There’s something mysterious and magical about hotel establishments. You just never know who you’ll bump into or meet! After reading our D.C. Editor Stephanie’s, brunch review at Radiator I knew I had to visit. Having spent many an evening on the rooftop at Mason & Rook last summer, I was intrigued to try seasonal winter cocktails at Radiator.
My sweet and sassy friend, Sarah, was in town with her mother and we were long overdue to catch up on her adventures living abroad in Barcelona. Sarah and I used to frequent popular day-drinking destinations during her years living in the District. Her one requirement was to explore a new setting. I was up for the task and knew Sarah would love Radiator.
The Movers and Shakers
Radiator is located on the ground level of the Mason & Rook hotel, a new Kimpton concept in Logan Circle. This property was formerly the Hotel Helix and rebranded to feel as if you’ve stepped into a stylish urban home. If you’re looking for a pretentious hotel, you won’t find it here. Modern, minimalist yet inviting is what you’ll get once inside. Having been immersed into the food and beverage industry her whole life, Radiator’s lead bartender, Sarah Rosner is more than just experienced in developing an innovative cocktail program.
Radiator is trendy without having to try too hard. Dark oak furniture create a more upscale feel while the space opens up to a whimsical courtyard. We were immediately taken aback at how tranquil the outdoor space feels, especially being steps away from the often loud and lively 14th street corridor. Life-sized games such as Connect Four, wooden bird houses, and a bustling fire pit provide a much needed urban escape.
Is This Seat Taken?
I thoroughly appreciate any establishment where I can speak in a normal conversation volume. Sarah’s stylish mom, Melinda, was visiting from Texas and very much shared the same sentiment. We noticed a number of couples around us spanning various age groups, which was nice for a change. While the inside space radiates mature, sexy, and intimate, the courtyard screams edgy, youthful, and fun. You can’t go wrong with bringing a group of friends, family in town, or a cute date.
Tony, our charming bartender took lovely care of us throughout the evening. I knew immediately upon his warm greeting, that he wouldn’t steer us wrong. He recommended the Two Bucks, One Cup for me with Maker’s Mark, Pimm’s, ginger, lemon, and Havana and Hide bitters. This delicious drink was reminiscent of leather and cigars and came garnished with a tobacco leaf. Ladies, if you want to impress a man, order this drink for him. Or just snag it for yourself!
Sarah went with Ward 2 while Melinda chose the Bolivian Sage. The Ward 2 calls for bourbon, orange juice, and lemon garnished with pomegranate-cinnamon shrub. Both of the bright, citrus-colored cocktails were served in coupes. The Bolivian Sage was the winner between the two with brandy, pineapple, strawberry, and sage.
We were also treated to an array of globally-inspired small plates ranging from croquetas to Hamachi crudo, and Brussels sprouts. The smoked sea salt on the bacon fat fries paired with a lemon garlic dip was a major hit for Sarah and Melinda. Next, Tony prepared a seasonal shareable for us with all the bells and whistles. The Apple of my Eye was essentially a clarified Dark and Stormy with an apple jack twist. With rum as the base spirit, luster dust brought the drink to life as it glistened. We couldn’t have loved this cocktail any more: it was equal parts strong as it was sweet. As an added bonus, it also sparkled.
After being properly nourished, we settled with our final night caps. It only seemed appropriate to try the namesake cocktail, especially as it came with Prosecco. Ango and orange bitters and bourbon only made Mason & Rook more refreshing for a winter cocktail. Sarah was curious to try the Aristocrat. The nautical-looking cocktail combines gin and absinthe over crushed ice with maraschino liqueur. Sarah’s cocktail took her back to summer days spent on the beaches of Barcelona.
As if this wasn’t enough, house-made truffles paired with a shot of rich chocolate liqueur provided for a sweet ending to our evening catching up over cocktails.
We couldn’t have asked for a better experience and loved the personal stories the staff shared with us. Sit by the fire and enjoy a cocktail while playing your favorite childhood board games. Radiator provides the perfect hideout from the daily hustle.
Mason + Rook Hotel
1430 Rhode Island Ave. N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20005