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Words by Kaylee Dugan, Photos by Clarissa Villondo

Best If: you want to push your cocktail boundaries

Eighteenth Street Lounge

One of D.C.’s most interesting cocktail bars might just be tucked into the back of Eighteenth Street Lounge. I say might because as much as you can prepare and plan, you never really know what’s going to happen when people and booze come together. The fanciest cocktail bar can become a haven for douchebags who just want vodka tonics in a moments notice. As Lukas B. Smith explained to us last week, bars tend to have a life of their own.

But despite ESL’s penchant for uninspiring DJ nights and happy hours filled with all the most boring people you went to college with, their newest experiment, Addendum creatively fills a hole in D.C.’s craft cocktail scene. Taking tips from New York’s very own Amor y Amargo, Addendum doesn’t stock syrups, sodas, or any citrus drinks. None of their cocktails are made to be shaken. The idea is to experiment, push people’s boundaries when it comes to bitters and to start conversations between bartenders and patrons.

Eighteenth Street Lounge

Featuring a menu crafted by Smith (Cotton & Reed, among other things), Michael Barton (who you may recognize from Dram & Grain), and J.D. Quioco (of ESL) and located in what used to be called the Studio Bar, Addendum is dark and intimate. Drinks are meant to be sipped slowly and enjoyed. There is a play on the Last Word, called the Stirred Word which is made with the usual suspects, like gin, chartreuse, and maraschino liqueur, and also includes a sherry that’s been adapted with citric, malic, and tartaric acid, gum arabic, and lemon and lime essential oils to impart the flavors of lime juice. It’s more drinkable than it sounds.

A personal favorite was the Divinity School, a digestif forward cocktail featuring sherry, dry vermouth, and coconut bitters and tastes like your favorite tiki drink but with a medicinal pulse. Served in the same beautiful antique looking glassware as the other cocktails, it’s the kind of drink you want to be seen sipping.

Eighteenth Street Lounge

If Smith, Barton, and Quioco can keep the bar the way it was last week, quiet, dim, and with plenty of seats, I can absolutely see myself going back to taste all of their wonderfully bitter creations and champagne menu. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Addendum officially opens February 9.

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