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The 43 cocktail at Gerrard Street Kitchen
The 43 cocktail at Gerrard Street Kitchen
Greg Powers/Gerrard Street Kitchen

20 Winter Cocktails to Drink Right Now

Plum Schnapps, fenugreek, and papaya juice all make appearances

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The 43 cocktail at Gerrard Street Kitchen
| Greg Powers/Gerrard Street Kitchen

There’s no better way to beat the wintertime blues than warming up next to a cozy cocktail. A flurry of D.C. bars and restaurants have been releasing mixed drinks that are designed to offer comfort from the cold.

Right now, seasonal drink ingredients are all about star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and other feel-good flavors. Others opt to import tropical options that cater to customers who dream of summertime piña coladas.

Here are 20 excellent cocktail options around D.C. right now.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Noche Morada at Seven Reasons

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2208 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 417-8563
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This bright escape from the cold features Ilegal mezcal, cilantro pisco, chicha-morada mix, and lime juice, garnished with Peruvian purple corn and fresh pineapple ($14).

2. Horchata Colada 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 U Street drinking den came up with a spin on piña colada that includes Reposado mezcal, spiced horchata, pineapple, and lime ($13). A touch of fenugreek also gives off a maple syrup aroma. “It ended up being a great winter and summer drink on account of the cinnamon, clove, and pineapple pairing,” co-owner Glendon Hartley says.

Service Bar/official photo

3. Secretariat at BRESCA

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1906 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 518-7926
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The Michelin-rated bistro draws liquid inspiration from the Boulevardier in this seasonal creation, combining bitterness from Nardini Amaro with a round juicy finish from Fonseca Bin 27 port. The $15, spirit-forward drink also features Clear Creek Kirshwasser, Wild Turkey Rye, and roasted quince syrup, all finished with a chocolate bitter shaving. Erskine Gwynne, the inventor of the Boulevardier, was a horse racing fan (hence the name).

Bresca/official photo

4. Piña Covardier at The Red Hen

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1822 1st St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 525-3021
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Bloomingdale’s beloved Italian restaurant makes a summertime pina colada for the cold via Whistlepig Rye, coconut-infused Campari, Giffard Pineapple Liqueur, and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino ($13).

5. Otoño at Barcelona Wine Bar

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1622 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 588-5500
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Logan Circle’s tapas hotspot unites the flavors of the season in one cool coupe glass ($12). There’s lemon juice, aquafaba, Willis Woods Boiled Cider, Amaro Nonino, Lustau Reserva, and a whole star anise garnish.

6. Panelazo at Serenata

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1280 4th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 920-7373
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Colombia’s prized Canelazo cocktail is the muse for this warm drink found behind the bar at the La Cosecha Latin American market. The $12 interpretation features a slight touch of anisette from Antioqueño Aguardiente. The clear mug also houses yuzu, lemongrass, Agua de Panela, cinnamon, and burnt clove for a hint of smokiness.

Serenata/official photo

7. Hot Toddy at Nina May

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1337 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 518-3609
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Logan Circle’s recently opened New American restaurant doesn’t mess too much with the cold-fighting winter classic ($11). Co-owner Danilo Simic’s version does the trick with grappa, scotch whiskey, hot water, cane syrup, lemon juice and peel, and star anise. A $10 Irish coffee also lets an age-old recipe speak for itself.

Nina May/official photo

8. The 43 at Gerrard Street Kitchen

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1515 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 232-7000
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The Darcy hotel’s new restaurant named this cocktail after a London nightclub that rose to fame during Prohibition. A George Dickel Rye base gets blended with Italicus, chamomile tea, ginger, and Baltimore bitters that carry a hint of Old Bay seasoning ($14).

The 43 cocktail at Gerrard Street Kitchen
The 43 cocktail at Gerrard Street Kitchen
Greg Powers/Gerrard Street Kitchen

9. Scotch Daddy at Red Bear Brewing Co

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209 M St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 849-6130
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NoMa’s gay-owned brewery has amassed a big following for its IPAs and lagers in its first year of business, but its strong cocktail program is also a reason to visit. This concoction comes with Virginia Highlands scotch and amaretto ($14).

Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

10. Chestnuts Roasting in the Caribbean at Quadrant Bar & Lounge

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1150 22nd St NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 835-0500
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Nuts, bourbon, and rum go into in this buttery Ritz-Carlton drink, built with chestnut vanilla bean syrup, fresh lemon juice, cream, and chocolate bitters. It’s garnished with a pineapple leaf and port for a pop of color. “The flavors remind me a lot of my mother’s cookies she makes every winter,” mixologist Christopher Mendenhall says.

Quadrant/official photo

11. 24k Magic at Poca Madre

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777 I Street NW, Techworld Plaza
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 838-5300
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Mezcal, carrot, agave, yuzu, and lava salt unite in this beautiful beverage named after a Bruno Mars song ($15).

Know PR/Poca Madre

12. Thread of Life at Karma Modern Indian

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611 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 898-0393
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A traditional margarita gets an Indian twist at Karma, with fresh papaya puree subbing in for lime and lemon in this $13 cocktail. Tequila and Aperol pair well with the fruit, which reappears on the rim in the form of papaya seeds mixed with salt.

