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Raise a Glass to the Cherry Blossoms With These Blushing Cocktails

A running guide to the best cherry blossom tipples across town

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VUE’s new Royal gin tea features Catoctin Creek Watershed gin.
VUE’s new Royal gin tea features Catoctin Creek Watershed gin.

With the green beer of St. Patrick’s Day in the rear view mirror, D.C. can now turn its attention to the pretty pink tipples blossoming in D.C.’s bars.

D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival kicked off March 19, and bars and restaurants across town are pouring blushing libations in honor of the short-lived pink buds popping up along the Tidal Basin.

This running guide features cherry blossom-themed sips all over town. Stay tuned for updates.

  • L’Annexe, Georgetown’s glam cocktail parlor, is serving the “Shiro Blossom” cocktail with gin, aperitivo, vermouth, lychee, and sesame seed. (2917 M Street NW)
  • Buffalo & Bergen’s history-filled cocktails are classic combinations made with heritage Japanese spirits. Gina Chersevani is pouring the “Scidmore Sazerac,” named for Eliza Scidmore who drafted the proposal to bring the cherry trees to D.C. Filled with Catoctin Creek Roundstone rye, absinthe, brandied cherry, and Peychaud’s bitters, it’s a bright tribute to the brooding sazerac. Meanwhile, the “Ozaki Sour,” mixes up Toki Japanese whiskey, crushed sakura, blood orange, lemon, and egg white in tribute to Yukio Ozaki, the Tokyo mayor who supported the gift of the cherry blossom trees to DC. (1309 5th Street NE)
  • The timeless Quill bar at the Jefferson hotel is serving two cherry blossom-themed cocktails this season. “In Bloom” includes menu includes Wheatley vodka, Sayuri Nigori sake, lychee, and grapefruit. The “Gin Blossom” includes gin, elderflower liquor, lemon, tonic, and housemade grenadine. There’s also a short list of sakes, plum wines, and featured pink-hued rosé wines. (1200 16th Street NW)
A cherry blossom-themed cocktail at the Quill includes a floral ice cube.
A cherry blossom-themed cocktail at the Quill includes a floral ice cube.
  • El Tamarindo in Adams Morgan is pouring “La Japonesa” and topping it with a pink flower in honor of the cherry blossoms. The 40-year old Salvadoran restaurant called in cocktail consultant Lou Bernard to concoct its special drink, which combines sake, reposado tequila, Martini Fiero, white peach puree, bitters, agave, and egg white. It’s available until April 17. (1785 Florida Avenue NW)
La Japonesa cocktail
El Tamarindo’s La Japonesa cocktail is available throughout Cherry Blossom season.
El Tamarindo
  • Lyle’s is bringing the “Blossom Sour” (Japanese whiskey or Japanese gin, chery juice, lemon juice, egg whites, and Luxardo Maraschino) and the “Kokoro 75” (Roku gin, lemon juice, cherry, sparkling rosé) to Dupont this season. Snack on the country terrine with pork, duck, pistachios, and cherry mostarda on the side. (1731 New Hampshire Avenue NW)
  • El Cielo: To celebrate both cherry blossoms and the long-awaited debut of its 8-seat bar, the Michelin-rated Colombian restaurant in the Union Market district releases a springtime Old Fashioned with drops of cherry syrup and smoked with cherry wood ($22), available March 23 to April 17. (1280 4th Street NE)
A yellow cocktail
El Cielo’s new cherry blossom-themed cocktail debuts with its new bar.
El Cielo
  • Dolce Vita: Logan Circle’s coastal Mediterranean eatery celebrates its first spring with a “Blushing Blossom” ($18) cocktail, complete with a large pink ice cube made from cranberry. (1610 14th Street NW)
  • Cranes: A dinnertime cocktail ($16) stars Sakura-infused gin by Lakehouse in Buffalo, New York (made with fresh cherry blossom, rose, and hibiscus botanicals), joined by ume sake, Aperol, shochu, lemon and egg white. Its Michelin-starred chef Pepe Moncayo also just released an all-day bento box made with Japanese and local spring ingredients ($48) featuring five mini-courses and dessert. (724 9th Street NW)
A pink cocktail next to a rose
Dolce Vita’s “Blushing Blossom” features Tito’s, St Germaine, fresh lime juice, and edible flowers finish.
Dolce Vita
  • Gatsby: Navy Yard’s modern American diner has a new “Full Bloom” cocktail for the duration of the Cherry Blossom Festival, made with Haku Vodka, Mancino Sakura Vermouth, blossom syrup, lemon, and bubbles. (1205 Half Street SE)
  • VUE bar is pouring five cherry blossom-themed cocktails from its perch atop the 11th floor of the Hotel Washington. Sip tipples like the Tidal Basin Paloma (tequila, cherry puree, and grapefruit soda) or Lady Bird’s Highball (Bombay bramble blackberry and raspberry gin, St. Germain elderflower, ginger ale, mint, and lime juice) throughout the season. Reserve a table on Tock. (515 15th Street NW)
  • The Doyle, the handsome midcentury lounge in The Dupont Circle, has both a cherry blossom whiskey flight and cocktails like the Yuki’s Gibson with Nikka Gin, Hana-Kohaku plum sake, Pink Peppercorn, and Carpano. (1500 New Hampshire Avenue NW)
  • The Fairmont Washington, D.C. is embracing the cherry this season with cherry-infused cocktails in the Lobby bar. A fizzy cherry spritzer combines Stoli black cherry vodka, cherry syrup, sauvignon blanc, and soda; while a Beefeater gin-based cocktail gets in the spirit with Luxardo maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice. Both are $16.

The real stunner is the dessert from executive pasty chef A.J. Thalakkat, also available in the Lobby bar. A Sakura and peach blossom gelée is made with peach blossom sake and pickled Sakura cherry blossoms ($12).

The specials are available from March 20 through April 17. (The Fairmont, 2401 M Street NW)

  • Crazy Aunt Helen’s on Barracks Row is looking pretty in pink. “Miss Pixie” Windsor of local decor and furnishings store Miss Pixie’s has decorated the restaurant with pink Japanese lanterns, parasols, and cherry blossom branches. Local artist David Amoroso has decked the halls with Cherry Blossom-themed art. Take it in while sipping a Spring Blossom cocktail with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and rose with a sugar and rose petal rim. (713 8th Street SE)
Spring Blossom cocktail at Crazy Aunt Helen’s
Crazy Aunt Helen’s Spring Blossom cocktail is served in a pretty coupe.
Casey Suliga
  • Mount Vernon’s shimmering rooftop lounge Ciel Social Club kicks off Cherry Blossom Season with specialty cocktails like the Lucky Cat (Don Ciccio and Figli Cerasum with Txurrut Basque vermouth, Pedro Ximenez sherry, and black walnut) and Bloom (Stateside vodka, Don and Cicco ambrosia aperitivo, yuzu, cherry blossom fermented honey, and an orange twist). Meanwhile, the sprawling 12-foot brass chandelier will get cherry blossom decor. (601 K Street NW)
  • Glamorous Morris American bar is mixing up Water Lily cocktails (Monkey 47 gin, Cointreau, crème de violette, and a hint of lemon) and Cherry Blossom Manhattans (Wild Turkey 101 rye, Dolin Rouge, Cherry Heering, bitters, and a drop of absinthe). (1020 7th Street NW)