Bartenders Give Their Takes on the Drink of Summer 2021

Spritzes, hard coconut water, mezcal margaritas, and more

The Roost's mezcal margarita. Photograph by Nick Farrell.

Bars are officially back, so what’s everyone drinking? Five DC-area bartenders share their thoughts on what everyone will (or should) be sipping this summer.

The (Not Just Aperol) Spritz

“When people think of spritz, they think Italian. We’ve been able to flip those flavors around. We have a cachaca-based spritz-style cocktail with papaya nectar. Adding the touch of some sort of fresh fruit can turn around that flavor. I do think there is this trend that people may have overdone it during the pandemic. People are coming out of that and saying ‘maybe I do want something lighter.’” —Serenata Beverage Director AJ Johnson

The Daiquiri Twist

“I think you’re going to start seeing a lot more summer daiquiris—passionfruit, lemongrass, all sorts of things like that. It’s just so fun and so pliable. You can make it your own. The [drink] I call ‘Shot Girl Summer’ is a lemongrass daiquiri.” —Capo Deli Beverage Director Rohit Malhotra

Coco Hard Coconut Water

“Hard coconut water is the level up from hard seltzer. It’s in a can, and it tastes pretty much just like coconut water. It can creep up on you, but it is unbelievably delicious. We serve it with a shot of Deep Eddy’s Lime Vodka for those who want to take it up a notch.” —Electric Cool Aid co-owner Angela DelBrocco

The Mezcal Margarita

“It’s what everyone’s ordering right now. It kind of makes sense as a somewhat adventurous but still somewhat comforting, normal thing. As we get back to normal, people want both of those things.” —The Roost Spirits Director Nick Farrell

Communal Tower Cocktails

“When you think of communal drinks, one of the first things that always comes to mind is the big punch bowl with the long straws. That became a touchy subject because everybody’s sharing a drink. We decided to go with a drink dispenser, like a tower, that you can pour from. It’s like a huge mai tai/sherry cobbler. It’s a more socially acceptable way of sharing big drinks for a group.” —Tiki Thai Beverage Director Jeremy Ross

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.