As summer draws to a close and cooler months await us, it’s time to ditch the sugary, syrup-based drinks that permeate summer cocktail programs in favor of something fresher. Light enough to enjoy while the heat continues but not so summery they seem out of place, BLT Steak’s Drink Your Veggies program from beverage director James Nelson features fresh fruits and vegetables in every drink.
The result is potent and refreshing drinks without the sugar that cocktail connoisseurs know can lead to overpowering a drink’s complex flavors – or a dreaded headache the next day. And since the drinks are made on the spot with farm-to-table ingredients, you’re guaranteed vibrance in every sip.
For an elevated take on the orange juice and vodka, look no further than the What’s Up Doc. The vinegar in the carrot shrub keeps the Orange Hangar 1 Vodka-based drink refreshingly tart, while cinnamon adds a dash of fall flavor to the vividly colored cocktail.
Most of us could use some more greens in their diet. The Don’t Forget The Fennel definitely counts – it even has slivers of nutritious beets floating in it. The bite from the fennel and lime paired with Bombay Sapphire gin and refreshing cucumber will make you forget there’s even a healthy ingredient in this drink.
But the real highlight of Nelson’s menu is a wildly creative take on a simple dish that has taken breakfast menus by storm. The Have Your Toast and Eat It Too is all the ingredients of avocado toast condensed into a cocktail – a dream for any millennial and/or avocado lover.
This isn’t just a drink that relies on recreations of the flavors in avocado toast, though. Hendricks Gin is the perfect vehicle for fresh, muddled avocado. Nelson makes a tangy and refreshing tomato soda to add some effervescence to the concoction, and it’s finished with an everything bagel rim and lemon slice. The result is a creamy, bubbly drink that would beat a Bloody Mary in a contest for the best brunch drink with flying colors.
BLT Steak: 1625 I St. NW, DC; 202-689-8999; www.bltrestaurants.com/blt-steak/washington-d-c/