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Momofuku’s new cocktail trio pairs well with cold weather.
Momofuku/official photo

14 Winter Cocktails to Drink Right Now

These elixirs celebrate the flavors of the season

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Momofuku’s new cocktail trio pairs well with cold weather.
| Momofuku/official photo

A flurry of D.C. bars are stirring steamy and spiced cocktails engineered to warm up guests during colder months. Some like it hot, while others integrate ice.

The drinks below are worth a taste because they’re brand new, they have a creative presentation, or they feature festive winter flavors like sweet potato cordial and apple brandy.

For a broader view of the drinking landscape, check out this list of essential bars and the hottest new ones around.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Flowers and Agave at Lucky Buns

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2000 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 506-1713
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After eight months of taste testing behind the bar, the budding burger chain’s first full-blown cocktail list came to life last summer. Due to its insane popularity, this $11 creation (house blended tequila, Cocchi Americano, hibiscus ginger, lime, and soda) hasn’t budged since. “People would revolt if we took it off,” beverage director Fabian Malone tells Eater, adding its floral notes translate well in winter.

Lucky Buns
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

2. Buckshots for Bambi at Service Bar DC

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926-928 U St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 462-7232
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The master mixologists at this tiny cocktail destination stir Glenfiddich 12-year scotch with sparkling wine, baked apple and pear, spices, lemon, and amaro ($13).

Service Bar
Service Bar/Facebook

3. El Sueño at El Techo

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606 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 836-4270
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This warming beverage, designed for sipping inside the Shaw bar’s tented jungle oasis upstairs, contains coffee, Gran Agave tequila or Ilegal mezcal, allspice, RumChata liqueur, and whipped cream inside a mug ($12).

4. Kentucky Heart Attack at McClellan's Retreat

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2031 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 265-6270
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The Dupont Circle watering hole’s new retox menu — titled “Bad New Year’s Decisions” — includes this potent cocktail complete with Maker’s Mark bourbon, house-made vermouth butter syrup, and Fee Bros. walnut bitters ($13).

McClellan’s Retreat
McClellan’s Retreat/official photo

5. Year of the Boar at Left Door

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1345 S St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 734-8576
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For the new year, bar manager Mick Perrigo created a piping hot option using the Baltimore Whiskey Company’s Pechuga-style Apple Brandy — which takes inspiration from mezcal made with chicken by throwing a Maryland country ham into the still — Calvados, amaro, apple cider, and cinnamon. It’s all topped off with a jerky garnish ($14).

Left Door
Left Door/official photo

6. Ashigaru at O-Ku DC

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1274 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 888-8790
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Union Market’s sleek Japanese staple is serving a shochu cocktail ($14) mixed with hot water in a traditional style called oyuwari. The cocktail features unique flavors like a genmaicha (Japanese brown rice green tea) cordial and lemon oleo-saccharum — the sweet oil that results from combining sugar and lemon peels. The name doubles as a history lesson, referring to the peasant foot soldiers employed by the samurai class during the Japanese feudal era.

7. Smoke & Agni at Pappe

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1317 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 888-8220
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Apple brandy, made in the style of mezcal from Baltimore Spirit Company, joins honey, fresh ginger, and lemon ($12) in this light-reflecting elixir. Agni means fire in Sanskrit.

8. The Sweet Potato at The Dabney

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122 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 450-1015
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Brad Langdon, who was recently named bar manager of the Michelin-starred hideaway in Blagden Alley, just added this seasonal elixir to the lineup. The delicate drink features Sacred Bond Brandy, St. Elizabeth allspice dram, sweet potato cordial, lime, and egg white ($15).

9. Buon Natale at Quill

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1200 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 448-2300
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The Jefferson’s swanky hotel bar warms up drinkers on its newly tented patio while capitalizing on the cognac craze, spiking hot cocoa with Brisson VS alongside salted caramel syrup ($19).

10. Cherry Coffee at Momofuku CCDC

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1090 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 602-1832
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Keep the holiday spirit alive with amaretto, cherry cordial, and coconut cocktail in a cup ($15). David Chang’s CityCenter restaurant is also serving a spicy hot chocolate with bourbon, cayenne, and mint marshmallows.

11. High Noon at DBGB Kitchen & Bar

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931 H St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 695-7660
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Daniel Boulud’s expense account-friendly restaurant, which offers happy hour seven days a week, crafts this cocktail with bourbon, tequila, cherry Heering liqueur, cinnamon syrup, and a dash of orange with angostura bitters ($12).

12. The Amazing Americano at The Watergate Hotel

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2650 Virginia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037
(866) 271-0218
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Irish and Americano coffee, heavy cream, and a cinnamon-sugar blend go into this drink at D.C.’s iconic The Watergate Hotel. The festive and filling beverage ($16) is also the hotel’s debut “Cocktail of the Month” — a new program created by lead bartender Kal Lemma. Next up for February: Love Drunk.

13. Kill Bill Toddy at Detour Coffee

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946 N Jackson St
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 988-2378
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Swap hot coffee for a hot cocktail at the 1-year-old coffee shop and bistro in Clarendon. This pick comes with Satsuma Shiranami Shochu made from sweet potatoes, green tea, Meyer lemon syrup, lemon zest, and zen floating flowers ($10).

