The pursuit of a good cocktail begins!

I have been traveling with some frequency to Washington, D.C. for business.  While I get to stay at some nice properties, I have been underwhelmed at what should be one of the most fun spots of any hotel:  the bar.  And maybe for that reason, I have been remiss in exploring the specialty cocktails that the mixologists may be serving at these bars.  This sad state of affairs took a turn for the better – for the MUCH better – when I stayed at the Sofitel Lafayette just about across the park from the White House.

Le Bar at the Sofitel Lafayette was not my first encounter with a Le Bar.  My first was at the Sofitel in Chicago where I enjoyed one of their specialty drinks:  the Wrigleyville.

Taking it from the top

A few step back though before I get to their special cocktails.  I first went to the DC property’s Le Bar the night I arrived just to have a quick meal as it was getting late so I was pretty much focused on eating and getting to my room.  However, the bar area immediately grabbed me:

Le Bar at Sofitel Lafayette in DC

Decor of Sofitel Lafayette's Le Bar in DC

And I hear that in warmer times, the outdoor seating area is great to take in DC – and people watch.

Chocolate in my mind. What is new?

The following day I returned for a chocolate delight “tea” included in the winter special rate I had gotten.  It was delicious and the hot chocolate perfect for the cold and humid late fall afternoon.

Chocolate delights at the Sofitel Lafayette

On the last night of my stay, I spent more time at Le Bar sampling some of their specialty cocktails and the appetizers on offer.  The bar manager and mixologist, Alan Jones, walked me through a couple of his specialty drinks – the Lafayette and the Senegal – before sharing with me one of his favorite wines:  Argentina’s Clos de Siete.

The Lafayette

The Lafayette, a Bourbon-based drink (I will let Alan tell you the exact recipe in person at Le Bar!), had a delicious smoky flavor that could make me drink quite a few back to back without blinking.  But, this was not the night for that.

Bourbon-based cocktail at the Sofitel Lafayette in DC

It was at this point the croque monsieur bites were brought out.  I have to say the competed VERY favorably with any croque monsieur I ate in France proper!

The Senegal

The Senegal was up next.  Made from spiced rum, tamarind and a couple of other ingredients.  It was extremely refreshing and a great alternative to a caipirinha which was Alan’s goal.

Spiced rum cocktail at Sofitel Lafayette in DC

The Clos de Siete

The Clos de Siete, a blend of mostly Malbec and Merlot but also Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was a very enjoyable red with strong personality and intense flavors that I can’t wait to find in my hometown.  Somewhere before this wine the duck confit appetizer was brought out.  Not something I would order on my own but I took Alan’s word that it was outstanding.  And so it was!

A new pursuit

This tasting gave me my first real experience exploring the art and/or science of developing cocktails – all these years missed!  But thanks to Alan and Sofitel’s Le Bar, I have discovered a new pursuit  😉

Disclosure:  I paid for my stay at the Sofitel at a publicly available rate.  The offerings at the bar were courtesy of the Sofitel.  I write this post because I was very pleased with the offerings!




  1. OMG, gimme some of that chocolate delight!!
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Our Bite of the Big Apple with Ahoy!My Profile

  2. If I am ever in Washington D.C. I will be making a beeline to the Le Bar Sofitel for a Senegal.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..A night in the Guyana Rupunini Oasis Service CenterMy Profile

  3. OMG they look delicious 🙂 and you know how I love cocktails. Hotel looks nice too!
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..Mrs. O goes around Europe to start 2013My Profile

  4. the space looks sooo cute and cozy, i’m obsessed! and the drinks don’t look too bad either. aka i want one right now.
    the lazy travelers recently posted..itinerary reflections: what could have beenMy Profile

  5. We are on the same topic this week, Raul – drinks! Wow…these look delicious – even the hot chocolate looks good. I definitely will have to head to the bar next time I’m in DC and meet Alan myself.
    The World Wanderer recently posted..2013: The Year of No Limits.My Profile

  6. I’d be pleased with those offerings too… looks a few good drinks to try on my next visit to DC…
    stay adventurous, Craig
    Craig Zabransky recently posted..A Personal Island Tour takes me to Daaibooi Beach, CuracaoMy Profile

  7. Ah, you have me pining for a cocktail, Raul! In the early morning too…for shame 🙂

  8. The Senegal looks quite interesting, I’m a fan of caipirinha’s so it could go down quite well

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