The Drink: The Zola, aka The White Knight
The Location: Zola, 800 F St. NW, (202) 654-0999
The Price: $9.50
The Buzz: When you don’t work in downtown D.C., it’s pretty easy to forget that this is the nation’s capital. But even with this convenient amnesia, I function under a rule of avoiding possible tourist traps at all cost. Which is why I’ve never been to Zola. I’ve heard only good things about the restaurant, but its proximity to the (children-attracting) Spy Museum made me wary. Would I spill my drink when a fanny pack bumped into me? After a matinee at E Street (If you haven’t already, go see No Country for Old Men.), I ventured in. I’m not sure what it’s like in peak hours, but the bar is the perfect place to be midafternoon. It was almost empty, with huge, gorgeous windows that offer a nice view. Their cocktails have cutesy spy-themed names (Black Tie Bawl, the Blue Sting), but the concoctions are the real deal. I chose the White Knight, which is similar to a cosmo but a bit classier with the use of quality liquor (Turi vodka, a rye vodka from Estonia, and Cointreau), a substitution of white cranberries for cranberry juice, and crushed limes instead of lime juice. It’s the right balance of still tasting like vodka (I don’t care what people say, vodka has a taste), but having enough fruit to take the edge off and add some more flavors. And the best part is the little pile of liquor-soaked Craisins sitting in the bottom of the glass. I had no shame eating them with my fingers. And at least if someone had given me a look, I could always just claim I was from out of town.