What happens when you mix Rye, Dates, Arabian Bitters, and “Sharqtreuse”? You get a Saz’Iraq and a cocktail bar that’s breaking all the molds of what we think about cocktail bars should look like. This week, I’m talking with Chris Hassaan-Francke and E Jay Apaga of The Green Zone. When Chris started organizing Middle Eastern cocktail pop-ups in DC while working an office job, he didn’t imagine that the side project would one day turn into one of the most lauded new bars in the District. By using ingredients he grew up with in drinks, he is helping to write the story of Middle Eastern cocktails in the modern age. But The Green Zone is so much more than a cocktail bar. It’s become a safe space for the young Middle Eastern crowd to mingle with open-minded, young imbibers and charismatic bartenders. It’s also become a sort of “bar as protest” against the Trump administration. And Chris has assembled a sleek band of cocktail specialists to run the place. And they’re just getting started.