Graffiato // Washington, D.C.
Part of the Graffiato opening team, Taha Ismail has served as the restaurant’s head mixologist and bar manager since August 2011. The Moroccan native enjoys relaxing with an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan and is happy to make you a refreshing Swizzle. After fifteen years in the cocktail industry Taha isn’t afraid to mix up a new drink for you, just give him a spirit and he’ll take it from there. Cheers to branching out.
1) What makes Graffiato so unique?
Graffiato’s beverage menu has something for everyone, from our housemade sodas and craft cocktails made with fresh juices and interesting ingredients, to the prosecco on tap and extensive list of wines by the glass. We also strongly support our local wine and spirit vendors.
2) I walk into Graffiato for the first time, what signature drink do you recommend?
“I Did It My Way,” made with Jefferson’s 10 year old rye whiskey, Zucca amaro and whiskey barrel-aged bitters. This twist on a classic drink shows how important it is to have balance, especially in such a liquor-heavy cocktail. Our drinks are made with precision.
3) Graffiato seems entrenched in Italian cuisine, which drinks speak to this menu best?
“Empire State of Mind,” made with Basil Hayden’s bourbon, punt e mes and fernet branca. It’s another take on a classic using Italian flavors.
4) Any specific drink (s) you enjoy making more than others?
At the moment I’m enjoying making Swizzles. They are popular right now because they are so refreshing, and guests really enjoy watching us make them. My favorite is “The Waterfront,” with coriander-infused rum, mango and ginger.
5) Do most people order a specific drink or put their fate in your hands?
A lot of guests do like to have us pick their drinks for them, and I definitely enjoy it when people trust me with their experience. Name your liquor or flavor preferences, and I’ve got it from there.
6) Any tips for our home bartenders?
Use fresh juices and a jigger to measure drinks. Nothing beats a classic, balanced cocktail made with high-quality, fresh ingredients.
7) Most memorable night at Graffiato was when___________.
I served a well-known D.C. food writer at the bar when we first opened, and he enjoyed the punch and cocktails.
8) After a night behind the bar, what’s your drink of choice?
An Old Fashioned or a Manhattan