Featuring house-made jalapeno/basil-infused tequila, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, fresh citrus juice and sugar, The Duling, with its sweet bite, is a serious contender for best drink in DC.Behind every good bar is a good bartender. Behind every phenomenal bar is a creative chemist. Such is the case at Last Exit, the ridiculously dope speakeasy-style cocktail bar adjacent to Tonic in Mt. Pleasant. And when I say "adjacent," I mean you literally have to walk through Tonic and go through an unmarked door by the stairwell to enter Last Exit. And now that you know where it is, let's get back to that creative chemist I mentioned, or chemists, rather, since everyone who's ever behind the bar here can be described as such. That’s because while these fine folks can shake and stir the s@#t outta some classic cocktails, they’re better known for their successful experiments with barrel-aged drinks and liquor infusions. The former is exactly as weird as it sounds—it's a cocktail that's made then aged for six to eight weeks. My friend who ordered one (the flavors rotate, but that night it was a Cajun Manhattan) told me it was one of the smoothest drinks he's ever put to his lips (and he's put a lot of drinks to his lips). Feeling a little less daring but just as thirsty, I went with one of the infusion-based drinks called The Duling (named after a friend of the bar manager Matt Carson). Featuring house-made jalapeno/basil-infused tequila, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, fresh citrus juice and sugar, this cocktail with a sweet bite is a serious contender for best drink in DC. And no worries, if you start feeling a little too boozy (and if you're doing it right, you will), Last Exit has a few tasty small plates to keep you satiated.
The Duling, $11
Barrel-Aged Cocktails, $13
Rumdog Millionaire, $8
The Dodsfall Manhattan, $10
Truffle Fries, $9
Sunday - Thursday, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Friday - Saturday, 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.