Birthday booze.
June 12, 2009 10:38 AM   Subscribe

My 21st birthday is coming up in a few months. I would like to celebrate this with one well-crafted cocktail at a bar, but I am at a loss as to which one and where to get it. I will be spending my 21st birthday in DC while visiting my folks.

Things I have enjoyed before (admittedly, at various house parties):

-Rum and coke
-Whiskey and coke
-Peach schnapps and a bit of orange juice

Things I do not like:


I admit I have not had much in the booze area. I am also not one to get drunk.

I like booze where you can't taste the alcohol part of the drink very much but you get to taste the various flavors of the alcoholic drinks. I prefer something that will not burn or get me drunk after drinking it.
posted by kldickson to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was going to recommend a Manhattan as a fantastic go-to for a celebratory cocktail but, uh, you can really taste the alcohol. There are some delicious cocktails at Bourbon in Adams Morgan. Some of the ones they offer are much less strong than what's on the Manhattan menu but still designed around the star ingredient (betcha can't guess).

I would link their menu but their website crashes browsers. There's a little info about their cocktails in the Yelp reviews.
posted by juliplease at 10:46 AM on June 12, 2009

Whiskey sour or a Manhattan. I'm not a big fan of mixing my hooch with other, lesser things but those two drinks are pretty tasty.

Gin and tonic, too. A great summer drink, very refreshing.

As for where to get them, I do not frequent the classier establishments in DC so I will be no help. If you need cans of cheap domestic beer (read: Natty Boh, Schlitz, etc.) then I may be of some help.
posted by Loto at 10:47 AM on June 12, 2009

If you like absinthe, you may appreciate other anise-flavored liquor: sambuca, pastis, ouzo, anything else on this list.
posted by mkb at 10:49 AM on June 12, 2009

Also, have you tried real beer or only shitty yellow lager? Big difference in flavor.
posted by mkb at 10:50 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

A classic Tom Collins is delicious--especially in the heat--and goes down like a citrus cooler as opposed to a booze bomb. Reclaim the Tom Collins, my friends!
posted by Skot at 10:55 AM on June 12, 2009

The best cocktails in DC are in Alexandria, at PX. It's one of those speak-easy style bars - it's ont the corner above Eammon's fish and chips. It's pricey, but the cocktails are fantastic. Its a pretty swank place, you should be somewhat dressed up.
posted by foodmapper at 10:56 AM on June 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you can handle mint (real mint with its more herb-like taste and not the stuff in say, toothpaste or ice cream), I'd recommend a mojito. It's not particularly complex, but it's perfect for the summer heat, light, and it's just slightly sugary.

I don't know whether you're planning on having a classy dinner with family or if you're going out with friends, but I've also found that a huge part of how good or bad drinks are is (obviously) related to the bartender. A particular pet peeve is when bartenders think they're being nice and slip you a little more alcohol in the drink than it should have. I don't know how to prevent that though. (leave out the fact that it's your 21st? be extra uncharming??)
posted by mittenedsex at 11:02 AM on June 12, 2009

A margarita, on the rocks with salt.
posted by gaspode at 11:04 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wisdom is uber-cool, and the bartenders there really know their stuff. It's still pretty much under the radar and is a bit off the beaten path, so you won't have to wade through a crowd of frat boys to get to the bar, and you'll actually be able to have a conversation with the mix-masters. Their drink menu is very descriptive, so you'll know what you're getting, or you can just tell the server the situation and let him make a suggestion. It really would be a great place for the first legal cocktail.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:08 AM on June 12, 2009

Is it on a weekday or weekend? Weekday is much better for getting personal service -- talking to the bartender (or, as some prefer, "mixologist"), getting their full attention, and getting something great.

That said, look through some past Got Plans chats on (or post a new question next Thursday). They somewhat regularly recommend certain bartenders / bars that make the best drinks.
posted by inigo2 at 11:09 AM on June 12, 2009

If this were still summer or spring I'd recommend a well-made Manhattan - exactly what a cocktail should be in that it is all booze, and yet the burn is pleasant and warming rather than harsh. But in the summertime, nothing is better than a mojito made from scratch.
posted by muddgirl at 11:19 AM on June 12, 2009

"...winter or spring..."
posted by muddgirl at 11:19 AM on June 12, 2009

They make excellent mohitos at the hip cuban-ish restaurant in old town Alexandria at roughly king and washington (give or take a couple blocks in either direction on king)
posted by paultopia at 11:30 AM on June 12, 2009

Apple cider and brandy works pretty well.
posted by etoyasu at 11:34 AM on June 12, 2009

Seconding Wisdom, it's the best cocktail lounge in the DC area. I do not second a Manhattan, because while they are made of awesome, they are also made mostly of booze, ice, and a cherry at the bottom. Whiskey sours, in comparison, taste like unicorns and cupcakes and just a kick of whiskey.

