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Bartenders have a knack for one-upping each other with weirder, more ridiculous drinking gimmicks. Blame it on all that booze, but it seems no ingredient or concept is off limits. We’ve rated these trends on a scale of quirky to utterly absurd, represented by the number of curly bartender mustaches. (More mustaches equals more ridiculous.)
Lip Balm Pairings
Where: Trummer’s on Main, 7134 Main St., Clifton, Va.
Huh? Homemade lip balms are paired with cocktails to enhance the flavors. Current pairings include a strawberry cocktail with basil lip balm and the Hemingway cocktail with mint lip balm.
Where: Chaplin’s Restaurant & Bar, 1501 9th St. NW
Huh? Instead of oysters, the restaurant floats dumplings in booze. A pork-filled wrapper is paired with Japanese whiskey and lemon, while a shrimp variety accompanies a gin drink.
Ice Cream Luge
Where: Pop’s SeaBar, 1817 Columbia Road NW
Huh? Using their tongues or a small spoon, guests carve a channel into a mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich, then pour a shot of amaro from one end into their months.
Real Bloody Mary
Where: Range, 5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 201
Huh? This literal translation of a bloody mary comes with pig’s blood consommé. It looks like iced tea.
Where: Bar Charley, 1825 18th St. NW
Huh? After blowtorching a cedar plank, a bartender turns a glass upside down to trap the smoke, then fills it with a big ice cube and a mix of cognac, cynar, and tobacco bitters—for $18.
Cotton Candy Old Fashioned
Where: Barmini, 855 E St. NW
Huh? The whiskey drink is poured over a fluff of angostura bitters-flavored cotton candy, dissolving it into the liquid.
Where: Soi 38, 2101 L St. NW
Huh? The Emperor’s Punch ($35 for two to four people) includes whiskey, lemon, tamarind syrup, Thai herbal tea, and chili bitters served in a teapot.