Halloween, schmalloween. Much more macabre than decorating with fake plastic skeletons and spider webs and handing out candy to neighborhood kids, Día de Muertos ("Day of the Dead") is an ancient Mexican holiday held October 31-November 2 that that celebrates and remembers the dead with traditions including building private altars with sugar skulls and marigolds, and leaving the deceased's favorite food and drinks at their graves. Several D.C. Mexican restaurants are featuring Day of the Dead promotions, including some brooding Tequila- and Mezcal-infused sips.
This year, Oyamel's annual Day of the Dead promotion honors José Guadalupe Posada, a turn of the century artist and political cartoonish known for his satirical Calaveras, or skeleton illustrations. José Andres' ode to Mexican small plates is featuring five special Day of the Dead Cocktails. Resucitó ($14) combines Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila with Cocchi Americano Rosa, lime leaf and grapefruit bitters. Atole Rico ($12.50) uses smoky Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal, Pueblo Viejo Tequila, house-made atole (a masa-based corn beverage), canela (cinnamon), piloncillo (unrefined sugar), vanilla, pineapple and lemon. The savory Pato Borracho ($13) infuses Gran Centenario Añejo Tequila, and mixes it with Cihuatl chiles, pomegranate and pineapple, topped with an almond air. The aromatic Cempasúchil ($12) combines lavender-infused Pueblo Viejo Blanco Tequila with Crème Yvette, mint and lemon. Margarita del Día Calabaza y Chocolate Bianco ($12 for a glass, $63 for a pitcher that serves 6), mingles Pueblo Viejo Blanco Tequila with Triple Sec, pumpkin purée, white chocolate, cardamom and lime.
Fuego Cocina y Tequileria has five Day of the Day libations. Ashes to Ashes mixes Patron XO with cocoa liqueur, Mexican arbol syrup and espresso, with a powdered sugar rim. Manzana del Diabo (the Devil's Apple) uses Sauza Silver Tequila, apple pucker, lime and agave, garnished with a house made Maraschino cherry. Ofrendas para Amigos (Gifts to Friends) combines Reposado Tequila, Ruby Port, Jamaica tea and house made orange bitters, served with dry ice for a cauldron effect.Sangre por Sangre (Blood in, Blood Out), mixes Cazadores Reposado Tequila, cucumber-lime aqua fresca and Sangrita, garnished with a cucumber wheel dusted with arbol salt. And Puesta Del Sol (Sunset) mingles Dos Gusanos Mezcal, pineapple juice, Chambord, Junior Johnson's Apple Pie, garnished with three pineapple cubes on a skewer.
Rosa Mexicano is offering the El Diablo Ahumado ($12). Translated as "The Smoky Devil," the lip burning sip is made with Ancho chile-infused Herradura Reposado Tequila, apricot brandy, fresh blood orange and cinnamon, garnished with an edible marigold.
La Sandia's Blood Orange Habanero Margarita ($10.95) combines Agave Tequila Reposada with a habanero- and blood orange-infused syrup and house sour mix, garnished with mole negro sauce.
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