WWII until 1947). Helium balloons, floats, parades over the course of four weekends is how DC currently celebrates the Cherry Blossom festival. Welcoming some 1.5 million people to the city from all over the country.

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Afterthoughts and Commentary:

The National Cherry Blossom Festival draws attention to our national pride and to the positive relationships we as a nation formed across the world. These trees were a gift from Japan to us; still over a century later we give them the same respect as when they first arrived. To my disappointment, the festival has no foundation in the George Washington story. Turns out the Cherry Tree and the Cherry Blossoms were two separate plants. Regardless, this festival is a wonderful way to celebrate the beauty our change of season brings us. Get out, hit the streets, bring your mom, your kids, your grandma, the Cherry Blossom Festival is fun for the whole family!

P.S: We are celebrating this beautiful festival here at Via Umbria with a Cherry Jubilee Cocktail Class on Wednesday (3/23) and a series of themed Italian Dinner Parties (3/23-24-25). For more information and tickets please visit: http://viaumbria.com/events/

Spring had Sprung Read more

As a millennial born and raised in the wonderful state of New Jersey, I did not know all that much about the ...