Spring is in full swing, which means seasonal cocktail ingredients like citrus and coconut are back at D.C. bars. And savory drinks with salty and briny flavor profiles remain a top trend as temperatures continue to rise.Read More
Spring Cocktails to Sip Right Now in D.C.
Where to find drinks bursting with florals, fruit, and savory ingredients
Adams Morgan’s Bolivian cocktail bar unleashes a sea of late spring cocktails on Friday, May 19. The “Isla Del Sol,” named for the Bolivian island in Lake Titicaca, stars Singani 63, Torontel pisco, falernum, api (fermented purple corn), lemon, ginger ale, and a Pasankalla (popcorn) garnish. The “Ukumari” — which means “Andean bear” in Quechua, Bolivia’s indigenous language — loops in Singani 63, Amaro Nonino, lime, peach liqueur, and mocochinchi (peach) juice. Sample the fresh lineup inside or right out front on its new pint-sized patio.
Conservatory at Gravitas
The dreamy bar above chef Matt Baker’s Michelin-starred Gravitas is the spot to sample seasonal gin flights served with accoutrements, ice, and choice of Fever Tree club soda or tonic ($32). Or opt for one of bar director Judy Elahi’s snazzy new cocktails like the “Spring Blossom” ($22) made with J. Rieger Kansas City gin, Berto dry vermouth, Chateau De Breuil VSOP Calvados, lime, mint, rose water, and Aquafaba. Check out Gravitas’s cocktail menu here and Conservatory’s here.
The cocktail lounge inside The Dupont Circle Hotel has transformed its interior into a springtime seasonal experience dubbed “Dreaming in Color.” Along with bright, new floral designs around the bar, there are several botanical cocktails to sip on. Taylor Swift fans should appreciate the aptly-named “Lavender Haze” that features Absolut Elyx, Italicus, Lillet lavender foam, and rosemary.
The chic Mexican eatery’s spring cocktail lineup from beverage director James Simpson is meant to evoke the strength of women and female superheroes. The $16 “La Mujer Maravilla,” which translates to “Wonder Woman,” is made with pisco, gin, lemon, egg white, Fresno chile, and beet.
Residents Cafe & Bar
The spring menu at Residents Cafe & Bar keeps cherry blossom season alive while exploring herbaceous flavors. The “Thai Basil” ($17) is mixed with young Thai coconut, aquavit, pineapple and Ancho Reyes Verde, while “The Bee Vol. 4” ($17) is their latest riff on the classic gin cocktail, infused with elderflower, whey, bee pollen, and Nordic mead. And if you’re feeling spicy, a bright mezcal jalapeno cocktail is colored for spring with green chartreuse.
The patio for this Four Seasons Hotel restaurant officially opened for the season in early May with a new menu full of springy cocktails. Sip on the “Kitsugi” made with Suntory Toki Japanese whisky, campari, raspberry, chamomile, grapefruit, and lemon or the “La Palabra,” a mix of mezcal, green chartreuse, kiwi syrup, and lime.
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Among this downtown restaurant’s New Orleans-influenced menu are two new drinks for spring. The “White St. Charles Punch” puts a spin on the Louisiana classic by subbing white port for ruby, orange instead of lemon saccharum, and orange bitters for angostura. If you’re in the mood for something frozen, their “Ponchatoula Strawberry Shandy” uses Abita Strawberry Lager and organic strawberry puree.
Eaton DC hotel’s hidden cocktail lair has a selection of boozy and spirit-free cocktails for the season. The savory “Garden of Live Flowers” ($18) infuses rhum agricole, R&R Assembly gin and Bitter Bianco with snap peas, cardamom, aloe, black pepper, coconut, and lemon. The $13 “Awakening” comes sans-alcohol, with ube milk tea, coconut, yuzu, and a reclaimed pineapple rind.
Immigrant Food+ at Planet Word Museum
Taste your way through Immigrant Food’s martini menu with their new spring martini flight ($23), served at their location adjacent to the Planet Word museum. The flight comes with three selections out of six available martinis, with flavor profiles ranging from spiced rum and espresso to grapefruit and maraschino.
In addition to a new “Martini Hour,” featuring raw bar specials and martinis from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. until close all week long, The Smith is also introducing a selection of new cocktails for spring. The “V&T” — a play on a vodka and tonic — is made with rhubarb, lemon, and elderflower tonic. “Got Milk Punch” features clarified milk, mezcal, green tea, jasmine, kombu, and calamansi fruit.
Dirty Habit’s courtyard patio is officially open as a French-Italian springtime pop-up dubbed “Riviera at Dirty Habit.” Northern Virginia native and hospitality veteran JR Rena recently joined the team as beverage director. His debut menu not only features drinks like the frozen “Medusa Complex,” made frozen rose, a lychee cordial, and shiso shrub ($16) but a popsicle cart stocked with both homemade N/A popsicles and a rotating spiked variety ($11) made with vodka, melon, pistachio, yuzu, avocado, tequila, and chile salt.
The cutely named “Sonic the Grapefruit” spritz is now live at The Grill. The drink is made with its titled fruit four ways, with juice, bitters, tonic, and liqueur. Sip on this drink, adorned with none other than a slice of charred grapefruit, while taking in views of the Potomac River.
ilili Restaurant DC
Head to the Wharf for a new selection of spring cocktails and spirit-free beverages at Lebanese restaurant ilili. Crafted by mixologist Rachid Hdouche, a lineup of $10 bottled mocktails includes the “Levantine Lemonade” made with fresh lemon juice, mint and simple syrup, and a grapefruit thyme soda. If you’d rather sip on something savory, “A Little Pick’le’ Me Up” packs a punch with Jun gin, pickled shishito peppers, onion brine, and an arak spirit rinse.
Taco Bamba (multiple locations)
Chef Victor Albisu’s homegrown taco shop slings a “Honeydew Punch” packed with mezcal, Agricole rum, honeydew melon puree, ginger-fresno laurel syrup, and lime. Its newest location in Herndon, Virginia is drawing early notice for its standout cocktail program.