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Posted at 1:42 PM ET, 08/20/2010

Something for the Weekend: Make your own cocktails at Fruit Bat

By Fritz Hahn

Last night, some friends and I decided to go to a Billie Dee Williams-themed party at Little Miss Whiskey's. While we were on H Street, we figured we'd we get a drink first, so we made our way down toward the Pug -- and stumbled into the Fruit Bat.

The Fruit Bat is a new Columbian-themed cocktail spot in the old H Street Martini Lounge space, run by the team behind Capitol Hill's Wisdom. I'd heard that last night was going to be an invitation-only affair ahead of tonight's official opening, but that wasn't the case at all -- the doors were open for anyone to wander in and get a drink. The Fruit Bat is a cozy little one-room bar done in exposed brick and bright tropical colors. Baskets of fresh fruit hang over the bar. If it wasn't for the candlelight flickering on the brick, it could be some cozy island hideaway.

While Fruit Bat is still very much in the soft-opening stage, its signature invent-your-own-drink program is very much underway. Here's how it works: You pick a base spirit, something to mix it with, and some sort of juice. Consult with the bartender, pick random stuff, whatever. Interesting idea, right? It's affordable, too, starting at $8.

But here's what I'm most interested in: You can build your own cocktails using house-infused liquors, which are listed on a large chalkboard next to the bar. Last night's options included pineapple-and-cardamom rum, watermelon-and-thyme tequila, cucumber-and-sake cherry vodka, and apple-and-cinnamon vanilla vodka.

Pick one of those, choose between soda or tonic water (or, for a few bucks extra, coconut water or cucumber water), and either oranges or grapefruit. I went for the rum, grapefruit juice and soda, served in a tall rocks glass. Very summery, and interesting play between grapefruit and pineapple flavors. A friend chose the tequila, cucumber water and soda. When she offered me a taste, I almost didn't give her the glass back. Lovely warm-weather drink. I'll definitely be back to play around with the menu some more.

If you don't want to do the work, a menu of mojitos, caipirinhas and other drinks is available. I was a fan of the Scarface: rye whiskey, crème de cassis, splash of orange juice and a bit of soda water. Way less sweet than I thought it would be.

Keeping with the theme of the summer, there's an alcoholic smoothie, too, and a "root beer float" made with root beer vodka.

No food was being served last night, but there will be small plates of papusas, mini pork tacos and other treats. I'm looking forward to trying the coconut rice, plantains and black beans.

-- Fritz Hahn

By Fritz Hahn  | August 20, 2010; 1:42 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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Columbian-themed? Or Colombian-themed? Very different... ;-)

Posted by: omarsidd | August 23, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

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