Drinking with Southern Efficiency

“Southern efficiency and Northern charm…”

That’s how President Kennedy once described life in Washington, D.C. But when you’re in the dog days of summer, southern efficiency sounds like just the right speed.

It’s also the name of a fantastic place in the District to escape the heat – a small whiskey bar in Shaw. It’s part of a trio of bars fashioned out of restored row houses on 7th Street by D.C. writer and cocktail guru Derek Brown.

Southern Efficiency - Facade

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Drinking D.C.’s Dog Days Away

It’s the Dog Days of Summer.

If you’ve stayed behind in Washington (What are you doing here?? Even Congress flees town in the month of August…) or if you’re visiting the nation’s capital, sometimes the only thing to relieve the heat is a tall, cold drink.

Luckily you can stay cool and experience D.C. history by drinking a Rickey – Washington’s native cocktail.

It’s been described as air conditioning in a glass, which explains why July has been designated as “Rickey Month” in the District. I would lobby to add August, too.

And it’s perfectly fitting that a lobbyist is credited with the creation of D.C.’s indigenous cocktail – “Colonel” Joe Rickey, an influential and colorful Democratic lobbyist from Missouri who owned the famous Shoomaker’s Bar.

Shoomaker's Bar on D.C.'s infamous Rum Row. (Photo: Library of Congress)
Shoomaker’s Bar on D.C.’s infamous Rum Row. (Photo: Library of Congress)

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District Yuletide Traditions, Olde and New

The District has some great holiday traditions – from the lighting of the National Christmas Tree and Menorah, to the decorations in the lobby of the Willard Hotel, to present shopping in Georgetown.

But there’s always room for making new history, and so I added a couple of traditions to my holiday list this year.

One was Holiday Primetime Libations at the new Union Market.

I managed to catch the last of these end-of-week happy hours this past Friday, and it made me wish I had gone sooner. What better way to get into the the holiday spirit than by imbibing a few?

We sat at the bar of the excellent soda shop Buffalo & Bergen, which acquired its liquor license just this month. Lucky for us, because veteran DC mixologist Gina Chersevani whips up a great punch, as well as a cocktail list guaranteed to keep you warm.

Holiday spirits at Buffalo & Bergen in Union Market.
Holiday spirits at Buffalo & Bergen in Union Market.

The other new tradition on the list was ice skating with a view of the Potomac.

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