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Cocktail Culture Thrives as 40+ Venues Celebrate DC Cocktail Week

The art of the drink across the metro Washington is as strong as ever, and diners look to the region’s mixology mavens to keep them intrigued — from happy hours, to spirits events, to tasting menus with cocktail pairings, and more. The District, once known for steak and martini lunches and the creation of the famed Gin Rickey cocktail, was the first city to start Prohibition in 1917, when many other cities didn’t adopt the ban until closer to 1920. Hard to believe! But, rumor has it that the politicians who put the ruling in place didn’t follow the ban too closely, and the D.C. cocktail culture has flourished ever since.
Through the years, the region’s spirited offerings were shaped by the industry and influenced by some strategic trendsetters — like Derek Brown, whose Columbia Room (among many, many bars) helped put D.C. mixology on the map. In 2014, RAMW’s RAMMY Awards expanded its award categories to include a dedicated “Cocktail Program of the Year” category, after many years of honoring a more general Beverage Program of the Year. And, while the bar community continues to experiment and keep patrons on their toes, an influx of local distilleries in D.C. and Virginia moved in — and their goods can be found on many restaurant menus, competing with domestic and imported brands. In the District, there are now more than ten operating distilleries and restaurants, such as Farmers and Distillers from the team behind Founding Farmers. In 2016, the Virginia Distillers Association was formed to support the burgeoning Virginia spirits industry, once dominated by wine.
In celebration of all things spirited, beverage directors and mixologists across the region are getting ready to launch DC Cocktail Week, with more than 40 restaurants in metropolitan Washington showcasing excellence in mixology. Each participating restaurant will offer bites and cocktail pairings at exclusive prices for guests. The fifth annual DC Cocktail Week kicks off on Monday, November 13 and runs through Sunday, November 19, with participating locations in the District, Maryland, and Virginia.
DC Cocktail Week is the perfect opportunity to enjoy libations from old hospitality standards to newcomers to the scene, such as BaBa, Silver Cathedral Heights, Stable, and Taqueria del Barrio. Guests can visit RAMMY Cocktail Program of the Year 2017 winner Kapnos and finalist Indique, both recognized this past July by RAMW for their exemplary cocktails and bar programs. A full list of the diverse restaurants participating this year can be found at www.dccocktailweek.com.
DC Cocktail Week is made possible with the sponsorship of Belle Isle Craft Spirits, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, KO Distilling, MurLarkey Distilled Spirits, New Columbia Distillers, Parched Group LLC & Cirrus Vodka, Republic Restoratives, Virginia Distillery Company, and Vitae Spirits Distillery.
It’s 5:00 somewhere! We hope to see you responsibly imbibing some of the region’s best sips.

ASSOCIATION NEWS RAMW | Kathy E. Hollinger

 

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