Cherry Blossom March Madness at Station Kitchen and Cocktails

Sakura Manhattan
Sakura Manhattan

by AJ Dronkers, Associate Publisher, EdibleDC

Spring has arrived and soon everyone will be celebrating the iconic return of the Cherry Blossoms. The National Park Service  announced the peak will fall between March 18-23. Want to have your mood do some spring blossoming? Start with cherry blossom cocktails. Two versions are being served starting Thursday March 17 at Station Kitchen & Cocktails inside Embassy Row Hotel in Dupont Circle.

It's all part of a spring celebration and their own March Madness. Each night, Station Kitchen & Cocktails will be serve up a series of cocktails at their bar, sixteen to be exact. Each of the artisan cocktails is competing in "cocktail march madness" brackets. The cocktails that perform the best each night move-on. Make sure you swing by and cast your vote!

And now for some cherry blossom inspiration--here are two cocktail recipes for the season.

Sakura Manhattan

2oz Rittenhouse Rye .75 oz Carpano Antica .5 oz Dolin Dry 2 dash Cherry Bitters Stirred and serve up.

Yoshino Rickey
Yoshino Rickey

Yoshino Rickey

1.5oz Bluecoat Gin .75oz Lime .5oz Tart Cherry Juice .5oz Lemon Balm

Shaken and served tall over ice.

Cheers to the Cocktails of Summer

Buckle up, roll down the windows and get ready for an amazing summer cocktail cruise. We are happy to share with our Edible DC readers the full lineup of amazing summer cocktail recipes and specialty drinks served at the Edible DC Cocktail Derby on May 9. The event featured top shelf distillers of whiskey, bourbon, gin and new local craft distillers of a Virginia scotch-style whiskey. Beverage artisans True Tonics and Runningbyrd Tea were on hand to provide samples and mixers. Horse racing season inspired the decor and attire; hats and snappy outfits were everywhere. The event was catered by Poste Modern Brasserie and held in the outdoor courtyard of the Hotel Monaco. Vendors included Whistle Pig, James River Distillery, Koval, Catoctin Creek, Copper Fox, Virginia Distillery and Bernheim Wheat Whiskey. Special thanks to Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, Typecase Industries, Amarillyis Floral + Event Design, and Elizabeth Duncan Events. Many thanks to event photographers Christina Brown and Katrina Tavanlar.


Copper Fox Distillery - The Bismark

2 ounces Copper Fox Rye

1 ounce lemon orange blossom shrub 1 ounce Carpano Bianco ½ ounce lemonade Sparkilng water Lemon verbena

Shake, strain on ice and top with sparkling water and lemon verbena for garnish.

Poste Modern Brasserie - Le Parc


1 part Strawberry Shrub (or any shrub flavor) 1 part Dolin Blanc 1 part vodka Club soda

Pour first three ingredients over ice, top with club soda. Garnish with a half strawberry and sprig of fresh thyme.

James River Distillery - Negroni

1 ounce Commonwealth Gin 1 ounce Campari 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

Combine all ingredients in an old-fashioned or rocks glass and stir. Garnish with an orange peel.

True Tonics - Caribbean Pharaoh


2 ounces Lyon White Rum 2 ounces grapefruit juice ½ ounce True Grenadine Club soda Sprig of mint

Combine rum, grapefruit juice, and grenadine over shaved or small-cube ice in an old fashioned glass, top with club soda, and garnish with a sprig of mint.

WhistlePig - Porky’s Smash

Porky's Smash_WhistlePIg

2 ounces WhistlePig Rye Whiskey 4 lemon wedges 4-5 mint leaves 3/4 ounce simple syrup 1 dash each, aromatic and orange bitters Fresh mint, for garnish

Muddle the lemon and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and remaining ingredients and shake well; strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint leaves.

Catoctin Creek -When Me Angry Gin Smash

Half a lime 4 to 6 mint leaves 1 3/4 ounces Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin 1 ounce pea purée* Mint for garnish

Muddle limes in a cocktail shaker. Add pea purée, mint leaves, gin and ice to the shaker and shake well. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint.

*Pea Purée: Take a cup of shelled peas, 1 oz of cold brew green tea, a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt and place them in a food processor or blender until smooth. Strain the mixture using a fine mesh sieve.

KOVAL Distillery - Magna Fortuna

Named for a famous rescued Chicago racehorse

2 ounces KOVAL Dry Gin 1 ounce KOVAL Ginger Liqueur 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice 1 ounce spearmint infused simple syrup Club soda

Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a wedge of lime (optional: also garnish with mint).

