Happy hour at PS7’s sleek lounge (777 I St., NW; 202-742-8550) is packed with suited young professionals who flock here before 7 pm for discounted drinks and appetizers like tuna sliders and mini-half-smokes. Even at full price, the innovative cocktails created by bar manager Tiffany Short are worth the trip to the restaurant, just a block away from the hub of Penn Quarter.
Short, an Inn at Little Washington alum, divides the seasonal drink roster into two sections: classics and creations. From the former, the subtly sweet vanilla sidecar with house-made sweet-and-sour mix and vanilla syrup will turn anyone into a brandy drinker, and the lavender-scented gimlet is refreshing and tart with fresh lime juice. A recent star of the "creations" group is a deep-purple concoction called the Bolshevik; the color comes from beet-infused Snow Queen vodka. "I had my concerns that people wouldn't order a drink made with beets," Short says. "But then I gave out samples." It's smooth and refreshing with just a hint of sweetness and beet flavor that catches you at the finish.