Best Designer Cocktail

Best: Pisco Sour, PX
728 King St., Alexandria, (703) 299-8384
2nd Best: Hops and Barley, the Gibson
2009 14th St. NW, (202) 232-2154
Finding the runner-up to PX’s Pisco Sour will send you to the Gibson, which is either heaven or hell: a magical confluence of company, cocktail, and the corner seat at the bar, or a long wait, attitude, and the boot (“Your time is up, but you’re welcome to finish your drink on the back patio in the rain…”). No matter the night, the Hops and Barley will enrich it. An interesting balance that’s lightly medicinal with a bite of hops, the Hops and Barley features house-made hops syrup and Bols Genever gin; both the hops and the gin are hard to come by. Like anything coveted, its appearance is fleeting. Should you see, order. After all, in this economy, cocktails are affordable luxuries.