What: Piece de Resistance, with Maui Pineapple Rum, Cocchi Americano, white cranberry juice, clarified lemon juice, house-made grenadine, and water
Where: McClellan’s Retreat, 2031 Florida Avenue NW, (202) 265-6270
What You Should Be Drinking: Bar manager Brian Nixon thinks his Cosmopolitan-inspired drink tastes better without a chill, but it turns out room temperature cocktails date back to the late 1800s when ice was a rare commodity. They’ve recently made a comeback in several cities, but D.C. has yet to catch on to the tepid tipple trend. For the Piece de Resistance, Nixon adds agar agar (an algae by-product) to lemon juice and strains it before combining the clarified juice with Maui Pineapple Rum, Cocchi Americano, white cranberry juice, grenadine, and water (to replace the dilution ice provides). It’s served up in a coupe glass with a lemon peel. “We try not to limit ourselves when it comes to drinks,” Nixon says.
Why You Should Be Drinking It: Just as serving white wine too cold dulls its aromas and flavors, chilling cocktails can mask their ingredients. The pineapple rum (cleaner and less cloying than other brands, Nixon says) stays front and center, and because the clarified lemon juice is pulp-free, the drink doesn’t end up frothy after its shaken. The result is boozy yet balanced, with juicy fruit tempered by vermouth. While it could technically be batched, Nixon prefers to prepare it à la minute to preserve the fresh citrus taste. And if that important phone call beckons—this drink won’t turn warm.