D.C. is a city of highs and lows. We have one of the highest rent prices in the country as well as crushing poverty. We have the lowest differential between what men and women are paid and the second highest number of adults over 25 with at least a bachelor’s degree. It’s only fitting that our drinks are the same and, according to The Daily Beast, we are in the Top 10 Drunkest Cities in America.
Fully embracing the stats and with(out) a wallet full of cash, we set out to find the biggest price tags and best deals for your District drink enjoyment. From $20 cocktails to $2 rail drinks, here’s a list of the most (and least!) expensive cocktails in D.C. Whether you’re a big spender or a broke intern, there’s bound to be something for you.
- Heist – $1,500
You missed this one but Heist DC previously offered a $1,500 cocktail. You read that correctly, a cocktail for just less than your average new college grad old makes per month. The cocktail was sold on the 10th anniversary of of the Anterwerp diamond heist. The cocktail, served in three pieces, started with a palate cleanser of Ace of Spades sorbet with fresh grapefruit segments. Next was a mixture of Remy Martin XO Cognac, white fig jam, chocolate bitters, and a fresh fig that held a clean cut diamond (yup, you are still reading that correctly). The cocktail trio was then finished with a glass of Ace of Spade champagne kept cool with frozen Champagne grape. We don;t know when or if Heist will be bringing back the $1,500 cocktail but we hope they do so we can gawk at the person who buys it.
- The Graham – $500
Freddie’s Nightcap, tops out at $500 and will include a suite, a bag of roses and an intimacy kit
- Bourbon Steak – $24
At Bourbon Steak the most expensive cocktail is called the “Seelbach,” named after the hotel in Kentucky where the drink was invented. It’s a champagne cocktail that includes, buffalo trace, cointreau, angostura, and peychaud bitters. It’s served in a champagne flute with a lemon garnish.
- The Rye Bar – $22
What goes into a $22 Manhattan? Dad’s Hat rye Whiskey, sweet vermouth, and aperitif Byrrh Grand Quinquina. All of which is aged for six weeks in a bourbon barrel. Originally, the food and beverage manager, Will Rentschler, only made a half a barrel of the drink, believing that it would be enough drinks for a month. They ran out in eight days.
- Barmini – $20
Jose Andres baby, Barmini, has a bevy of cocktails that range from $14 to $20. While it’s nearly impossible to find an online menu that includes the prices of each drink. I’d be willing to bet original creations like the Veruka Salt, which includes peanut rum, drambuie 15, pineapple grog, simple syrup, and salt, is close to the $20 mark.
- The Columbia Room – $17
While a three course tasting menu with an amuse bouche will run you $54 (including tax and tip), a la carte cocktails at The Columbia Room are $17 a pop (also, including tax and tip). If you’re feeling like a big spender try the Ghost Dance, made by smoldering bison grass and a star anise pod under a glass, then adding Fernet-Branca, Calvados, and a simple syrup.
Both Fiola and The Source offer cocktails on the more expensive side. At Fiola $16 drink, “Smoke Get’s In Your Rye” is made with Rittenhouse rye, Los Amantes Mezcal, Cocchi Vermouth, averna, habeñero tincture, and chocolate bitters. While, $16 at The Source will buy you a “Pandora’s Box” which includes Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germain Liqueur, and D’Arbo Elderflower.
- Nationals Stadium – $8.25
Wait, $8.25? That’s not so bad, right? Well, when compared to every other major league baseball stadium in the country and not to D.C.’s other priciest drinks, it turns out D.C.’s got the most expensive beer in baseball, too. (Oh, and that’s the price for a small draft.)
- Cobalt – FREE
Every Friday from 11pm to 12am Cobalt has free rail vodka drinks. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 4 to 9pm they $1 rail drinks. With these prices you can’t afford not to drink!
- Mad Hatter – $1
Thursday nights are your nights to shine, impoverished masses, for every Thursday from 8:00pm to close, you can get $1 Bud Lights at Mad Hatter. Sure, it’s Bud Light, but do you really care if it’s $1? We thought not.
All three of these bars a slinging rail drinks for the low price of $3. At Recessions Happy Hour from 5pm-8pm Monday thru Friday. DC9’s happy hour is every night from 5pm-8pm. Sequoia’s is Monday thru Friday from 4pm-7pm
- Spice Xing – $3.25
From 5pm to 6:30pm every Monday through Friday Spice Xing has rail drinks available for $3.25, as well as $3-$4 Indian bar snacks.
- The Bottom line – $3.50
Monday thru Thursday from 4pm to 10pm Bottom line has $3.50 rail drinks. On Monday they also have half price burgers, on Tuesday they have $3, and on Wednesday they have a free taco bar.
PLUS, you know-keep checking out weekly HAPPY HOUR HOTLINE for hot tips on affordable drinking. And leave us your expensive and non-expensive drink picks in the comments.