Drowning your sorrows during Inauguration weekend? You won’t be alone.
We’re accustomed to plenty of partying during Inauguration here in D.C., but this year is offering a new spin that is making it hard to predict where the biggest parties will be found, as it remains to be seen whether Friday night’s inaugural festivities will be outshone by Saturday’s protest marches.
For many restaurants, this year’s inauguration requires a delicate balancing act; restaurants are typically nonpartisan, cheerfully catering to politicians, lobbyists and other political players on both sides of the aisle. However, the inflammatory comments made by Donald Trump during the campaign regarding immigrants, women, minorities and other disenfranchised groups rubbed many restaurateurs the wrong way, famously leading to chefs José Andrés and Geoffrey Zakarian to each abandon the upscale eateries they had planned for the Trump Hotel at the Old Post Office Pavilion.
The weekend traditionally provides a big financial boost to D.C.’s restaurant industry every four years, but perhaps the most talked-about event this time around is All In Service, a restaurant industry-led event bringing together nearly 100 local eateries are taking the opportunity this time to use the proceeds from the weekend’s business receipts to support a variety of LGBT, women’s and other charitable organizations, including the Trevor Project, Whitman-Walker Health and La Clinica Del Pueblo.
One of the participating businesses is New Columbia Distillers (1832 Fenwick St., N.E.), which brought craft distilling back to the nation’s capital in 2011 with Green Hat Gin, donating 100 percent of its sales on Jan. 21 to Planned Parenthood. Its staff will be mixing up specialty cocktails from their own craft spirits at the Ivy City distillery that day, with names like R. B. Ginsburg, Pantsuit Nation and Suffragette City.
The Constitutional Pizza, inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden, will fill the plates at chef Ruth Gresser’s Pizzeria Paradiso through Jan. 24, but it will be best eaten when accompanied by a glass of Denizens Brewing Company beer on Jan. 21. That’s the day that the restaurant and brewery, which are each women-owned, are joining forces to tap a keg of Lowest Lord, an English-style ESB (extra special bitter), which will be available for 12-ounce $5 pours at Pizzeria Paradiso’s Dupont Circle location (2003 P St., N.W.), with proceeds benefiting the League of Women Voters.
At Ristorante i Ricchi (1220 19th St., N.W.), you’ll find that chef and owner Christianne Ricchi is trying to bridge the partisan divide, offering up special red and blue Inaugural cocktails throughout the week — the Trump-tini, a blend of gin, pomegranate and lemon topped with prosecco, and the Barack Rocks, featuring vodka, lime and curaçao. Perhaps tipping her hat as to her true feelings, Ricchi is also inviting women attending the Women’s March on Washington to come to the restaurant for restorative hot drinks and conversation following the march, noting with some pride that tandem marches will even be taking place in Italy that day.
Le Diplomate (1601 14th St., N.W.) is another spot offering warming beverages over the entire weekend, with a streetside cart where passersby can scoop up cups of peppermint chocolat chaud and coffee on both Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, District Distilling Company (1414 U St., N.W.) will warm customers a little differently, highlighting the weekend’s tequila-based “Manzana Ilegal” cocktail, proceeds from which will be donated to N Street Village; they’ll end the festivities in style on Monday, Jan. 23, with a “Swine and Spirits” bash with free food and drinks for staff of any businesses that participated in the All In Service event and a suggested donation of $25 for anyone else, with proceeds going to N Street Village, Martha’s Table and Whitman-Walker Clinic.
If you need to do something to keep your hands busy this weekend, Via Umbria (1525 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) is hosting a cocktail class supporting Planned Parenthood called “Cheers to Powerful Women” on Jan. 19-20 (be sure to call ahead to make sure that there’s still room available, as the class is proving to be highly popular). Guest mixologist Matt Demia from True Syryps will shake up five drinks inspired by American women, from the Molly Pitcher to the Nasty Woman to the Pink Pussycat.
Don’t worry about the hangover. There’s a long four years ahead of us and a few drinks this weekend are the least of our worries, no matter which side of the political spectrum you’re on.
Kristen Hartke is a D.C.-based food and beverage writer; follow her kitchen adventures at kristenhartke.