The Washington Post

The darkest cocktails in town

The Captor of Gin was a standout at a previous Spirits in Black happy hour. Named after a Slayer song, the citrusy, herbal drink — a mix of genever, bourbon, orange aperitif and vermouth — was garnished with a piece of lemon peel cut into a cross. (Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

Some twists on classic cocktails take their names from bands (Napalm Death in the Afternoon, with a smoky house-made scorched absinthe) while other originals were inspired by songs. The Thing That Should Not Be, which takes its name from the Metallica tune, looked like a tropical concoction when you read the list of ingredients on the menu — aged rum, plum, lemon juice and sweet Velvet Falernum — but Owens added squid ink for a briny, savory taste and an unusual jet-black color.

The music and the theme are fun — as is seeing how many names of cocktails you “get” — but the excellence of the cocktails is what takes the night over the top.

The Darkest Sour is one of the most popular drinks at Spirits in Black. That’s the logo of local thrash band Darkest Hour on top: Bartender Patrick Owens shakes egg whites with bourbon, Cynar, Fernet Branca, port and blood orange juice to make a frothy base, and then sprays bitters through a homemade stencil to add the art. Unfortunately, someone stole the stencil at the last happy hour, so it won’t be made tonight. (Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

The cocktail menu from the first Spirits in Black, showing drinks named after metal bands and songs (and using proper fonts, where appropriate). Note the fiyer for the Maryland Death Fest — they know where their audience will be. (Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)
Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Making family dinnertime happen
How to make Sean Brock's 'Heritage' cornbread
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
In search of the Delmarva fox squirrel
The most interesting woman you've never heard of
Play Videos
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
The Post taste tests Pizza Hut's new hot dog pizza
5 tips for using your thermostat
Play Videos
Philadelphia's real signature sandwich
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul