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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.
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Noche Morada at Seven Reasons

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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).

Horchata Colada at Service Bar DC

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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

Secretariat at BRESCA

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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

Piña Covardier at The Red Hen

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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).

Otoño at Barcelona Wine Bar

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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.

Panelazo at Serenata

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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

Hot Toddy at Nina May

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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

The 43 at Gerrard Street Kitchen

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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

Scotch Daddy at Red Bear Brewing Co

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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

Chestnuts Roasting in the Caribbean at Quadrant Bar & Lounge

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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

24k Magic at Poca Madre

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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

Thread of Life at Karma Modern Indian

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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

Schümli Pflümli at Stable DC

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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

Tennessee Transplant at Crimson DC

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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

Red Hot Sangria at Boqueria

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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

Hot & Spicy at Kingbird

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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

North Pole Party at Bar Deco

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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

Future Sketches at ARTECHOUSE

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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

Tomba La Bomba at Officina

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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

Winter Wallbanger at Chloe

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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).

Noche Morada at Seven Reasons

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).

Horchata Colada at Service Bar DC

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.

Service Bar/official photo

Secretariat at BRESCA

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).

Bresca/official photo

Piña Covardier at The Red Hen

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).

Otoño at Barcelona Wine Bar

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.

Panelazo at Serenata

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.

Serenata/official photo

Hot Toddy at Nina May

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.

Nina May/official photo

The 43 at Gerrard Street Kitchen

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).

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

Scotch Daddy at Red Bear Brewing Co

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).

Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

Chestnuts Roasting in the Caribbean at Quadrant Bar & Lounge