Karma/official photo

13. Schümli Pflümli at Stable DC

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1324 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 733-4604
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Beverage director and co-owner Silvan Kraemer spotlights Switzerland’s iconic spirits across the after-dinner drinks list. This $11 pick-me-up stars Plum Schnapps alongside coffee, sugar, and whipped cream.

Stable/official photo

14. Tennessee Transplant at Crimson DC

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627 H St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 847-4459
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The lively lobby-level diner in the heart of Chinatown makes a milkshake for adults, spiking chocolate ice cream and peanut butter with Jack Daniel’s whiskey ($14).

Crimson/official photo

15. Red Hot Sangria at Boqueria

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777 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 552-3268
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The Barcelona-themed tapas place out of NYC offers a warming mug filled with red wine, bourbon, cherry, and cinnamon ($13).

Andrew Bui/Boqueria

16. Hot & Spicy at Kingbird

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2650 Virginia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037
(866) 709-6910
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The retro-chic restaurant tucked inside the historic Watergate hotel makes a cozy cup of Fords Gin, anise and clove syrup, apple cider, St. Germain, lemon, and chamomile tea, garnished with lemon peel and chamomile flower ($17).

Kingbird/official photo

17. North Pole Party at Bar Deco

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717 6th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 774-5867
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The Chinatown bar goes full-on apres ski mode with this caffeinated coupe of Breckenridge espresso vodka, Selva Rey Cacao Rum, Bailey’s Irish Cream, coffee, and nutmeg ($14).

Amanda Hoey/Bar Deco

18. Future Sketches at ARTECHOUSE

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1238 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024

The glowing white bar tucked inside Southwest’s high-tech art museum makes $14 cocktails that activate animations in an augmented reality app. The interactive menu plays off the new exhibit by Zach Lieberman, who uses unexpected ingredients in art. Requesting a “clear spirit and spicy flavor” profile, for instance, computes as Mexican street corn in a glass (Cholula, Tajin, sweet corn, peaches, lime, agave, and El Silencio mezcal).

Clarissa Villondo/Artechouse

19. Tomba La Bomba at Officina

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1120 Maine Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 747-5222
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This mixture of 6-year Sazerac rye, Braulio, Don Ciccio Nocino, green chartreuse, and tiki bitters ($16) is nice to sip while looking out at the Washington Channel below. Officina’s newly enclosed rooftop also has shotskis at the ready.

Officina/official photo

20. Winter Wallbanger at Chloe

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1331 4th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 313-7007
Visit Website

After sipping a Harvey Wallbanger with fresh juice while on vacation in Greece, a Chloe bartender returned with the inspiration to recreate a wintertime version of the 1970s classic. His comes with VSOP cognac, tequila, fresh Valencia orange juice, galliano, dash salt tincture, and Bittermans mole bitters ($14).

1. Noche Morada at Seven Reasons

2208 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

This bright escape from the cold features Ilegal mezcal, cilantro pisco, chicha-morada mix, and lime juice, garnished with Peruvian purple corn and fresh pineapple ($14).

2208 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

2. Horchata Colada at Service Bar DC

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

The master mixologists at this U Street drinking den came up with a spin on piña colada that includes Reposado mezcal, spiced horchata, pineapple, and lime ($13). A touch of fenugreek also gives off a maple syrup aroma. “It ended up being a great winter and summer drink on account of the cinnamon, clove, and pineapple pairing,” co-owner Glendon Hartley says.

926-928 U St NW
Washington, DC 20001

3. Secretariat at BRESCA

1906 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Bresca/official photo

The Michelin-rated bistro draws liquid inspiration from the Boulevardier in this seasonal creation, combining bitterness from Nardini Amaro with a round juicy finish from Fonseca Bin 27 port. The $15, spirit-forward drink also features Clear Creek Kirshwasser, Wild Turkey Rye, and roasted quince syrup, all finished with a chocolate bitter shaving. Erskine Gwynne, the inventor of the Boulevardier, was a horse racing fan (hence the name).

1906 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

4. Piña Covardier at The Red Hen

1822 1st St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Bloomingdale’s beloved Italian restaurant makes a summertime pina colada for the cold via Whistlepig Rye, coconut-infused Campari, Giffard Pineapple Liqueur, and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino ($13).

1822 1st St NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. Otoño at Barcelona Wine Bar

1622 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Logan Circle’s tapas hotspot unites the flavors of the season in one cool coupe glass ($12). There’s lemon juice, aquafaba, Willis Woods Boiled Cider, Amaro Nonino, Lustau Reserva, and a whole star anise garnish.

1622 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

6. Panelazo at Serenata

1280 4th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Serenata/official photo

Colombia’s prized Canelazo cocktail is the muse for this warm drink found behind the bar at the La Cosecha Latin American market. The $12 interpretation features a slight touch of anisette from Antioqueño Aguardiente. The clear mug also houses yuzu, lemongrass, Agua de Panela, cinnamon, and burnt clove for a hint of smokiness.

