At Donovan House, Pimm’s on draft and summer’s best brain freeze

June 5, 2013

Donovan House near Thomas Circle changes its rooftop deck every summer. This year's modifications include poolside cabanas (free, on a first-come, first-seated basis), more greenery and a menu of cocktails crafted by Zentan bartender Josh Berner, most recently of Ripple. I wrote about his tea-infused cocktails in my summer drinking guide, but on a return visit, I was intrigued by two different drinks, both of which were half-price during happy hour.


A Pimm's Cup (served on draft) is perfect for a sunny day at the Donovan House's rooftop bar. (Photo by Fritz Hahn/The Post)

The first was a Pimm's Cup on draft: gin, Pimm's and a spicy, full-bodied house-made ginger ale, served from a tap. Very refreshing on a 80-something degree day, and $6 during happy hour.

I was more impressed with Dancing in Botafogo, a frozen take on a caipirinha. Berner drew on his visits to Brazil for the name and the recipe. The combination of lime juice and the Leblon cachaca, which is aged in cognac casks for a sweet, light fruit flavor, is fantastic, with a little basil added for body. It's one of the best brain freezes you'll have all summer, and $6.50 at happy hour.

Frozen cocktails, punches, sangrias and draft Pimm's are $6 to $7 between 5 and 7 p.m. every weekday. Draft beers -- currently a choice of Sapporo or Estrella Damm -- are $5.


Dancing in Botafogo -- a frozen caipirinha -- is one of two frozen cocktails on the Donovan House menu. The other, called the Icy Mirage, changes regularly based on a bartender's whim. (Photo by Fritz Hahn/The Post)
Fritz Hahn has written about 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. A product of Prince George's County public schools, Fritz majored in journalism at the University of Maryland and lives in the District.
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Cara Kelly | June 5, 2013