Amidst Friendly Surroundings – Room 11

Room 11 is a charming neighborhood cocktail bar with a cozy warm décor and friendly bar staff.

Ambiance: ****

Decor: ****

Service: ****

Cocktails: ****

Overall Rating: 4

After an appointment in Columbia Heights fell through, I was stuck meandering around on a rainy evening.  Firing up the smart phone, I searched for nearby cocktail bars and found Room 11, a very well-reviewed bar (in the top 15 cocktail bars according to EaterDC) just a few short blocks away.  Upon entering, I was surprised how intimate and downright cozy the bar was — I guess when you hear such impressive reviews, you expect some grand and wide expanse.  The mixes at this homey establishment are adventurous, using several ingredients I had to look up to identify, much less pronounce!  The drinks I had were a combination of their regular and shifting cocktails lists – every one was solid and included one superb standout.  The service is also excellent and friendly.

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The party started with the not-so-elegantly named “Glug” which is a Swedish-style mulled wine with ginger, orange, and spices.  This is a great hot drink, very relaxing with just the right amount of warmth and highlights of citrus and ginger.  You could have fooled me and told me it was a strong tea, as the wine is very subdued.  Next up was the  “High Thread Count” with cognac, rhum agricole blanc, gran classico, cane syrup, lime, and naomi campbell bitters (who knew she sponsored bitters?).  This was a really cool drink that had almost an apple taste to me – the cognac is subtle but present, and overall the taste is refreshing, refined, and powerful.

The next drink was my favorite and a really fantastic reciple – the “Sigridsdatter” is made of gin, malted aquavit, pear, lemon, and black walnut bitters.  I really loved this one, calling it in my notes “f***ing superb,” a mix that perfectly stages the gin, pear, and lemon sensations.  Everything clicks in this cocktail with a faint sweetness at the conclusion.  The pear taste also glides through and the earthy walnut sensation punches at the end.  I then stepped up to the “Dragon Slayer” with bonal, smith and cross rum, maurin quina, green chartreuse, and barrel-aged orange bitters.  This wasn’t a favorite, the bonal is a bit heavy but the taste overall is interesting, sweet, and different.  Definitely unique and I see what they’re going for, just wasn’t for me.

I jumped into the black void with the “Burn Sugar Old Fashioned” with bourbon, burnt sugar syrup, and old fashioned bitters.  This was strong and hammers the taste home, I liked it better than most standard Old Fashioned’s.  The syrup adds a faint pop to it that I liked, a subtle and interesting sweetness.  It’s also visually stunning, I could look at that all day.  On to “Borrow Your Windmill” with the botanist gin, aperol, sage, madeira, suze, and sea salt.  This is good, the gin and the aperol has a herbal sweetness and doesn’t overwhelm.  The mix overall is well-balanced, mild, but I didn’t catch on to any sea-salt, which was a bit sad.

Two more nice drinks for our finale.  The “Communion” with cognac, punt e mes, bittermens amer nouvelle, galliano, and fennel bitters gives off a very nice pick-me up taste — I also loved the galliano at the end.  This was excellent and one of my favorites, the tastes gel harmoniously and provide a lively and strong taste.  We end with “When Rails Fall” with rum, Punt e Mes, fig, lime, and burlesque bitters – this is silky sweet, nice and strong throughout.  A nice rum drink that makes great use of the fig and lime, this is very balanced and comes off light and tasty.

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