Banish Bone-Chilling Cold With Winter Cocktails at DC’s Melrose Hotel

A new cocktail menu pairs well with the appetizer menu at the Lounge

With a fireplace and new cocktail menu, the lounge in DC's Melrose Hotel is perfect winter spot.

Jennifer Anniston’s favorite cocktail is the margarita, George Clooney likes raspberry cheesecake, and President Obama’s drink of choice is an extra dry Grey Goose martini, which Jimmy Fallon once joked Obama prefers “on the beach, in Hawaii, in 2017.”

The rest of us will have to console ourselves with winter-themed cocktails and hope their palliative effects can help us stave off the cold. If you want to escape, even for just a few hours, here is the perfect spot for great drinks and appetizing snacks: Melrose Hotel in Georgetown.


The Best Spot for an Afternoon Tasting

Just a short walk from the Foggy Bottom Metro stop, the off-street entrance also makes it easy to hail a cab or wait for your Lyft driver and the service is always attentive. I love Melrose for the vibe and the lounge, which just launched its new winter cocktail menu.

Step inside and leave the cares of the day behind. The inviting lobby is a modern interpretation of Art Deco-era glamor, and a subdued black, gray, and oyster color scheme immediately relaxes you.  

Then there is the lounge. It’s swanky without being intimidating; as you sink into the plush, high-backed stools, you immediately relax. The man behind the shaker is Millian Palma, Melrose’s restaurant and lounge manager. He has 20 of years of experience working as a chef and managing high-end restaurants such as Vidalia, Oval Room, Ardeo + Bardeo, Occidental Grill, and Iron Gate Restaurant — and it shows.


The Menu

The lounge is perfect for an afternoon tasting of the new winter cocktail menu of nine drinks.

“The President” is made with Grand Marnier, honey, and Champagne, and is either a salute to the outgoing president or the president-elect (it depends more on your politics than the ingredients).

The Melrose cocktail is a well-made version of the pisco sour that will make you forget the original.

Hot buttered rum and hot toddys are the best warm drinks you’ll find and can revive you quickly if you are feeling a little low.

“Smoked Boulevardier” is a bourbon- and Negroni-lover’s dream that reveals the smoke you expect from Maker’s Mark and the hints of bitterness typical in a proper Negroni.

“My Monkey” is one monkey you don’t want to get off your back. This silky, whiskey-and-Drambuie cocktail has deep aromas and comes topped with Regatta ginger beer.


3 Favorites to Try

Summer Whitford

The Spiced Nog is one of our top picks from the new cocktail menu.

Here are representative pairings I suggest for your first tasting. They are three of my favorites and are a good representation of the menu’s diversity. First, order the blue crab corn fritters to whet your appetite. They will fortify you after a long day, and chase them with a lovely glass of Poinsettia. This pale pink winter cocktail viscerally evokes familiar scents and flavors of winter and is made with Calvados apple brandy, apple and cranberry purées, a splash of fresh lemon juice, cinnamon simple syrup, and a dose of prosecco. The bubbles are a pick-me-up that will put you in the right frame of mind for the next drink.

Next, order a cheese and charcuterie board paired with the Elyx punch. This refreshing drink is terrific with the food but is especially good with the smoked duck and Talbot Cheddar cheese. When poured into a glass, the Elix punch looks like a glowing winter sunset of orange and red, but it tastes like a tangy adult version of the Creamsicle. It’s made with Elix vodka, cranberry shrub, hibiscus simple syrup, and fresh orange foam. The blend of citrus and cranberry shrub is appealing to look at and drink.  

For your next drink, consider the spiced nog; it’s worth splurging on the calories and will remind you that Christmas was just a few weeks ago. This drink was one of my favorites, and its rich, creamy, boozy flavors made it hard to resist; as soon as I put the glass down I wanted to pick it up again. Eventually, I just gave in to temptation and drank the rest . It was worth it. So, what’s in this irresistible drink? Sailor Jerry spiced rum, eggnog, cinnamon, and whipped cream. It’s now my favorite version of classic eggnog.


Why wait? Head over to Melrose and try all of the winter cocktails… maybe just not all in one visit.