14. Catch 75 at Catch on the Ave

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2419 Mt Vernon Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301
(703) 566-1283
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To whip up this frothy brunch cocktail, the nautical-themed newcomer in Del Ray combines peach tea-infused gin, Lillet Blanc, squid ink, lemon syrup, and egg white ($10).

1. Flowers and Agave at Lucky Buns

2000 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Lucky Buns
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

After eight months of taste testing behind the bar, the budding burger chain’s first full-blown cocktail list came to life last summer. Due to its insane popularity, this $11 creation (house blended tequila, Cocchi Americano, hibiscus ginger, lime, and soda) hasn’t budged since. “People would revolt if we took it off,” beverage director Fabian Malone tells Eater, adding its floral notes translate well in winter.

2000 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

2. Buckshots for Bambi at Service Bar DC

926-928 U St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Service Bar
Service Bar/Facebook

The master mixologists at this tiny cocktail destination stir Glenfiddich 12-year scotch with sparkling wine, baked apple and pear, spices, lemon, and amaro ($13).

926-928 U St NW
Washington, DC 20001

3. El Sueño at El Techo

606 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

This warming beverage, designed for sipping inside the Shaw bar’s tented jungle oasis upstairs, contains coffee, Gran Agave tequila or Ilegal mezcal, allspice, RumChata liqueur, and whipped cream inside a mug ($12).

606 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

4. Kentucky Heart Attack at McClellan's Retreat

2031 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
McClellan’s Retreat
McClellan’s Retreat/official photo

The Dupont Circle watering hole’s new retox menu — titled “Bad New Year’s Decisions” — includes this potent cocktail complete with Maker’s Mark bourbon, house-made vermouth butter syrup, and Fee Bros. walnut bitters ($13).

2031 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

5. Year of the Boar at Left Door

1345 S St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Left Door
Left Door/official photo

For the new year, bar manager Mick Perrigo created a piping hot option using the Baltimore Whiskey Company’s Pechuga-style Apple Brandy — which takes inspiration from mezcal made with chicken by throwing a Maryland country ham into the still — Calvados, amaro, apple cider, and cinnamon. It’s all topped off with a jerky garnish ($14).

1345 S St NW
Washington, DC 20009

6. Ashigaru at O-Ku DC

1274 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002

Union Market’s sleek Japanese staple is serving a shochu cocktail ($14) mixed with hot water in a traditional style called oyuwari. The cocktail features unique flavors like a genmaicha (Japanese brown rice green tea) cordial and lemon oleo-saccharum — the sweet oil that results from combining sugar and lemon peels. The name doubles as a history lesson, referring to the peasant foot soldiers employed by the samurai class during the Japanese feudal era.

1274 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

7. Smoke & Agni at Pappe

1317 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

Apple brandy, made in the style of mezcal from Baltimore Spirit Company, joins honey, fresh ginger, and lemon ($12) in this light-reflecting elixir. Agni means fire in Sanskrit.

1317 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

8. The Sweet Potato at The Dabney

122 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001

Brad Langdon, who was recently named bar manager of the Michelin-starred hideaway in Blagden Alley, just added this seasonal elixir to the lineup. The delicate drink features Sacred Bond Brandy, St. Elizabeth allspice dram, sweet potato cordial, lime, and egg white ($15).

122 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001

9. Buon Natale at Quill

1200 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20036

The Jefferson’s swanky hotel bar warms up drinkers on its newly tented patio while capitalizing on the cognac craze, spiking hot cocoa with Brisson VS alongside salted caramel syrup ($19).

1200 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

10. Cherry Coffee at Momofuku CCDC

1090 I St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Keep the holiday spirit alive with amaretto, cherry cordial, and coconut cocktail in a cup ($15). David Chang’s CityCenter restaurant is also serving a spicy hot chocolate with bourbon, cayenne, and mint marshmallows.

1090 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001

11. High Noon at DBGB Kitchen & Bar

931 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Daniel Boulud’s expense account-friendly restaurant, which offers happy hour seven days a week, crafts this cocktail with bourbon, tequila, cherry Heering liqueur, cinnamon syrup, and a dash of orange with angostura bitters ($12).

931 H St NW
Washington, DC 20001

12. The Amazing Americano at The Watergate Hotel

2650 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037

Irish and Americano coffee, heavy cream, and a cinnamon-sugar blend go into this drink at D.C.’s iconic The Watergate Hotel. The festive and filling beverage ($16) is also the hotel’s debut “Cocktail of the Month” — a new program created by lead bartender Kal Lemma. Next up for February: Love Drunk.

2650 Virginia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037

13. Kill Bill Toddy at Detour Coffee

946 N Jackson St, Arlington, VA 22201

Swap hot coffee for a hot cocktail at the 1-year-old coffee shop and bistro in Clarendon. This pick comes with Satsuma Shiranami Shochu made from sweet potatoes, green tea, Meyer lemon syrup, lemon zest, and zen floating flowers ($10).

946 N Jackson St
Arlington, VA 22201

14. Catch 75 at Catch on the Ave

2419 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301

To whip up this frothy brunch cocktail, the nautical-themed newcomer in Del Ray combines peach tea-infused gin, Lillet Blanc, squid ink, lemon syrup, and egg white ($10).

2419 Mt Vernon Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301

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