A historic preservation technique adds a whimsical touch to DC cocktails.
As cherry blossoms add a pinkish glow to the Tidal Basin, shrub cocktails blossom on bar menus around DC. Created in the colonial era, the sweet ’n’ tangy sippers made with fruit, vinegar, and sugar were originally a way to preserve produce. “They’re like lemonade,” says Andrew Cassedy, bartender at the St. Regis, who handcrafts a bounty of the brightly hued beverages. “The combination of the tartness and the sugariness really quenches your thirst.” His favorite is a strawberry-balsamic shrub infused with black peppercorn, which he complements with London dry gin and club soda. The warm weather brings with it a rainbow of shrubtails, including the lavender-and- blackberry gin and tonic at Dino’s Grotto, the jalapeño-spiked Smokey Pineapple at Quadrant in the Ritz-Carlton, and the sherry vinegar-strawberry Pippy Longstockings’ Sippycup at SER. They’re the perfect way to toast all those sunny days ahead.