Running Byrd Tea Co. - Spiked Runningbyrd Tea

Adapted from Cava Grill

1 jar Runningbyrd Apple Cider Tea, chilled 2 ounces whiskey 1 sprig of fresh mint 1 cinnamon stick 1 lemon twist for garnish

Pour the whiskey into the tea and shake a few times. Pair with a cinnamon stick and mint and serve.

Virginia Distillery Company - Virginia Highland Smash, or Highland Smash

1 ounce Virginia Highland Malt Whisky ½ ounce of rich honey syrup (2:1 honey/water) 1/4 wedge of lemon 5 spearmint leaves

In a cocktail shaker, gently muddle lemon with mint leaves, taking care to just barely bruise the mint leaves. Add honey syrup and Virginia Highland Malt Whisky and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube. Garnish with two mint leaves slapped between your hands to release essential oils.

Bernheim & Domaine de Canton - The Gold Rush

1½ ounces Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey 1 ounce Domaine de Canton liqueur ½ ounce fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake well and strain into a martini glass.

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company - Elemental Rye Julep


3 ounces Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whisky ½ ounce of Element Lemon Mint Shrub (more or less to taste) 6-10 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

Add mint to a rock glass with crushed ice, and muddle the mint to the ice. Add the rye and shrub and stir to combine, then garnish with more mint.

Thanks to Edible DC intern Avery Morrison for compiling the recipes and photos.

A Julep So Cool It’s Blue

By Tim Ebner As the heat and humidity hit this summer, skip the Manhattan and order up an ice-cold mint julep. Sure, this cocktail has several centuries of history in Kentucky, and it’s the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, but it might also be the perfect remedy for a muggy D.C. afternoon.


Nick Caruana runs a drinks site called The Straight Up, a Saveur 2014 finalist for best cocktail blog. Caruana says Kentucky Senator Henry Clay is credited with bringing the julep to our nation’s capital where he introduced the drink back in the early 1800s at the hotel where the Willard Intercontinental now stands. The Willard’s Round Robin bar still makes the julep according to Clay’s recipe, but for a summer refresh on this iced bourbon beverage, Caruana adds fresh blueberries.

He muddles mint and blueberries with Maraschino to create the base of his “Mint Blulep.” Then, he mixes bourbon (Woodford Reserve is his Kentucky standard), St-Germain, Creme Yvette and peach bitters over crushed ice. The result is a refreshing combination of fruit and herbal flavors.

“Taking a sip of it and then feeling the frosty cup will really help cool you down quickly,” Caruana says.

Don’t overlook the glassware. Juleps are a special drink for a special kind of glass. Caruana uses pewter julep cups, but highball or rocks glasses can work in a pinch. And, there’s no need to mound the ice over the rim, he says. It’s mainly for effect and might melt quickly on a summer day. Instead, use a few leftover blueberries and a sprig of mint to top off the drink.

The sweetness really makes or breaks the julep, Caruana says. Most people overcomplicate their syrups, but a good julep keeps the simple syrup simple, he says.

If anything, though, don’t let Senator Clay stop you from experimenting with the classic recipe.“ At its heart the drink is a Kentucky standard,” he says, “But D.C. has definitely helped to tweak and perfect it.”

Mint Blulep Recipe

  • 12 blueberries
  • 10 mint Leaves
  • ¾ ounce Maraschino liqueur
  • 2½ ounces bourbon
  • ¼ ounce St–Germain liqueur
  • 1 bar spoon Creme Yvette
  • 2 dashes Peach Bitters
  • 12 blueberries
  • 10 mint Leaves
  • 2 mint sprigs
  • Blueberries for garnish

Add the blueberries and mint leave to the bottom of a julep cup (a highball glass or rocks glass would also work). Top with the Maraschino, then generously muddle the mixture. Add the bourbon, St-Germain, Creme Yvette and peach bitters.


Fill the cup with crushed ice, so that the ice fills the cup, but doesn’t mound up above the cup. Garnish with the mint sprigs, then add a few blueberries to the top of the drink to finish it off.

Notes about the ingredients: Crème Yvette is a liqueur made from parma violet petals with blackberries, red raspberries, wild strawberries and cassis, honey, orange peel and vanilla. St-Germain is a French liqueur made from elderflowers. These and the other special ingredients can be found at most spirits shops.