We Love Drinks: Equinox, Redux

Chocolate Martinis at Equinox

"Chocolate Martinis at Equinox" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

It was a case of double trouble when I met Katie for a We Love Drinks special at Equinox‘s Chocolate Happy Hour. As two of the food and drink fanatics here at We Love DC, we thought it would be fun to head out together to one of Katie’s favorite spots, a place I’d actually never been. And it did not disappoint. 

Picking a spot for the after-work happy hour is a tricky thing. Equinox has a small bar area really more conducive for pre-dinner drinks than for bringing a group or meeting multiple friends. But for a twosome, it works well… though we certainly perfected the art of lurking menacingly for vacant seats, like two sharks circling for blood (“what’s with the guy at the end of the bar, with the crossword puzzle? come on, close your tab, we want chocolate before spring begins!”)

Finally we were able to nab seats and properly toast farewell to winter with the last of the rich chocolate cocktails – one white chocolate with chambord splash for me, and one dark chocolate with sea salt for Katie. “Hello Saturday morning!” she quipped, and oh yes, these were pretty potent for girly cocktails. Happily not too overtly dairy, just the right taste of cream and salt for a chocolate cocktail. 

Now, the goodies. All happy hours must deliver on the goodies. 

Risotto Fritters at Equinox

"Risotto Fritters at Equinox" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

I was pleasantly surprised that sitting in the bar area and ordering just two appetizers got us an amuse bouche. How gracious, not to mention delicious – glasses of mushroom bisque pared with spoons of tuna tartare. Our cheese plate was a good selection, but the true standout – the risotto fritters (or arancini) – little balls of deep fried rice and cheese. Ridiculously perfect in their shape, it was almost a shame to devour them as quickly as we did. Almost.

Round two I decided to test our bartender with what I consider the dealbreaker of drinks – the dirty martini. Incorrectly mixed and it can kick your tastebuds to the curb, slur your speech patterns and send you to the porcelain temple in minutes flat. Or, just make you do the unhappy sour face. I’m happy to report it was beautifully done, very smooth, with no ill effects.

One precious little cheese plate later and it was time to call it a night, if not head to the Y for a workout. How did drinks morph into dinner? That’s the mark of a truly good happy hour.

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As one of the founding editors of We Love DC, Jenn’s passions are theater and cocktails. After two decades in the city, she’s loved every quirky, mundane, elegant, rude minute of her DC life. A proud advocate for DC’s talented drinks scene, she’s judged the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s ARTINI contest, the DC Rickey Month contest, the Jefferson Hotel’s Quill Cocktail competition, and is a founding member of LUPEC DC. A graduate of Catholic University’s drama program, she toured the country as a member of National Players, and has been both an actor and a costume designer before jumping the aisle to theater criticism. Writing for We Love DC restored her happiness after a life-threatening illness, and she’s grateful to you, dear readers. Send your suggestions to jenn (at) welovedc (dot) com and follow her on Twitter.

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6 thoughts on “We Love Drinks: Equinox, Redux

  1. Mmmm…this post is making my mouth water. Chocolate happy hour, does that mean reduced prices on those delicious-sounding martinis?

  2. Thanks everybody! I think they may have switched over to their “Cherry Blossom” cocktails now… but I’m sure you can always ask the bartender to make the chocolate cocktails…

  3. I called last night after reading this! And they said the switch was either this weekend or next, he wasn’t sure. But he did mention something about rum and cherry ice cubes, which sounded equally intriguing. Thanks again, Jenn!