Much fuss has been made (often here at City Paper) about the fabled $14 cocktail. Just a few years ago, even a high-rolling defense contractor might have balked at a $14 Old Fashioned, but these days they’re the norm. Luckily there’s a respite for lushes who love a bargain—the influx of D.C. distilleries. In addition to getting buzzed on free samples during tastings, many offer quality craft cocktails at wholesale prices. Below are some of the best options for a distillery discount.
The cocktail: Compound Bow
The distillery: Jos. A. Magnus & Co.
What’s in it: Lychee-infused Royal Seal Gin, Seal Vodka, pink grapefruit
Bonus points: Gin distiller Nicole Hassoun says, “We’re hungry, everything we do here is out of hunger.” As such, this drink contains what seems like the pulp from half a grapefruit.
The cocktail: Mule it Over
The distillery: One Eight Distilling
What’s in it: District Made Vodka, house-made ginger liqueur, lemon, angostura bitters, nutmeg, mint
Bonus points: Instead of paying for a cocktail at the bar, One Eight passes out drink tickets in the form of trinkets like plastic army men and pirate’s gold. This is great practice for when the economy breaks down and we return to the barter system.
The cocktail: The Redbeard
The distillery: Cotton & Reed
What’s in it: Cotton & Reed White Rum, lime juice, Campari, ginger beer
Bonus points: This drink is garnished with a darling dried blood orange that wouldn’t look out of place in the potpourri bowl of an upscale bar bathroom (where this drink would inevitably cost $16).
The cocktail: Famiglia Reale
The distillery: Republic Restoratives
What’s in it: Civic Vodka, Campari, vermouth, champagne
Bonus points: The bar staff here has perfected the art of cocktail shaking as performance, so watch the careful choreography while you wait.
The cocktail: Rye Bandit
The distillery: Don Ciccio & Figli
What’s in it: Redemption Bourbon, Luna Amara, Amaro delle Sirene
Bonus points: The tasting room also offers large bottles of pre-batched cocktails for purchase to go, perfect for bringing to a party or for just sticking a straw in and going to town.
The cocktail: Bees Knees
The distillery: Green Hat
What’s in it: Green Hat Gin, lemon, honey syrup
Bonus points: For $5, you can either get a disappointing footlong sandwich or a delicious, locally made cocktail. It’s your choice!