Friday Happy Hour: Rite of Spring at Room 11

Friday Happy Hour is back after our month of ARTINIs – and, I am pleased to report, we will be including some additional voices from our other drinks writers in this space from time to time, in our efforts to bring you the most diverse collection of drinks experiences we can. Spring seems like a perfect time for this sort of re-vamp – and so what could be a more perfect drink to kick off this new season than one called Rite of Spring?

While I love to pester the awesome staff of Room 11 to make me experimental drinks based on what is often a string of near-nonsense adjectives – and they consistently make creative, tasty cocktails off the tops of their heads from my silly prompts – I also like to keep up with the drinks they feature on their menu. These change with the seasons and are generally the results of extensive testing and experimenting.

On a recent visit, their chalkboard offered Rite of Spring and, given the lovely warm day, how could I turn that down? As the name suggests, this is springtime distilled into a coupe glass. Starting with Beefeater gin (of course – what spirit could be more spring than gin?), the drink builds floral notes with a chamomile honey syrup, lavender bitters, and lemon juice. A pinch of aromatic chamomile buds are sprinkled across the top.

The chamomile and lavender has an almost aromatherapy quality of instant calming – so much so, in fact, the staff has nicknamed the honey “sleepy syrup.” After a sip – and, particularly, a smell – one can easily conjure images of a stone house set in the English countryside, surrounded by gardens and probably some kind of stately dog (or whatever else one imagines oneself to have at their country estate – for me, gin and a basset hound will do). All around, Rite of Spring makes for a perfect tipple to enjoy in the early evening of a breezy spring day.

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)

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