Five Favorites: Staying Warm (and Bright)

Photo courtesy of
‘winter wonderland (February 2010 edition)’
courtesy of ‘mofo’

There is a lovely dusting of snow out there and, even if that sends you down a panic spiral, we can all agree that it is great to enjoy from the cozy comfort of the indoors, ideally with something to warm you from within.

5. Churros & Chocolate at Churreria Madrid
One of my best friends lives about a block from long-time Adams Morgan Spanish joint Churreria Madrid. The bad news for her though, is that, as a vegan, the chocolate is definitely off-limits and we have not quite confirmed the veg-stats of the oil that fries the churros. I choose not to ask too many questions and, instead, just dip my fried dough in the thick, hot chocolate sauce while I wonder how a place like Spain ever invited such a perfect snowy day snack.

Photo courtesy of
‘churros and chocolate’
courtesy of ‘timsnell’

4. Cappuccino at Mid-City Caffe
Mid-City Caffe is not my usual coffee spot, but it has a distinct advantage in the location department this time of year. On 14th Street in – shocker – Mid City, it falls near just about every shop I visit looking for gifts. When walking even a few blocks between boutiques gets too chilly, I love to pop in and, if I can find a seat among the laptops, enjoy my soy capp near one of the second-story windows. Caffeine is, after all, vital for fighting retail fatigue.

Photo courtesy of
‘I <3 coffee'
courtesy of ‘erin m’

3. Sazerac at Tabard Inn
I like Sazeracs anywhere, but you can order anything you like at this Washington classic, Tabard Inn. The important part is that you sink into a seat in front of the fireplace to imbibe it. One Yelp review calls the place “a mash-up of Jane Austin and Virginia Wolfe decor,” and if that does not sell you on a place, I am not sure we are going to be friends. It is easily the snuggest, coziest, most-character-rich place you can find around the South Dupont area, in case you need a spot to take that cutie from Johns Hopkins for an evening of drinking and discussing Francis Fukuyama. (Note: I do not go to SAIS, but make me this offer and we can be friends after all.)

Photo courtesy of
‘Lounge at Tabard Inn’
courtesy of ‘Jenn Larsen’

2. Mezcal Old Fashioned at The Passenger

Mezcal is my cold-weather sprit of choice and I particularly adore a smoky, rustic mezcal brightened up in an old fashioned. Around October, I decided that this would be “my drink” for the season and have been ordering them all over town since. Wednesday night, then, imagine my surprise to find it up on the chalkboard at The Passenger, my favorite bar. I am just going to assume they knew I was coming, right? In any event, this is not a hot drink per se, though it has a winter-cutting flavor, but do what I did and come with a big group to fill one of the window booths and use your friends for insulation.

Photo courtesy of
‘Old Fashioned Bokeh’
courtesy of ‘Paul Frederiksen’

1. Hot Toddy at Room 11
The charming and snug Columbia Heights bar Room 11 had a whole menu of hot toddy choices on my recent visit, made with a variety of spirits and flavor combinations. I wrapped myself around the French variety based on Cognac while cozied up in a corner with a companion. The food menu features a ginger molasses cake made with Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, which I guess I have to try on my next visit.

Photo courtesy of
‘hot toddy’
courtesy of ‘Bekathwia’

Brittany has tried to leave DC, it just never lasts. She has lived in Chicago, California, and China – but she always comes back home. Brittany is a drinks, nightlife, and style correspondent for We Love DC. Between columns, you can find her on Twitter, Tumblr, or standing by the bar. Email her at brittany(at)

5 thoughts on “Five Favorites: Staying Warm (and Bright)

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  2. Agreed on all counts! Chantal (at Tabard) and Derek (at The Passenger) both make deliciously mean (and meanly delicious) drinks.

  3. @H: Having only been there in the spring and summer, I guess my mind was just stuck on it being mostly warm when I wrote this. Clearly, though, you are correct.

  4. FYI, chocolate is *not* off-limits for vegans, and if it’s chocolate syrup, it probably *is* vegans. Traditional chocolate has no milk, and milk chocolate only exists to sell more chocolate because you can eat more of it due to its less intense flavor compared to ‘rich’ chocolate.