Red Light Cocktails & Dessert Bar adds Savory Dishes and Gets a New “Master Drinksmith”

14th and R St, NW

From a press release:

“Partners Aaron Gordon, Robert Underwood, and brothers Ari and Micah Wilder are pleased to announce the appointment of Jonny Fellman as the new Beverage Director and Master Drinksmith at Red Light Cocktails & Dessert Bar. In his new role, Fellman will be responsible for enhancing the cocktail program adding new libations to the menu each season. Fellman’s latest collection of cocktails not to be missed include the Magdalene, gin, elderflower liquor and lemon; the Tijuana Twister, jalapeño tequila, watermelon, lime and honey; Just Peachy, made from a combination of vodka, peach liqueur, lemon, prosecco, as well as the Coal Miner, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Sambuca and angostura bitters. These new libations are priced at $12 each. Additionally, Chef Underwood has added an assortment of bar treats, rustic flatbreads, and a Toast ‘Crostini’ Bar to the restaurants new savory menu, which will pair well with Fellman’s latest offerings.

A native of Pawling, New York, Fellman moved to the DC area in 2000 to attend George Mason University. In 2004, Fellman graduated, and began working as a facilities manager for a small community center in southeast DC. In 2009, Fellman decided to enter the restaurant industry. He worked he way up the ranks at the cocktail-heavy gastropub AGAINN, starting as a barback and quickly moving up the ladder to become head bartender. Then, in 2012, he was tapped to serve as head bartender at the Quill at The Jefferson, Washington, DC where he spent two years honing his skills in craft cocktails. In 2014, Jonny traveled across the pond to act as a beverage consultant for a friend’s new pub in London. He spent six months traveling overseas before returning to the US for his new role at Red Light.

At Red Light, Chef Robert Underwood has added a collection of bar treats, rustic flatbreads, and a Toast ‘Crostini’ Bar to the new menu. New bar snacks include a Cheese Board, four cheeses served with marinated figs and honey walnuts for $16; a Charcuterie Board, four charcuterie items served with whole grain mustard, cornichon and baguette for $15, and Elevated Bar Nuts with nori seasoning for $5. New rustic flatbreads include the Margherita, tomato, mozzarella and basil for $10; Fig &Chocolate, figs, chocolate, hazelnut, gorgonzola and mascarpone cheese for $12; Wild Mushroom, mushrooms, tallegio cheese, and white truffle oil for $12; Potato & Pancetta, pesto, potato, pancetta and fontina cheese for $11, and Prosciutto, prosciutto and arugula for $11. Items from the new Toast “Crostini’ Bar include Infused Butters with white truffle, pistachio and fig for $7; Duck Confit with melted tallegio cheese, vegetables and herbs for $8; Brussels Sprouts with crispy pancetta and mustard oil for $8; White Bean with carrots, celery, onion and herbs for $7; Beets with pistachios and pistachio butter for $8, as well as Cauliflower with capers and olive for $6.”

11 Comment

  • justinbc

    I thought they might try to make this place less obnoxious eventually, guess I was wrong about that.

  • Mr. Fellman’s biography, while compelling and rich, leaves this reader wanting more. In 2009 the protagonist abandoned a fledgling career in facilities management to step onto the bottom rung of the restaurant industry; what was his motivation? Was he running from something in his past, perhaps exorcising personal demons? Or had something in those five years spent as a budding junior executive unleashed an epiphany? Alas, the question remains unanswered.

    • Emmaleigh504

      so many questions and so few answers! I think he’s in witness protection and is fixin to fail out.

    • I think it’s obvious that the man was just a genius at mixing booze, with wildly original ideas that could not be kept from the public. I mean, think about… You know, you JUST FREAKIN’ KNOW, that an Old Fashioned needs some Sambuca tossed in, but no one else does. You’re sitting there at a desk managing a facility and tearing your hair out wondering how can you give that gift to the world when you’re working at a community center in and suddenly it dawns on you that you JUST CAN’T!!!! Only by breaking free of that pointless career could Mr. Hellman free our taste buds by cutting out the simple syrup from a Vieux Mott and calling it a Magdalene, which will be a drink no doubt even more saintly than its namesake.

  • “Master Drinksmith”?

    Eye-roll…”mixologist”, “drinksmith”, get over it folks. I don’t care what you call your “bartender”, but giving him a virtual phd in booze isn’t going to keep people coming in the door, and for folks like me, I am actually less likely now to ever go in.

  • On my first and last visit to Red Light, I ordered the white chocolate souffle. Nearly an hour later, my “souffle” arrived. It tasted and smelled like scrambled eggs. When dessert and drinks are your mainstay, its important to get them right.

    • Sounds like their soufflé is the food equivalent of the on-tap sazerac I tried, which was basically a hate crime against rye whiskey. It was served on the rocks (!), was mostly simple syrup, and the absinthe was mixed into the drink itself instead of just coating the inside of the glass. Like you, that was my first and last visit.

  • Wow… Those are the drinks being turned out by a Master drinksmith?!?! Come to think of it, WTF is a master drinksmith? Have we now abandoned mixologist for an even more ridiculous title for a bartender? Look, I’ve been a bit of a cocktail geek for the last 5-6 years and at this point have a home bar nearing a hundred bottles along several shelves worth of books on booze, cocktail history, and more recipes (contemporary and classic) than I’ll likely ever drink, so I’ve got a bit of experience in this area and all I can say is that those drinks look unspeakably uninspired. Look, I realize there is such a thing as crafting a cocktail list that is both sophisticated and tasty while also being easy to prepare if you have a small staff and big crowds, but those drinks sound really, really, REALLY unimpressive. Gin, lemon juice, and St. Germaine? At the very least add some simple syrup and just call it a Vieux Mott, or twist it a bit by adding some proseco and a dash of grapefruit bitters. An Old Fashioned with second rate anise liqueur? Seriously? Someone is paying this “drinksmith” to come up with this garbage? I may be mistaken, but I think he got the watermelon and infused tequila recipe straight out of the most recent issue of Imbibe. Of course the fact that he got his bona fides from making it to head bartender at the short-lived and mediocre Againn should be a tip-off. Nonetheless, I’m just stunned that someone is getting paid to turn out such pathetic “original” cocktails. If the yahoos operating Red Light are interested I’d be happy to come up with a half dozen original drinks of equal cailbre during my lunch break. I could do it in a about 20 minutes, would probably only ask for a nice bottle of Scotch in return, and would never ask to be called a Master Drinksmith.

    • I’m with you. My first thought was, “joke’s on him. They’re probably not paying him any more than they would their bartender.”

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