You haven't mentioned gin, but I like a nice gin gimlet on humid days. Wisdom won't douse their gimlets with Rose's, so you've got a safe bet for a fresh, summery drink.
posted by zoomorphic at 11:44 AM on June 12, 2009

Apple Cider (not apple juice) and Whiskey is pretty yummy. (I put ice in mine, dunno if that is silly or not)
posted by OwlBoy at 12:09 PM on June 12, 2009

Tom Collins!
posted by jckll at 12:22 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you like rum drinks, you might like a Dark and Stormy, which is dark rum and ginger beer. It's got a bit of a kick from the ginger beer, but no sharp alcohol taste.

Also maybe a Pimm's cup? Complex flavor, very light and refreshing, won't get you toasted.
posted by Diablevert at 12:36 PM on June 12, 2009

-Singapore sling is an awesome summertime fruity type drink.
-Manhattan Iced Tea also goes great in the summertime.
posted by torquemaniac at 1:47 PM on June 12, 2009

Nthing mojito, or the similar caipirinha. Or just a good margarita.

Guilty pleasure: In DC, Rosa Mexicano in Penn Quarter has excellent frozen pomegranate margaritas - I don't usually advocate flavored or frozen margaritas, but dang these are good. Beware, they don't taste too boozy, but three and you'll be pretty ripped. Also, the guacamole is made-to-order and kick-ass.
posted by CaptApollo at 1:49 PM on June 12, 2009

Mint Julep, but it's hard to find a bartender who even knows what that is, let alone make one properly.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 1:57 PM on June 12, 2009

This is my favorite restaurant/bar's list of cocktails: link. They are super creative and change every month and are flavorful with subtle undertones. See if any sound good to you.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 1:59 PM on June 12, 2009

totally agree with inigo2 - wherever you end up going, just chat up the bartender and you're bound to get something tasty (and perhaps free :P)! some good bets:

tabard inn,
the gibson, and
russia house (infused vodkas - yum!)

hope you have a fun 21st!
posted by jus7brea7he at 4:53 PM on June 12, 2009

I suggest you try something you probably will not whole-heartedly enjoy --- a classic gin martini or a Manhattan --- because, once you acquire the taste for the drink, you will fondly look back on that first time you had it.

I did not enjoy my first gin martini, but I do look back fondly upon that first one I drank.
posted by jayder at 7:22 PM on June 12, 2009

You know...this would be an outstanding meetup opportunity. We did a bunch of drink sharing at the last one--we ordered the whole run of aquavits at Dukem, and all tasted them. If you're game, I'll do the organizing--your choice of venue.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:20 PM on June 12, 2009

Response by poster: Whoa, this is a lot of good stuff.

I'd probably be going there with my parents (and I'm trying to see if a friend of mine can visit during that period), and it'd probably be sort of informal. So nothing huge.

Good suggestions for drinks and locations.
posted by kldickson at 9:01 AM on June 13, 2009

I have no location suggestions, but since you like whiskey & coke i'd recommend trying whiskey & ginger ale with a slice of lemon. delicious!
posted by insectosaurus at 9:35 PM on June 20, 2009

You say you like whiskey and coke. Bourbon and coke is similar but in my experience even smoother, generally. But for real tastiness, try bourbon and ginger or bourbon and sprite. Still very smooth, very drinkable, no burn whatsoever, but offers more of the alcohol taste.

The mixed drinks you listed really are that -- mixers -- and not cocktails, at least, not from what I've gathered from here and other places. Cocktails are really a bunch of different alcohols mixed together, perhaps with a splash of juice or bitters. Each one has a lot of alcohol, will burn some when drinking, and will get you drunk. So you want to avoid cocktails -- especially those lovely classic cocktails. I will tell you that as you become more familiar with drinking, you may come to enjoy cocktails. Although for sociable drinking I'll pretty much always go for a mixed drink, for a more, er, "culinary" experience with a meal I'll go with a cocktail like a Manhattan.

Mojitos, Margaritas, and Caipirinhas are all really excellent but the alcohol is seriously stealthy, and you can drink these a lot faster than you mean to, which leads to getting drunk. Long Island ice teas are seriously the worst -- somehow 3-4 shots of liquor plus sour mix and coke really does taste like iced tea, but it will get you very very drunk.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:03 PM on July 1, 2009

If you like rum drinks, you might like a Dark and Stormy, which is dark rum and ginger beer. It's got a bit of a kick from the ginger beer, but no sharp alcohol taste.

Also maybe a Pimm's cup? Complex flavor, very light and refreshing, won't get you toasted.

Can't help wondering if you're from the UK? Although many US bars have Pimms (although less than half of the bartenders will know what to do with it) almost none will have ginger beer. A real shame, too, since I do love ginger beer.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:07 PM on July 1, 2009

Can't help wondering if you're from the UK? Although many US bars have Pimms (although less than half of the bartenders will know what to do with it) almost none will have ginger beer. A real shame, too, since I do love ginger beer.

Almost every place around here (greater Boston area) that I frequent has ginger beer, so maybe that's not quite right. ;)

Mmmm dark & stormy.
posted by darkshade at 8:08 PM on July 21, 2009

« Older Include mentions to race on a resume?   |   Outline format in Pages '08? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.