Where: Brixton, 901 U St. NW
Bartender response: I’ll have to think about this one.
What we got: Hendrick’s gin, St-Germain, cranberry juice, lemonade, and creme de cassis served up with a lime slice.
How it tasted: Mostly sweet, but slightly floral with a hint of tartness.
Improv points (1-5): 3. A lime slice? A nightcap should be neat or at least simple. The cast of five ingredients makes for a delicious troupe, but would work better during the climax than the denouement of a night out.
Where: Cafe Saint-Ex, 1847 14th St. NW
Bartender response: “I’m going to make you a real old-fashioned. An old-fashioned old-fashioned. It’s gonna be the best one you ever had.”
What we got: An old-fashioned. Old Overholt rye, simple syrup, lemon, “selected bitters,” served on the rocks
How it tasted: Cinnamon-y and warm with a lemony nose. We’ve had many old-fashioneds in this town, and while this one may not be the best, it was very good.
Improv points (1-5): 4. The old-fashioned seems to be D.C. bartenders’ favorite trick when they’re not sure what to make. Sometimes it’s a good pick, and sometimes it isn’t. For a pre-bedtime offering, the spicy warmth really worked.
Where: Big Bear Cafe, 1700 First St. NW
Bartender response: “Hmm, do you want coffee?”
What we got: “Mr. Cummings’ Cocktail.” Earl Grey-infused gin, lemon juice, honey, served up.
How it tasted: The Earl Grey tea is the star of this cocktail. The bergamot flavor in the gin, plus lemon and honey, gave it a tart and medicinal taste—but in a good way.
Improv points (1-5): 3. Earl Grey tea reminds us of getting up in the morning, not going to bed. But combined with the alcohol’s depressant qualities, it was a pleasant sip to carry us off to dreamland.