1280 4th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

7. Hot Toddy at Nina May

1337 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Nina May/official photo

Logan Circle’s recently opened New American restaurant doesn’t mess too much with the cold-fighting winter classic ($11). Co-owner Danilo Simic’s version does the trick with grappa, scotch whiskey, hot water, cane syrup, lemon juice and peel, and star anise. A $10 Irish coffee also lets an age-old recipe speak for itself.

1337 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

8. The 43 at Gerrard Street Kitchen

1515 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
The 43 cocktail at Gerrard Street Kitchen
The 43 cocktail at Gerrard Street Kitchen
Greg Powers/Gerrard Street Kitchen

The Darcy hotel’s new restaurant named this cocktail after a London nightclub that rose to fame during Prohibition. A George Dickel Rye base gets blended with Italicus, chamomile tea, ginger, and Baltimore bitters that carry a hint of Old Bay seasoning ($14).

1515 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

9. Scotch Daddy at Red Bear Brewing Co

209 M St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

NoMa’s gay-owned brewery has amassed a big following for its IPAs and lagers in its first year of business, but its strong cocktail program is also a reason to visit. This concoction comes with Virginia Highlands scotch and amaretto ($14).

209 M St NE
Washington, DC 20002

10. Chestnuts Roasting in the Caribbean at Quadrant Bar & Lounge

1150 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20037
Quadrant/official photo

Nuts, bourbon, and rum go into in this buttery Ritz-Carlton drink, built with chestnut vanilla bean syrup, fresh lemon juice, cream, and chocolate bitters. It’s garnished with a pineapple leaf and port for a pop of color. “The flavors remind me a lot of my mother’s cookies she makes every winter,” mixologist Christopher Mendenhall says.

1150 22nd St NW
Washington, DC 20037

11. 24k Magic at Poca Madre

777 I Street NW, Techworld Plaza, Washington, DC 20001
Know PR/Poca Madre

Mezcal, carrot, agave, yuzu, and lava salt unite in this beautiful beverage named after a Bruno Mars song ($15).

777 I Street NW, Techworld Plaza
Washington, DC 20001

12. Thread of Life at Karma Modern Indian

611 I St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Karma/official photo

A traditional margarita gets an Indian twist at Karma, with fresh papaya puree subbing in for lime and lemon in this $13 cocktail. Tequila and Aperol pair well with the fruit, which reappears on the rim in the form of papaya seeds mixed with salt.

611 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001

13. Schümli Pflümli at Stable DC

1324 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Stable/official photo

Beverage director and co-owner Silvan Kraemer spotlights Switzerland’s iconic spirits across the after-dinner drinks list. This $11 pick-me-up stars Plum Schnapps alongside coffee, sugar, and whipped cream.

1324 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

14. Tennessee Transplant at Crimson DC

627 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Crimson/official photo

The lively lobby-level diner in the heart of Chinatown makes a milkshake for adults, spiking chocolate ice cream and peanut butter with Jack Daniel’s whiskey ($14).

627 H St NW
Washington, DC 20001

15. Red Hot Sangria at Boqueria

777 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Andrew Bui/Boqueria

The Barcelona-themed tapas place out of NYC offers a warming mug filled with red wine, bourbon, cherry, and cinnamon ($13).

777 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

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16. Hot & Spicy at Kingbird

2650 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
Kingbird/official photo

The retro-chic restaurant tucked inside the historic Watergate hotel makes a cozy cup of Fords Gin, anise and clove syrup, apple cider, St. Germain, lemon, and chamomile tea, garnished with lemon peel and chamomile flower ($17).

2650 Virginia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037

17. North Pole Party at Bar Deco

717 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Amanda Hoey/Bar Deco

The Chinatown bar goes full-on apres ski mode with this caffeinated coupe of Breckenridge espresso vodka, Selva Rey Cacao Rum, Bailey’s Irish Cream, coffee, and nutmeg ($14).

717 6th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

18. Future Sketches at ARTECHOUSE

1238 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024
Clarissa Villondo/Artechouse

The glowing white bar tucked inside Southwest’s high-tech art museum makes $14 cocktails that activate animations in an augmented reality app. The interactive menu plays off the new exhibit by Zach Lieberman, who uses unexpected ingredients in art. Requesting a “clear spirit and spicy flavor” profile, for instance, computes as Mexican street corn in a glass (Cholula, Tajin, sweet corn, peaches, lime, agave, and El Silencio mezcal).

1238 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024

19. Tomba La Bomba at Officina

1120 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024
Officina/official photo

This mixture of 6-year Sazerac rye, Braulio, Don Ciccio Nocino, green chartreuse, and tiki bitters ($16) is nice to sip while looking out at the Washington Channel below. Officina’s newly enclosed rooftop also has shotskis at the ready.

1120 Maine Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024

20. Winter Wallbanger at Chloe

1331 4th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

After sipping a Harvey Wallbanger with fresh juice while on vacation in Greece, a Chloe bartender returned with the inspiration to recreate a wintertime version of the 1970s classic. His comes with VSOP cognac, tequila, fresh Valencia orange juice, galliano, dash salt tincture, and Bittermans mole bitters ($14).

1331 4th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

Related Maps