Kick Happy Hour into First Gear
Upgrading to Bars at the Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton
"This is going to be a little girly, but it's good."
I was at Bourbon Steak in the Georgetown Four Seasons, two drinks in – not that that would have deterred me anyway.
It was my first time at Bourbon Steak, and the bar was as lively as its reputation suggested. In this instance, the bartender suggested that I have the Red Rum – a concoction of roselle-infused Chairman's Reserve (Rum), velvet falernum (simple-syrup), and egg whites. The drink's tropic flavor and full body, a product of the beaten egg whites, is reminiscent of a cold, Caribbean latte, while the nutmeg topping will remind you that the holidays are not far off.
But, if you really want to give yourself a present this holiday season, look no further than the house vodka or gin tonics. The from-scratch quinine gives a brand new taste to a standard drink, and malaria prevention. At Bourbon Steak, the balance of citrus in the quinine is perfect – and, while the order is not complex, the vodka tonic is.
Soon, I found myself trekking down M Street towards the Ritz-Carlton. For me, the charm of the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton is in its design and seclusion. The exposed brick and dark wood at Degrees Bar & Lounge at the Ritz fits well within the design of the overall building.
But, its seclusion also keeps the bar traffic down. Three bartenders at Bourbon Steak were replaced by one, and the flurry of activity died into a lull. The stark contrast is exactly behind the creation of "Rendezvous at the Ritz" – a daily happy hour designed to increase traffic. From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Degrees offers half-priced cocktails and appetizers, as well as select wine and beer for $6 and $3, respectively.
On this trip, I started with the orange rush – a Red Bull, orange juice, and vodka concoction. The Red Bull, as it tends to do, overpowered the drink, leaving me wondering why I ordered it in the first place. The second drink, a lemon zinger, was more my speed. The blend of Kettle One Citroen, lemon juice, and sprite was refreshing, but unremarkable.
The Rendezvous at the Ritz is a perfect opportunity to upgrade the normal happy hour experience with the cool design and location of the bar. For a drink connoisseur, however, Bourbon Steak offers a more inventive approach to libations.