Where We’ve Been Drinking: CopyCat Co.
At our recent lunch with them, one of the Wigle people mentioned that her favorite place for cocktails in DC was Copycat; just a few days later, some friends of ours suggested a double date at a bar conveniently located between their place and ours. You guessed it: Copycat. Clearly, the universe was telling us it’s time to give Copycat a try. Thank you, Universe.
From the street, Copycat looks like an unassuming dumpling shop. But walk in, go upstairs, and you find yourself in a small, comfortable, and cool cocktail lounge, with hands-down the most visually interesting menus we’ve ever seen and drinks to match the menus–plus the dumplings, which they deliver upstairs, turn out to be both inexpensive and delicious.
(please note, that is not a robber dressed in black waiting in the window)
What We Ordered & What We Thought
Hawaiian Jerez: amaro, pineapple, oloroso
Brown Derby: honey, grapefruit, bourbon
Bee’s Knees: gin, lemon, honey
50/50 Deluxe: gin, lillet, orange bitters, lemon peel
The front of the menu you find at your table offers a large selection of cocktail standards, from which our party selected the Bee’s Knees. The back of the menu is an artful and creative rotating selection. Our particular rotating menu strongly featured grapefruit and offered a couple of cocktails that you could choose in either straight up or highball form. From that menu, we ordered the Brown Derby and the Hawaiian Jerez. All three of these drinks were great. The Hawaiian Jerez was a particularly pleasant surprise. The juice, the amaro, the sherry made a novel combination that worked well together, was nicely balanced, and went down easily.
The winner of the round, however, was the 50/50 Deluxe. One sharp-eyed member of our party noticed that the blackboard over the bar offered yet another new menu, and ordered the 50/50 Deluxe from it. It was a delicious sweet martini with the finest touches of lemon and orange. So simple and so satisfying.
Ford: Benedictine rinse, Old Tom Gin, white vermouth
Guion: gin, sweet vermouth, Benedictine
Holidays in the USA: whiskey, oloroso, amaretto
The Gimlet: gin, sweetened lime juice
The blackboard menu received the majority of the attention in round 2. It was a 50/50 Martini menu, in which a variety of base spirits was offered in almost mix-and-match combinations with an equal variety of fortified wines and liqueurs in 50:50 ratios. They cheated a little by adding rinses, floats, or bitters to many of them, but we didn’t mind. The bitter and complex Holidays in the USA wasn’t our favorite of the batch, but it was by no means a bad drink. It’s just that the competition from the other eminently drinkable but intriguing varieties was too stiff.
The intriguing idea of the 50/50 and the utterly pleasing results have put us on a 50/50 kick since then. Expect to hear more about our 50/50 experiments soon.
Should you go?
Yes, absolutely. The classics we ordered were solid, the new creations were fantastic, and the overwhelming choice of excellent cocktails, the pleasant atmosphere of the place, and the whimsy of combining cocktails and dumplings made this the most fun we’ve had at a cocktail lounge in quite some time.