It’s showtime! McClellan’s Retreat has gotten into the spooky mood (even with the decidedly unspooky weather we’ve been having) and transformed themselves into a mini Dante’s Inferno Room. Decked in spider webs, sheet ghosts and photos from the movie Beetlejuice, McClellan’s nails the delightfully campy aesthetic, but it’s their list of smokey, complex and rich cocktails that will make you forget it’s 80 degrees and sunny outside. So throw on your favorite red wedding dress and come yell with strangers about how Beetlejuice absolutely shouldn’t have been rated PG. Damn the 80s were a wild time.
Pop open the aptly named Handbook for the Recently Deceased (aka, the cocktail menu) and you’ll see a small, but well curated list of drinks that speak to surprising variety of cocktail tastes (and are all $13 because we’ve all decided numbers are scary). If you’re looking for something refreshing to kick things off, look no further than “I’ve Seen The Exorcist About 167 Times” which includes gin, corrected orange juice (in which the high sugar content of OJ has been balanced with a little acid), a house made grenadine and Herbsaint. The combination results in a grown up gin and juice that doesn’t lean too sweet and is ideal if you’re looking for something on the lighter side.
Want something with a little more spice? Something that will really wake you up? Go for our second favorite drink on the list (more on our favorite later) “I’m the Ghost with the Most, Babe.” Featuring Baltimore Spirits Co.’s very own apple ginger liqueur combined with Union Mezcal, vermouth and Old Fashioned bitters, it’s a slice of smoky heaven. If the weather was a little colder, this would be the right drink to warm you up, but until that changes we’ll be drinking it while sweating profusely and pretending everything is fine.
If you’re jonesing for something sweet with a twist, a drink that will satisfy your constant craving for ice cream (sometimes I don’t know how I get through the day) and give you some of the complexity you need, skip right to “My Whole Life is a Dark Room” aged for (almost) 66.6 nights, this one features Makers Mark, Remy Martin, vermouth and Benedictine for a very boozy and all to drinkable cocktail. There’s almost a caramelized quality to it.
But, if you only have time for one drink, we can’t stop thinking about the Betelgeuse. Made with the Bolivian wine Rujero singani, Fernet Branca and a house made dry cacao syrup, it’s bitter and heady and deeply delicious. No matter what we tasted, we always came back to this one. It’s a drink worthy of Michael Keaton.
McClellan’s Retreat is located at 2031 Florida Ave NW.