Food

8 Awesome Cherry Blossom-Themed Cocktails to Try in DC

The cherry blossoms will peak at any moment, and while you may not catch the blooms in their four-to-ten-days of brilliance, you can at least cheers to springtime with themed drinks from local bars and restaurants. We found a variety of cocktails inspired by the color and flavors of the Japanese blossoms—no overly-sweet libations or pink dye included.

If you do brave the Tidal Basin crowds, a drink or two should definitely be on the itinerary.

Barmini

855 E St., NW

José Andrés cocktail bar adjoining his boundary-pushing restaurant, Minibar, marks the Cherry Blossom festival with creative spring cocktails. Ask for a seat on the cactus couch—one of only three like it in the world—and order (or try to pronounce?) the Kishimojin’s Kiku. The drink’s floral flavors come from a blend of shochu, goji berries, shiso leaf, and chrysanthemum.

Cherry Blossom-Themed Cocktails
Chaplin’s Bread & Soda cherry blossom beer-tail comes with a snack: ginger cake. Photograph by Joy Asico

Chaplin’s

1501 Ninth St., NW

Hungry and thirsty? Try the Bread & Soda at Chaplin’s in Shaw, which combines Kirin Ichiban beer, bourbon, lemon, and a chunk of homemade ginger cake for garnish ($8). The beer-tail is part of a series of Kirin-based drinks especially made for the festival.

Cherry Blossom-Themed Cocktails
Pickled cherry blossom tea makes for a pretty cocktail at the Columbia Room. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The Columbia Room

124 Blagden Alley, NW

In addition to the newly-opened punch garden, the Columbia Room offers a spring cocktail tasting menu that draws inspiration from Japanese flavors, including cherry blossoms. Among the choices are the Cherry Blossom Tea, which mixes shochu, house-made pickled cherry blossom tea, honey, and apricot liqueur. The drink is part of the $75 tasting menu, which includes three cocktails and snacks (all-inclusive). Unlike the flowering trees, it’ll be going through June 21.

Cherry Blossom-Themed Cocktails
Bourbon Steak trades flowers for bacon when it comes to a tasty garnish. Photograph courtesy of Bourbon Steak

Bourbon Steak
2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Tired of all the flowery, pink-hued libations? Try the Bacon Blossom, which combines two things Millennials love: bacon and cinnamon whiskey. Barman Torrence Swain  combines bacon-and-cherry-infused rye whiskey, cinnamon syrup, and Tabasco sauce (sorry, no Fireball).

Cherry Blossom-Themed Cocktails
Cherry-infused plum brandy gives this Serbian cocktail a kick. Photograph courtesy of Ambar

Ambar
523 Eighth St., SE

This Barracks Row restaurant gives cherry blossoms a Balkan twist with the Visnja cocktail (visnja translates to cherry in Serbian). The bar mixes cherry-infused plum brandy, bourbon, lemon juice, and cherry simple syrup, topped off with an absinthe mist—plus you can sip it on the outdoor patio.

Cherry Blossom-Themed Cocktails
Twisted Horn specializes in savory cocktails, but they’re going floral for spring. Photograph courtesy of Twisted Horn

Twisted Horn
819 Upshur St., NW

A homemade cherry shrub is the centerpiece of the Post Indulgence ($12), a spring cocktail that also includes vodka, grapefruit juice, and sweet vermouth.

Cherry Blossom-Themed Cocktails
Sushiko’s special drink gets its red hue from beets. Photograph courtesy of Shushiko

Sushiko Chevy Chase
5455 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, Maryland

This sushi spot mixes up the Sakura Bitsu ($14), a drink with that avoids the sweet theme of cherry drinks by incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables. The bar combines whiskey, beet and clove puree, orange juice, yuzu, and blossom water, plus a cherry garnish.

Cherry Blossom-Themed Cocktails
McClellan’s cocktail nods to the festival with cherry heering liqueur, but its secret ingredient is foie gras-washed apple brandy. Photograph courtesy of McClellan’s Retreat

McClellan’s Retreat
2031 Florid Ave., NW

Patrons at this cocktail den can indulge in March’s “seven deadly sins” menu. The Gluttony ($15) nods to the cherry blossoms with Cherry Herring liqueur, a bourbon cherry, and one very unusual ingredient: apple brandy “washed” with foie gras.

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