Where to Drink During the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C.
Cherry blossom madness is about to hit DC and local restaurants and bars are ready to serve up themed bites and drinks throughout the next few weeks. Whether you’re looking to escape the tourists at the Tidal Basin or you want to join in on the springtime fun without having to brave the outdoor crowds, hit up these restaurants and bars before the Festival ends.
To celebrate the cherry blossoms, Ambar will feature a specialty cocktail: the Balkan Cherry made with chamomile-infused rakia, cherry liquor, green tea and shiso-infused water and lime juice. (523 8th St, SE; 202-813-3039)
In honor of cherry blossom season, the Dupont Circle Hotel’s bar will offer specialty themed cocktails like The Rickey-San (Hendrick’s Gin, Matcha Green Tea Soda, Yuzu, Lime) and I Shochu Chu Choose You (Nikka Coffey Grain Japanese WHiskey, Smith & Cross Rum, Giffard Orgeat, Lemon, Persimmon, Bitters). Available March 30 - April 30. (1500 New Hampshire Ave, NW; 202-483-6000)
Tourists (and DC locals) hoping to take in the cherry blossoms in a unique way can sign up for neighborhood food tours through Carpe DC - explore neighborhoods like Shaw, U Street and 14th Street with one of the official National Cherry Blossom tour providers and taste delicious bites from local hot spots while enjoying the blooms. (1-866-697-2693)
During the Cherry Blossom Festival, Michael Schlow’s chic Italian restaurant will offer a sundae made with your choice of gelato (choose vanilla bean, milk chocolate crunch, strawberry or pistachio), almond crunch, whipped cream, caramel, chocolate sauce and topped with Amarena cherries for $10. (2505 Wisconsin Ave, NW; 202-625-5400)
Once again transforming his bars into a themed pop-up, Derek Brown’s Southern Efficiency will be headquarters for all things Cherry Blossom through April 15. With themed decor (think handmade cherry blossom branches, origami cranes and lucky “waving cats”) and menu items (cocktails with names like 1000 Paper Cranes, and Flower Power) this is the destination for cherry blossom revelers to Eat, Drink and Be Cherry. (1841 7th St, NW; 202-316-9396)
From March 15 - April 16, all CIRCA locations will be offering a special dessert: Cherry Blossom Cheesecake made with an Oreo crust and black cherry compote. (Multiple locations).
During the Cherry Blossom Festival, enjoy two Japanese whiskey tasting flights with spirits including Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt and Suntory Toki whiskeys. Flights are $25 each. (901 9th St, NW; 202-644-9433)
Celebrate the gift of the cherry trees from Japan with sake oyster shooters at Grilled Oyster Company. Available during brunch hours through cherry blossom season, $6 each. (3701 Newark St, NW; 202-362-1719)
The Peruvian restaurant will be putting a cherry blossom spin on its signature pisco sours: a cherry sour made with cherry-infused pisco, lime juice, egg white and simple syrup. Available during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (1633 P St, NW; 202-733-3170)
From March 22 - April 5, all three locations will offer a specialty pizza made with cherry cream sauce, roasted portobello mushrooms, dried cherries, formaggi misti, parsley, onions and prosciutto. Pair it with either the Cherry Blossom Wheat Ale or the Original Sin Cherry Tree Hard Cider. (Multiple locations)
Partnering with Chateau d’Esclans, the Willard will host the first ever Rosé Romp honoring the gift of the cherry trees from Japan. An official Festival event, the all you can eat and drink Romp will highlight iconic rosé wines, feature an “Art Walk” with cherry blossom themed artwork from DC artists, live music and views of the cherry blossom trees. April 1; 1 - 5 PM; tickets are $99. (1401 Pennsylvania Ave, NW; 202-628-9100)
The Rosewood Hotel lounge bar will have two cherry blossom-inspired cocktails and a Japanese whiskey flight during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Try the Sakura, made with gin, green chartreuse, green tea, passion fruit, lime juice, simple syrup, soda water and garnished with a cherry blossom or the Scidmore, made with rum, cherry syrup with cherry herring, yuzu and lime juice. (1050 31st St, NW; 202-617-2424)
Get a taste of TenPenh’s Japanese take on the class Boulevardier with the Blossom Boulevardier made with Suntory Tok Japanese Whiskey, cherry liqueur, Aperol, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Regan’s Orange Bitters, topped with a house-preserved cherry garnish. (7900 Westpark Dr, McLean; 703-910-3096)
The Mexican-Spanish inspired restaurant will have a special sandwich in celebration of the cherry blossoms. The Media Noche Sandwich is made with cured wild boar belly, cherry-cola glaze, mojo verde and Morello cherry mustard - available March 15-29. (1926 14th St, NW; 202-319-1400)
Photos via Farrah Skeiky and Bar DuPont