DC Cocktail Week: Retro trend helps inspire this year’s menu

WASHINGTON — While you’re gathering ingredients next week for that home-cooked feast, consider stepping out to unwind and sample some choice food and drink from the professionals.

D.C. Cocktail Week is right around the corner.

From Nov. 13 to 19, over 40 area restaurants in D.C., Maryland and Virginia will offer affordable craft cocktails as well as small bite pairings. Here are a few examples:

  • Occidental Grill & Seafood pairs a “Cthulhu” (mezcal, avocado, cilantro, lime and chili-lime bitters) with octopus tacos for $16.
  • Bar Dupont pairs its “Fine and Brandy” (American applejack brandy, French cognac, Van Gogh coffee liqueur and pomegranate) with spiced pork belly and Asian slaw for $15.
  • District Distilling Co. pairs the “U Street Groves” cocktail (white rum, Pur Likor elderflower liqueur, apple cider and fresh lemon and clove syrup) with coq au vin for $25.
  • Silver’s locations in Cathedral Heights and Bethesda pair their take on an old fashioned with “KoMex” short rib tacos for $15.
  • Arlington’s Baba offers three pairing options, including a “Zastava Sidecar” with crispy shrimp for $14.

“The Cocktail Week specials really help to illustrate how a skillful pairing can elevate the flavor, the texture, and really the whole dining experience,” said I-Shi Patterson of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, which organizes the annual event.

The specials also reflect how the retro cocktail trend complements modern cuisine. At Silver, for example, the KoMex taco plays off the old fashioned’s flavors in more than one way, said beverage director Richard Torres: The brandy cherry syrup complements the kick from the taco’s gochujang sauce, he said, and “the smokiness from the bourbon really, really goes well with the short rib.”

And at Indique, a gin and tonic (using house-made garam masala tonic water) accentuates the flavors of their lamb shank. “I would call it a very good marriage,” said co-owner Surfy Rahman.

“With the advent of so many different cocktails,” Rahman said, “we have realized that if you infuse some of these spices with these cocktails, it comes out really well.”

For more information about participating restaurants and their offerings, check out the D.C. Cocktail Week Web page.

Jack Pointer

Jack Pointer is a writer and editor with a variety of news and publishing experience, including more than a decade at The Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune.

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