Food and Drink Specials for the 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival

Cocktails, desserts, and other tasty items celebrating the 101st anniversary of the trees.

Restaurants are breaking out the pretty red cocktails in honor of this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

This year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival season kicks off March 20. And you know what that means: plenty of cocktail and food specials to celebrate the occasion. Read on for drinks and eats making use of the pretty pink fruit. Offers are available throughout the festival—from March 20 through April 14—unless otherwise noted.


The deal: This Balkan-inspired Barracks Row restaurant will offer a special dessert prepared by pastry chef Danilo Bucan: a cherry and Valrhona chocolate cake made with cherry foam and served with micro basil, for $5.

Assaggi Mozzarella Bar

The deal: Take a break from Assaggi’s exceptional mozzarella platter and instead try fresh new dishes and desserts created by chef and owner Domenico Cornacchia. They include fresh oysters with frisée salad and cherry vinaigrette; beef carpaccio with watercress salad, mascarpone cheese, and candied cherry; tagliatelline pasta with braised venison ragout and crumbled cherries; pan-seared duck breast over parsnip purée and cherry demiglace; and poached Atlantic salmon with rainbow cauliflower and cherry tapenade. Dishes range for $11 to $31. For dessert, there’s cherry cheesecake with pineapple salad and salted caramel sauce. 

Toast the 101st anniversary with the Assaggi Jubilee ($13), made from a combination of cherry vodka, triple sec, and crushed fresh cherries and topped with Prosecco.

Blue Duck Tavern

The deal: Blue Duck Tavern and its lounge are offering a special Blossom cocktail that will be available for the duration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival for $14. It’s made with cherry blossom syrup, cherry heering liqueur, Prairie vodka, Pok Pok Som honey drinking vinegar, lime zest, amarena and maraschino cherries, and a splash of soda.

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar 

The deal: Cuba Libre will offer two cherry-infused, original dishes in addition to its regular à-la-carte dining menu during dinner service. They are lomito de puerco—plancha-seared pork tenderloin with fresh bay leaf and olive confit served with bitter chocolate and chile molido, pickled cherries and Virginia sharp cheddar shavings ($26)—and the panna cotta de Albaca, peach-and-sweet-basil custard with Morello cherry-orange liqueur salsa for $8. 

Hill Country

The deal: Throughout the festival, look for a special dessert—a double cherry pie turnover with sweet Bing and sour cherries wrapped in pastry—for $6. You’ll also find a Cherry Blossom Manhattan featuring macerated cherries for $10.


The deal: The Sakura DC ($15)—made from a combination of gin, triple sec, and sweet-and-floral cherry blossom syrup—will be available at all three area locations of the tapas restaurant.

Legal Sea Foods

The deal: The restaurant combines seafood and cherries to create four dishes in celebration of the Cherry Blossom Festival.

The menu: Opt for red salad with radicchio, crumbled Gorgonzola, candied pecans, dried cherries, and balsamic vinaigrette ($7.95); cherry-glazed Atlantic salmon with watercress salad and potato gaufrettes ($24.95); surf-and-turf of grilled hanger steak with cherry demi-glace, crab-stuffed potato, and haricots verts ($29.95); or a dessert of cherries jubilee with vanilla ice cream ($5.95). Cocktail drinkers can enjoy Legal’s Cherry Blossom, made with Cherry Heering, lemon juice, and Fee Brothers cherry bitters, topped with cava, which is $9.95. 

Other details: These creations are available exclusively at the restaurant’s Chinatown location on Seventh Street.

Masa 14

The deal: Masa 14 will serve a specialty Cherry Blossom Festival creation prepared by executive chef Adam Goldman. The smoked bison carpaccio ($13) is made with arugula, cherry-Dijon vinaigrette, and Shaoxing-wine-soaked chopped cherries.

The Occidental

The deal: The Occidental will offer two cherry blossom cocktails: the Peaceful Expression ($16), made up of Bols Genever, Chambord, and Schladerer Kirschwasser—a German brandy made from Black Forest cherries—and the Capoeira ($12), which includes LeBlon cachaça, brandied cherry syrup, and house-made ginger beer.

Other details: The restaurant will give away a complimentary amuse bouche, a cauliflower custard with yuzu gel and beet bubbles, to all dinner guests during the festival.

Old Angler’s Inn

The deal: Chef Nick Palermo has created a dish of pan-roasted duck breast with pickled cherries, local Swiss chard, hedgehog mushrooms, duck confit, and pistachio-potato purée priced at $28.

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

The deal: Treat yourself to Oyamel’s special cocktail during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Priced at $15, La Japonesa is made from a combination of tequila, cherry liqueur, cherry blossom soda, and lime.

Pizzeria Orso

The deal: The Falls Church ’za destination is doing an adult slushie in honor of the occasion called the Cherry Bourbon. It combines bourbon, cherries, orange juice, and lemonade, and costs $9.

Room 11

The Columbia Heights cocktail destination is among the restaurants partnering with Don Ciccio & Figli artisanal liqueurs on a series of festival-related cocktails. Bar manager Sean Macpherson’s Angelina ($11) combines cognac, Don Ciccio & Figli Finocchietto (a fennel liqueur), lemon juice, cherry shrub, and Peychaud’s bitters.

Tel’Veh Café & Wine Bar 

The deal: The Mount Vernon Square wine bar is offering a three-course cherry-inspired prix-fixe menu for $35 (not including tax and gratuity).

The menu: Executive Chef Dimosthenis Kolouas’s selections include herb-crusted quail finished with a pomegranate demiglace and served over lentil salad with frisée; shrimp chowder with mussels, clams, pepper, fresh cream, and croutons; baked cod wrapped with grape leaves and served over asparagus and wild mushrooms with Mavrodafni (a Greek wine varietal) and cherry sauce; and molasses-glazed rack of lamb over grilled seasonal vegetables and rosemary sauce. There is also a dessert choice of either yogurt parfait with sour cherries and pecans or chocolate-glazed cherries over almond-semolina pudding.


The deal: For $15, you can end a long day of cherry-blossom touring with the Mediterranean restaurant’s Southern Blossom—made with bourbon, cherry blossom syrup, rhubarb aperitif, and citrus. 


The deal: Zengo will have a decadent Mexican crema mousse cake made with graham cracker crust, yuzu marmalade, and ginger-cherry compote. It’s $7.