Photos by Clarissa Villondo
Words by Kaylee Dugan
The W Washington DC is an establishment. You might not frequent Pinea, The Root Cellar, or the POV Lounge very often (especially with the wealth of choices our fine city has to offer), but we’ve all gotten a little too carried away at one (or all…) of their many bars. And while getting drunk at a hotel bar doesn’t sound like the most appealing plan in a city that’s about to get its own Michelin guide, I can say with 100% certainty that The W’s new summer cocktail menu is one of the most refreshing I’ve had in the city. Not all of the drinks are winners, and while many stick to tried and true recipes, there is enough creativity and quality that for the first time in a long time, I’ve wanted to go back to have them again. In a city with so many new options, that’s as good as it gets.
Before we dig into my favorites, I feel obliged to mention POV’s block buster cocktail, the Strawberry Lemonade. A simple mixture of vodka, strawberry, and their house made lemonade, it’s a cocktail for 12 year olds. The sweetness is over the top. There is zero complexity. It is their best selling cocktail by far. If you’re someone who doesn’t drink (or has never even tried!) this is the perfect drink for you and there’s nothing wrong with that, but as someone who essentially drinks for a living (sorry Mom and Dad) I need something with a little more going on.
Luckily, the Retox delivers. A combination of spiced rum, tequila reposado, lime, and a tumeric chili syrup, it’s spicy and flavorful without being too heavy for a summer drink. While I was worried the tequila, spice, and lime would make it veer into spicy margarita category (and I love spicy margaritas they are just sort of boring), the tumeric and spiced rum keeps things interesting. More than anything, this is a great transitional drink. If you’re still trying to order Hot Toddy’s when it’s 90 degrees outside, this could be the cocktail that saves you from looking like a fool and dying of heat stroke.
Need something a little more traditionally summery? Look no further than the Jon Burrows, named after one of the Hotels most famous guests. Containing, vodka, sour, seasonal beer (which happened to be New Belgium’s Watermelon Lime Ale), and a blackberry garnish. While this cocktail makes me deeply doubt how well I know myself (99.9% of the time I do not like drinks with any sort of ambiguous sour mix), it was so goddamn refreshing I could not help myself. I could drink a million of these in one sitting if it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
However, out of all of these drinks, the cocktail I keep dreaming about is (unsurprisingly) the Coco-Piña. My love for piña coladas is well documented (I try to only have one a year because I’m a real adult), and while this is not the coconut and heavy cream monstrosity of my dreams, it’s not too far off. Featuring scotch that has been fat washed with coconut oil, pineapple, and sour (fine), it’s a peaty spicy tropical vacation in your mouth.
The next time one of your friends drags you to POV for an inane reason, don’t find a way to bow out, get hyped. There are plenty of good things to drink, and as always, the view doesn’t hurt either.