Simple and congenial, Roofers Union surprises you with some of the better cocktails in DC.
Overall Rating: 4
So in October I attended the awesome “Craft Spirit of Poe” cocktail event featuring twelve of the best booze slingers in DC. One of my favorite drinks that evening was the brilliant gin-based “T’Erin Up My Heart” produced by Erin Goodman of Roofers Union. Oh god, my mouth waters just writing about it. Anyway, I made a mental note that night to visit Roofers soon; another great decision on my part! Roofers offers a welcoming, modern, open bar area staffed by superb and knowledgeable bartenders. All six of the drinks I sampled were inventive and strong with three real standouts.
We started off with one of my standouts, the “White Walker” with Plymouth gin, cointreau, lillet blanc, grapefruit, and fresno chili (!) pernod rinse. The grapefruit and lime taste are very forward and good, but the drink is “made” with that hot-cha-cha chili rinse. Oh this was good, just a great peppery hue throughout that spices it up in all the right ways. It’s pitch perfect and pops perfectly, enhancing all the other ingredients. The gin taste is good too, sedate, and gels well with the spice. Great. Next up was another standout, the “I Yam What I Yam” with Smith and Cross jamaican rum, house made falernum, lime, and yam syrup. True to the adventurous spirit of Roofers, this unique mix of tastes works extremely well, with a rich rum taste synching well with a really different….Yam-ish sensation. A consistent, fun, and intense taste throughout.
Moving on to the “Fall Back” with Jim Beam rye, apple cider, lemon, brown sugar syrup, and Jerry Thomas bitter. This was ok, the taste was sweet and the rye and cider is very subtle. It was a fine sipper, didn’t blow me away. Then we had a “Roger the Shrubber” with Green Hat Gin, celery-apple shrub, amara montenegro, and lemon bitters. This was a solid and very distinct taste; the shrub is unlike anything I’ve had before, this chilly and earthy tint off of the apple. A very refreshing and poppy drink, I liked it.
In the third period I started with my favorite drink of the night, the “Hashtag All of the Grapes” with cognac, malbec, housemade concord grape and black peppercorn soda, spiced syrup, and white grape garnish. Really a remarkable drink, offering a wonderfully light grape juice taste that was just sublime. The grape and peppercorn hit throughout your sip, leading to a perfectly balanced cognac and malbec taste. Loved the rush, energy, and peculiarity of this drink. The finale was the “Screw You, Rusty” with bols genever, lairds applejack, bonal, drambuie, housemade apple bitters, and laphroaig rinse. A very, very powerful drink with an extremely complex flavor. Not my favorite but a risk-taker, the taste is multi-layered, with the subtle taste of applejack in the lead and the scotch hitting hard at the end. This would be a good drink to have if you only had time for one – fun experience that will definitely get your buzz going. Nice way to end a great evening!