Friday Happy Hour: Sixth Engine

For someone who writes a column called “Friday Happy Hour,” I’ve attended dreadfully few happy hours since I’ve moved to this city. Unless you count late night Industry happy hour at Eat The Rich, in which case, I’ve done more than my fair share. But this past Tuesday, with the city practically shut down due to snowmageddon, happy hour sounded like a perfect reason to check out the city, all decked in white, and have a few drinks along the way.

This started out with the best intentions, but after the freezing five block walk from the bus stop to Sixth Engine, I was starting to regret my decision. Once I got my butt in a seat at Sixth Engine, I was there to stay.

First order of business was certainly going to be one of their winter warmers. Everything sounded great, but when the weather’s so gosh darned Scandinavian out there, nothing quite warms me up like a Swedish Punsch. Bonus if it’s served with spiced butter batter and grated nutmeg in the cheekily named Hot Butter Röm. Swedish Punsch is a spiced liqueur made from a base of Batavia Arrack, a Southeast Asian spirit very similar to rum and distilled from coconut sugar. It makes for a smart variation on the classic Hot Buttered Rum (or tiki drink if you’re at Hogo). Simple, warming, delicious – this might replace my morning coffee for the rest of the season.

Once I’d warmed up, I was ready to consider something off the regular cocktail menu. Two things I was sure not to miss are the Great King Street Scotch and Sixth Engine’s private stock of Woodford Reserve. No big, right? The team at Sixth Engine just went down to Louisville to pick out their own barrel of Woodford. I’d recommend it in either the Bon Viveur (Carpano, Benedictine, and Amaro Ciociaro) or in a pint glass filled to the brim. Also for the whisk[e]y fans, Great King Street is a premium blended scotch purposefully designed for mixing in cocktails (but that’s not to say it ain’t bad on its own). Try it in either the fizzy Highlander (Kronan Swedish Punsch, ginger, lime, hopped grapefruit bitters) or Sixth Engine’s namesake cocktail with port, Angostura, and a Peat Monster float.

Keeping with the whiskey theme I went for the Swampoodle, a mix of Jameson, Dolin Rouge, lemon, honey, and a bit of historical trivia. Swampoodle was the name for the Irish neighborhood in what’s now the Union Station area. To finish the night I decided to go for something a little different, the Gold Plated Gun, because anything with barrel aged blanc vermouth sounds too delicious to pass up. Especially if it has reposado tequila in it as well.

All in all, not a bad happy hour and not a bad way to weather all the snow.

Paul Allen

While having only recently relocated to DC, Paul has been a long time fan of DC’s cocktail culture. In his short career he has tended bar for GQ, Bombay Sapphire, Campari, and Nikka Whisky in London. Currently you can find him behind the stick at Firefly. When not working, he’s likely vociferously advocating for the DC Craft Bartender’s Guild or trying to brew the perfect cup of tea. Though he misses his native Rhode Island’s beaches and beautiful fall weather, Paul is proud to live, work, and–most importantly–drink in DC.


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