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:
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.
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, 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.
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 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.
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!