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Where: Hank’s Oyster Bar, 1624 Q St. NW
Bartender response: “Yeah, absolutely.”
What we got: Orange juice with strawberry pecan syrup and a squeeze of lemon, topped off with club soda in a wine glass over shaved ice
How it tasted: Tropical, but not too sweet, with plenty of fizz and a hint of earthiness from the pecans
Improv points (1–5): 4. If our bartender told us this was a real cocktail, we would have believed it.
Where: Bar Pilar, 1833 14th St. NW
Bartender response: “Oh, OK, sure.”
What we got: Tonic water, lemon juice, and honey syrup with a lemon twist served shaken over ice
How it tasted: Citrusy and tart. The honey syrup took the edge off the lemony elements, but wasn’t flavorful otherwise. But coupled with the tonic water, this was a pleasantly fizzy, refreshing treat that avoided the often too-sweet dregs of lemonade.
Improv points (1–5): 1. This is the nonalcoholic incarnation of the Bee’s Knees, a cocktail on Bar Pilar’s drink menu that’s made with Plymouth Gin. Though we’d happily enjoy it in lieu of the boozier option, it’s a simple thing.
Where: Busboys & Poets, 2021 14th St. NW
Bartender response: “Not a problem.”
What we got: Pomegranate juice and lemonade served on the rocks
How it tasted: This was a bit fresher than whatever bottled version likely exists, but both elements were too oversugared for our liking. A less sweet pomegranate juice, or less sweet lemonade, would’ve made for a more easily imbibed beverage. As it was, we had to alternate with sips of water.
Improv points (1–5): 2. We suppose our bartender could’ve just given us an Arnold Palmer.