High tea

Tea Service No. 1, Empress Tavern

Illustration by hayley doshay

I generally don't find myself drawn to gimmicks when it comes to a drink. When executed well, however, the performance really can make all the difference. Sometimes it's a burst of flame on citrus oil, other times it's careful layering. This time, it's an adorable teapot. Tea Service cocktails at Empress are conversational, boozy and absolutely precious. It's essentially a cocktail brewed for four, poured from a teapot into glass punch glasses. The No. 1 consisted of forbidden black rice horchata, star anise and vanilla blended with Smith & Cross rum ($21): spicy, sweet and a fantastic match for much of the meaty menu. 1013 K Street, http://empresstavern.com.