6 Gigantic Cocktails to Try Now

Drink from a coffeemaker, teapot, or human skull.
The Gibson's shareable cocktails can be sipped by the bowl on an outdoor patio. Photograph courtesy of the Gibson.

Large-format cocktails are increasingly popular among Washington’s bartenders, from traditional scorpion bowls to newfangled drinks poured out of coffeemakers. Sticker-shock can ensue glancing at a menu—$45 for a drink?!—but remember that most are meant to be consumed by four people, or two with hollow legs. Sharing can even be more wallet-friendly than going solo, given the proliferation of $14 concoctions.

As for presentation, bars have gone well beyond the punch bowl when it comes to serving cocktails for a crowd.

Cocktail hour meets Temple of Doom at Farmers Fishers Bakers. Photograph via Facebook.

Drink from a skull: Farmers Fishers Bakers

3000 K St., NW

Booze literally goes to the head at this Georgetown Waterfront spot, where a rum-based zombie punch arrives in a human skull-shaped vessel. Don’t want to channel Temple of Doom for cocktail hour? Try a mai tai punch, served in a flaming scorpion bowl.

Details: Serves two-to-four drinkers ($25).

Drink from a pitcher: Eat the Rich

1839 Seventh St., NW

We drink beer by the pitcher, so why not Moscow mules? Such is the mentality at Derek Brown’s seafood-centric bar, where the list of “pitcher cocktails” includes a tasty Green Hat gin martini with Dolin Blanc vermouth and orange bitters (personal cautionary tale: don’t try taking it down with just two people and a plate of whelks for sustenance). If martinis sound too classy, there’s always the Beer ’n Clam—house-made clamato juice and Miller High Life.

Details: Serves four.

Drink from a bowl: The Gibson

2009 14th St., NW

Any of the new summer patio cocktails can be super-sized for a group, and served in a punch bowl alongside glasses of ice. Start with the aptly-named Mine’s Bigger Than Yours, a boozy blend of Old Overholt Rye, bitters, lemon zest, and a touch of sweetener.

Details: Serves four drinkers ($42 to $45).

Thai whiskey punch arrives in teapots at Soi 38. Photograph courtesy of Soi 38.

Drink from a teapot: Soi 38

2101 L St., NW

Tea time gets a boozy twist at this Thai restaurant, where tables can order an Emperor’s Punch poured from an ornate teapot. The potent brew combines whiskey, fresh lemon, house-made tamarind syrup, chili bitters, and Thai tea. You won’t miss finger sandwiches after ordering a plate of grilled pork neck as a snack.

Details: Serves two-to-four ($35).

French press cocktails at Provision No. 14 make for fun sharing. Photograph courtesy of Provision No. 14.

Drink from a coffeemaker: Provision No. 14

2100 14th St., NW

This new communally-minded bar/restaurant decided to get creative with their presentation, and serves shareable cocktails in classic French press coffee makers. Try a refreshing Grapefruit Press, made with vodka, fresh grapefruit juice, mint, and basil. Drinkers can push down on the fruit and herbs as they wish, releasing more flavor.

Details: Serves four ($40).

Drink from a (classy) bottle: SER

1110 N. Glebe Rd., Ballston

Keep the sangria flowing at Arlington’s new Spanish spot by ordering one-liter bottles of the wine-based cocktail. Head out to the patio and try the sparkling variety, made with cava, white grape juice, and brandy. An added perk: happy hour runs nightly from 4 to 7 in the bar area, and includes the red, white, and bubbly sangria bottles for $20 (typically $32).

Details: Serves two-to-four ($32)

Don’t miss a new restaurant again: Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.


Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.