Food & Drink

This DC Cocktail Bar Is Trolling the *&$% out of the Trump Inauguration

In the run-up to the 2016 election, Barrel, a bar on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. ran a pop-up cocktail program in their downstairs Elixir Bar based on quotes from a certain impressively-coiffed presidential candidate (including such classics drinks as I Beat China All The Time and Obama Is The Founder Of Isis).

Now, in “honor” of Trump’s imminent inauguration, bar manager Parker Girard is “Russian” to do it again. [Dear reader, please accept our apologies. The person who wrote that joke has been fired. ― Ed]

Called “Unpresidented,” the pop-up has remade the bar’s interior in red to “honor” the incoming President’s not-so-silent partner in the Kremlin, and they’ve added a Cyrillic menu and a back-bar filled entirely with bottles of Russian Standard Vodka. The walls are adorned with The Orange One’s tweets, there is a modified version of The Last Supper featuring members of Trump’s posse, and patrons can take their pictures with life-sized cut-outs of both Trump and Vladimir Putin.

This time around, a couple beers (including the Russian-made Baltika and North Coast Brewing’s Old Rasputin) made the menu. The cocktails, however, are also very much on-theme. “Every cocktail on the menu is made with vodka except for one,” Girard explains. The lone exception? That would be “This Cocktail Costs $29 At The Trump Hotel,” a comment on the price-hikes at Trump’s new DC hotel in the wake of their boss’s newfound notoriety. “On the Trump Hotel menu it’s called the John Willet,” says Girard of the bourbon-based drink. “We’re serving the exact same drink for less than half what they’re charging.”

Also of note is the Moscow Mole, which features “cooked down serrano pepper with fish sauce, vinegar, honey, sugar and fresh pureed ginger,” and packs a serious bite. “We really let it steep to get that bright ginger flavor,” Girard says. “Plus it’s got funk from the fish sauce along with bitterness and spice.” Hmmm. Doesn’t sound like anyone we know.

Girard simplified things this time around, after the success of his previous Trump venture took its toll. “It was really wonderful to see the reception the last menu had,” he explains, “but if it’s three deep at the bar, you don’t want to burden your bartenders with shaking egg white cocktails. We made 59 of those one night and I could barely move my arms the next day.”

Generally Girard shies away from vodka when designing drinks for Elixir. Until making this menu, he estimates he’s only created one vodka cocktail in the last three years. But when you go high concept you have to go all the way. “We wanted this bar to look like if you went to a Trump victory party in Moscow,” he says. As long as the party doesn’t include girls of loose morals, count us in.