Drinking on New Year’s Eve is, of course, a time-honored tradition. Thus, it should not surprise you to learn that opportunities abound for drinking on New Year’s Eve in the District. (And all across the country, presumably.)
But you want to do it right. As Chris. Xander advertised in the Washington Evening Star shortly after the New Year in 1901, “‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,’ and you can’t make a good Cocktail out of poor whisky.” To help point you in the right direction, Mr. Xander offered his “Old Reserve” whisky for $1.25 a bottle, for sale at 909 7th Street. (Side note: awesomely detailed history about Mr. Xander here.)
I can’t send you to Xander’s, which is now either a TD Bank, FedEx Office or a parking garage. But in the same spirit, I can point you to a few places where you are likely to find a cocktail worthy of the occasion this New Year’s Eve:
Cocktail flight at barmini. Start your night at barmini with a glass of Dom Perignon and a special New Year’s Eve cocktail flight. Note that you will probably not be celebrating the New Year here at midnight. The latest seating (10:15 p.m.) is already full, although you can try for the waitlist. But it’s not a bad place to start the night as the cocktails here never disappoint. Reservations are $175 per person and available here. Seatings still available at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; 501 9th Street N.W.
Blind Pig: a New Year’s Eve Speakeasy at Barrel. Barrel in Capitol Hill boasts a raft of original cocktails, including a featured barrel-aged cocktail from its “Lab.” For New Year’s Eve, Barrel is offering an all-you-can-eat menu and various punches, cocktails, and wines to drink, including sparkling wine for the customary midnight toast. Tickets are $120 here. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.; 613 Pennsylvania Avenue S.E.
New Year’s Eve in the Spirits Library at Columbia Room. Recently named the Best American Cocktail Bar, the Columbia Room is hosting a cocktail-and-Champagne party in its spirits library, along with small bites. Note they are also hosting a class on Champagne cocktails the night before, offering an opportunity to brush up on your own N.Y.E. skillset in the event you will be hosting rather than going out on December 31, as well as to lay to rest that vexing dilemma whether cocktails or champagne are more fitting for the occasion (although at the moment the class is full; they do have a waitlist). Tickets are $150 for New Year’s Eve and $100 for the class; information on both can be found here. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and 3 to 4:45 p.m. on December 30; 124 Blagden Alley N.W.
Tasting for Two at Dram & Grain. Dram & Grain at Jack Rose is offering a “special celebration for two” with a five-course cocktail tasting, with food pairings for each course. First seating is from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the second is from 9:30 p.m. to last call. The price is $125 per couple, and reservations are made by texting (202) 607-1572. 2007 18th Street N.W.
Finally, don’t forget about the ongoing Miracle on 7th Street pop-up bar in the Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich, and Southern Efficiency spaces, covered in the December cocktail events round-up post, which will have its last night on New Year’s Eve. And if that reminds you that you haven’t finished your winter-holiday shopping, consider our cocktail-themed suggestions here.