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Where: Tonic, 3155 Mount Pleasant St. NW
Bartender response: “Like something you’d drink at a cookout?”
What we got: Tanqueray, lime juice, and blackberry schnapps served over ice
How it tasted: Tart and boozy. The lime juice was the standout element in this cocktail, and almost entirely masked the Tanqueray.Improv points (1–5): 3. We appreciated our bartender’s commitment to the conceptual, rather than the literal. Though the blackberry schnapps gave it a pleasant, bluish tinge, this drink’s most patriotic note was the fact that it’d pair excellently with apple pie.
Where: Cashion’s Eat Place, 1819 Columbia Road NW
Bartender response: “Surely.”
What we got: Prosecco, Aperol, and grapefruit juice served over ice with a lemon twist
How it tasted: If we were writers of terrible tropes, we’d go so far as to call this drink a firework in our mouth—you know, since it’s fizzy and fruity. But really, it was a refreshing Champagne cocktail.
Improv points (1–5): 4. The components of this drink might have skewed too heavily European, but we enjoyed the bitter balance of the Aperol against the sweeter prosecco and grapefruit juice. A bonus point for freedom: The French apertif lent a rocket’s-glare red to the whole glass.
Where: Ardeo + Bardeo, 3311 Connecticut Ave. NW
Bartender response: “Is American liquor patriotic?”
What we got: Woodford Reserve bourbon, peach schnapps, and orange bitters served up with a black cherry
How it tasted: It’s tough to go wrong with a drink based on Woodford Reserve, but the peach schnapps were exceptionally fake fruit-tasting after a few sips. The bitters kept the manufactured flavor in check, though.
Improv points (1–5): 2. This was a spin on a Manhattan, with schnapps instead of vermouth and an extra kick from the orange bitters. What we liked most was our bartender’s very American pour: Served in a bigger martini glass than those we usually see, this thing, were it soda, would have nearly violated Mike Bloomberg’s proposed ban.