The parades, the balls, the banquets—Washington D.C. is aflutter with Inauguration anticipation. The excitement is also trailing behind the bar, with mixologists crafting drinks inspired by the President and First Lady. So if you can’t snag a ticket to a swanky black-tie affair, head to one of these bars for a celebratory sipper, or mix up a batch at home while watching the festivities.
Recipe courtesy Christian Eck, bar manager at Art & Soul, Washington, D.C.
Bar manager Christian Eck makes syrup crafted from berries found in Obama’s favorite flavor of tea; it also tinges the drink a decidedly Democratic shade of blue. He uses Green Hat Gin as it’s the first gin distiller in the District since Prohibition, and tops it all with Champagne because after all, the Inauguration is a celebration.
1½ ounces Green Hat Gin
2 ounces blackberry-infused syrup (recipe below)
2 ounces Champagne
Stick of blackberries and raspberries, for garnish
Combine the gin and the blackberry-infused syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain the mixture into a chilled rocks glass filled with ice, and top with Champagne. Garnish with the stick of berries.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup blackberries
Combine the sugar, water and blackberries in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove it from the heat, let it cool and strain out the solids. Store the syrup in the refrigerator in a container with a lid.
The First Lady’s Southside
Recipe courtesy Oyamel, Washington, D.C.
This libation at José Andrés’ modern Mexican restaurant was inspired by the Southside cocktail—a refreshing, gin-based Mojito riff, which some believe was created during Prohibition to cover up the taste of bootlegged liquor. Oyamel’s version eschews gin for Tequila, and adds a fragrant syrup and earthy beet juice. Some say the ramped-up healthy variant also evokes the First Lady’s healthy eating campaign.
10–15 mint leaves (reserve a few for garnish)
1½ ounces beet juice
½ ounce housemade lime- and lemon verbena-infused syrup (recipe below)
¼ ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila
Lemon verbena blossoms, for garnish
Place the mint leaves, beet juice, lime- and lemon verbena-infused syrup and lime juice in a cocktail shaker and muddle the mint leaves gently to release their aroma. Add the Tequila and ice, and shake the mixture until it’s well chilled. Strain the cocktail through a fine-mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass that has one large round ice ball. Garnish with a few mint leaves and lemon verbena blossoms.
Lime- and lemon verbena-infused syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 slice peel
¼ cup lemon verbena leaves
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, boil the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Remove the mixture from the heat. Next, add the lime peel and the lemon verbena leaves. Let steep for 20 minutes or until the desired flavor is achieved. Remove the solids, then let the syrup cool completely. Store it in the refrigerator in a container with a lid.
Recipe courtesy Park Hyatt Hotel, Washington, D.C.
After the pomp and circumstance, the oath of office and the dizzying appearances at Inaugural balls, the President and the First Lady will return to their residence for the next four years. The Park Hyatt’s ode to the world famous address mixes Bourbon and vermouth with a porter from local brewery Port City, sweetened with Bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup from Michigan.
2 ounces Knob Creek Bourbon
½ ounce dry vermouth
¼ ounce Port City Porter and BLiS maple syrup reduction (recipe below)
Dash of Angostura bitters
Cherry, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the Bourbon, vermouth, reduction and bitters, and stir until chilled. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with the cherry.
To make the Port City Porter and BLiS maple syrup reduction
Add equal parts Porter and maple syrup to a saucepan, and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half. Let cool, and store in the refrigerator in a container with a lid.