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Where: Mintwood Place, 1813 Columbia Rd. NW

Bartender reaction: “You don’t want a shot of something?”

What we got: Bourbon, ROOT liqueur, and peach bitters, served up and garnished with black cherries

Price: $11

How it tasted: Unlike, say, Bénédictine, ROOT is a liqueur that amps up, rather than mellows out, the bite of bourbon; its birchy, smoky notes were on full display here. The peach bitters sweetened the deal. (And we shamelessly fished for the black cherries once we had finished sipping.)

Improv points (1–5): 4. We didn’t really want a shot of something—that seemed a little too pat—so our bartender made us a fair next step. We felt pretty classy while downing this, given its small-batch components, and it packed a good amount of alcohol into our system without tasting like something right out of the bottle.

Where: Tryst, 2459 18th St. NW

Bartender reaction: “So I should pretend it’s not 6:30 p.m.?”

What we got: French-pressed coffee with a shot of Jameson

Price: $7

How it tasted: Warm and woody; Tryst serves Counter Culture Coffee, and that flavor note is de rigeurwith the distributor’s more popular brews.

Improv points (1–5): 5. Yeah, this was exactly what we wanted out of a last-call drink: Something to give us enough of a wave to go wherever the night takes us, even if that’s straight into bed.

Where: Bistro Bohem, 600 Florida Ave. NW

Bartender reaction: “Well, we have a margarita.”

What we got: Bohemian Margarita, with Broker’s Gin, mead, and lemon juice

Price: $7

How it tasted: Tart and herbal

Improv points (1–5): 3. The speed at which our drink was produced suggested it was a quick go-to drink for the bartender (a boon for the tired cocktail crafter). But the end result was still a margarita, which is much more of a happy-hour drink than a take-me-home concoction.