Columbia Room Launches New Summer Cocktail Menu featuring the “Banana Republican”


Photos by Bobby Spero

From an email:

“Derek Brown’s new Columbia Room (124 Blagden Alley NW) ushers in summer with a new seasonal cocktail menu inspired by Central and South American flavors, cultures and countries, including traditional Latin American beverages and spirits from El Salvador, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and more.

Columbia Room Summer 2016 menu (PDF)

The new menu items launch Tuesday, June 28 in the Tasting Room, Spirits Library and Punch Garden, and are inspired by the heritage, lives and travels of Columbia Room staff — from kitchen cooks to bar assistants to Drink Company CEO Angie Fetherston, who is Ecuadorian.

“We drew inspiration from our team, CEO to dishwasher, and asked them to help us discover new flavors and new ideas,” Brown says of designing the new menu. “That’s one of the things Columbia Room does best, experiment, because our guests are generally a little more adventurous. We were interested in flavors and products that we haven’t really used, from floral teas in Ecuador to a drinkable salad in El Salvador.”

Known for impeccable attention to detail and unexpected presentation, Columbia Room incorporates a diverse array of spirits in the new summer menu offerings, including singani, pisco, rum, chicha and Chilean wine paired with fruit and vegetable ingredients such as guava, banana, iceberg lettuce and passion fruit.

The Tasting Room’s signature three- or five-course tasting experience features five exciting new summer cocktails, including the “Coctel de Tamayo,” made with singani, scotch, dry curaçao, banana, passion fruit, orgeat, cane sugar, lime juice and black-lemon bitters.

“We Came for the Gold,” served in the Spirits Library, is a mix of miso-infused pisco, ginger-lime cordial, honey, maraschino liqueur and red shiso leaf. And in the Punch Garden, the bottled “Jote” consists of Chilean wine, citrus oleo syrup, amaro ciociaro and sparkling mineral water topped with a lime wheel and seasonal berries.

Columbia Room’s new summer menu will be available until mid-September — just before the official start of fall.”

5 Comment

  • I live about .5 blocks from this place, have been there twice, and STILL have no idea what its deal is. Do I need reservations? If so, for all the bar or some of it? Can I get the whole drink list in the punch garden or is that just punch? If I want to do a tasting, can I pick what kind of drinks I like or is that out of my hands? Are the tasting room drinks full sized–in which case, isn’t 5 cocktails a lot? If not, isn’t it kind of expensive for mini cocktails?

    I think they need to stop trying to do 12 things and just focus on one or two.

    • justinbc

      It’s really not that difficult to figure out, especially if you’ve actually been there and seen how it’s laid out, but to answer some of your questions:
      – The bar has 3 “areas”, the punch garden, the spirits library, and The Columbia Room (an actual room inside the bar)
      – You only need reservations for the tasting menu in the private room, which is in a closed off area so you wouldn’t just accidentally stumble in without reservations
      – The punch room is more than just punch
      – The drinks for the tasting menu are set. At the old location you used to be able to order things a la carte, but they scrapped that for the new one. This was a bummer for me because that was one of the most appealing aspects of interacting with the outstanding bartenders, but this allows them to do much more creative things I guess.
      – I don’t know what you mean by full-sized. They are sized appropriate to what they contain, I guess? They’re not designed to get you shit-faced, although if you’re a lightweight I suppose that’s still possible. It’s supposed to be a drinking “experience”, similar to how you can go to minibar and get 20+ courses and still go crush a slice of Wiseguys after.
      – As for pricing, the $75 (for 3 courses, $100 for 5) includes some food, tax, and tip. $25 or $20 per course for all inclusive really isn’t out of scope with DC, in some cases it’s actually quite favorable, especially considering the uniqueness of what you’re getting.

      • Agree with all this, it really isn’t that difficult. Although, I will say that if the inside library is busy, you may not be able to order cocktails other than punches on the punch garden. If you are a little confused or have a question, I have found all the staff to be extremely friendly and helpful.

      • That’s helpful, but when I went to the punch garden they seemed to be have to check whether they could do regular drinks (they could) (MtP clarifies a bit). When I went to the library without a reservation on one of the first nights they were open, they said that I couldn’t stand at the bar where others were standing because those spots were saved for people coming in with a reservation (perhaps that’s changed). They let us stand there but said we’d have to move when the resevationed people showed up. Considering there were no empty seats, I’m not sure where would have moved to. Thankfully, someone from the chairs got up and we took their seats. Maybe the system has been tightened since then.

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