I was asked recently what I consider my guilty pleasure drink. I didn’t know what to say. Most of the time I’m drinking rather straightforward drinks. I like to get a little extravagant sometimes and experiment a bit, but I wouldn’t consider that a guilty pleasure. That I reserve for marshmallow vodka or whiskey from a plastic jug. I thought about it and decided that the closest thing I have to a guilty pleasure is day drinking. Even when I had a more traditional 9 to 5 style job I had a tendency to mix up a sherry cocktail before I made my way into work. It was how I got my morning OJ.
Before brunch cocktails became a weekend staple, I had such a hard time cajoling my friends to commit to serious day drinking. Bottomless Bloodies, Mimosas and Bellinis are some of the greatest things to happen to recent cocktail culture. Now it’s suddenly trendy and it’s not just me and Hemmingway drinking Daiquiris at ten in the morning. And thankfully cocktails for brunch are such a big thing in DC. Working as much as I do, I’d never get a chance to go out for a nice cocktail if it wasn’t for brunch. Which is exactly why I hoofed it across town to Tryst on a Sunday morning, to get my day drinking on (the food was good too).
I like Adams Morgan a lot but I tend to avoid it because it can get a bit too ADD for me. I don’t think it’s fair to resign it as a haven of underaged drinking and knuckle-dragging bros (that’s Dupont on a Saturday night). If that’s the crowd you’re finding, you’re just not going to the right places–Jack Rose or Blagaurd (a family haunt). My problem is the right places are always crazy, stupid busy, so I feel bad for the staff and end up ordering a beer.
Tryst was surprisingly relaxed for a Sunday brunch service. There were a lot of hoverers, as to be expected, but the drinks were good and bountiful. I came specifically for one thing on the menu, the Lion’s Share Cider, a mix of bourbon, allspice, and apple cider, served hot and garnished with two (!) cookies. I’d probably drink anything that was garnished with a cookie (maybe not a dirty martini. I’d eat the cookie at least) but this time of year especially, I go crazy for hot drinks–toddies, mulled wine, flips, everything made with the loggerheads at Hogo.
Learned cocktailians get points for recognizing this drink as a riff on the Lion’s Tail, which is a somewhat unusual mix of bourbon, lime juice, and allspice liqueur. Truthfully, I prefer mine with applejack or apple brandy in addition to bourbon; I find that brandies take better to citrus, and apple and allspice are one of my all time favorite cold winter flavor combos (and make the best apple pie, just substitute the easier to find allspice berries for grains of paradise). I think the pros behind the stick at Tryst are on the same wave length with the substitution of cider for lime juice to make the Lion’s Share. The cider adds a bit of sweetness and make for a long, ponderous sipper. Perfect for a slow Sunday relaxing on the mismatched couches at Tryst.