Photos by Clarissa Villondo, Words by Kaylee Dugan
The best way to approach Jack Rose’s newly opened (for the season) Tiki Bar is to stumble upon it. Perhaps you’re drinking a little too much whiskey (I mean, this is Jack Rose) on the rooftop bar. You desperately need to use the bathroom. As you stumble in its general direction (you have definitely had too much whiskey), you accidentally go through the wrong door and suddenly you’re in a tropical paradise. And by tropical paradise, I mean a tiny little back bar in D.C. with a tiki theme. It may be no Caribbean cruise, it’s certainly better than whatever else you were doing.
Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to magically stumble upon the Tiki Bar, (that would have been really cool though), mainly because that would have meant Jack Rose’s PR person wasn’t doing their job, but I did get a chance to sample (and by sample I mean devour) the four cocktails on their new tiki menu and they’re suited for this swampy, horrific heatwave. As a heads up, almost all of the drinks do tend to lean a bit on the sweet side, so while I couldn’t drink them all day long, they’re excellent as a pick me up.
If you only have time to get one drink, then I recommend getting the Ti’ Punch. It’s a mixture of Rhum Agricole (or cane juice rum), lime, cane syrup, tiki bitters, and cinnamon. It was my favorite of the bunch and while it starts out sweet, it has a really refreshing bitter finish which keeps everything nice and balanced. It’s basically a tiki old fashioned and how could you ever say no to that?
Another favorite is the Palm Pine, which is a little more on the interesting side. It was inspired by bartender Trevor Frye’s work with a Nigerian artist at Artini. The Palm Pine is a mixture of Jameson Black Barrel that has been infused with jalapeno, pineapple, banana, and ginger beer. It’s like a leveled up piña colada. The drink (like most of them) starts sweet, but is followed up with some spice from the jalapeno and the ginger beer, which stops the pineapple and house made banana curd from being too overwhelming.
The Worlds Collide is also a pretty solid pick, especially if you’re a gin lover. A mix of Aviation gin, Aquavit, lime, lemon, passion fruit, and Sam Adams Twisted Tea it is suuuuuuper refreshing and very light. While the Ti’ Punch is definitely favorite, I could drink more Worlds Collide than Ti’ Punches any day of the week.
The one thing about all of these drinks is that none of them taste very boozy, but if you have enough people with you (or if you are a super alcoholic) you can get a scorpion bowl full of booze and good god. Those could definitely murder you. If any of this appeals to you (and it should, come on now) make sure you head over for happy hour on Thursdays where cocktails and food are 50% off. It’s like a trip to paradise on a budget, which is the best kind of trip.