Fiorella Pizzeria is National Harbor’s unofficial pizza joint, known for its supreme pie with tasty homemade fennel sausage, meatballs, roasted peppers and olives. But I really needed a drink.
A manager at the Club Wyndham National Harbor recommended the cocktails at Fiorella and introduced me to its general manager. He was right––I discovered it had one of the best beverage menus in town.
National Harbor, a city located on the Maryland side of the D.C suburbs, has just about completely bounced back from the pandemic. Throughout my road trip up the East Coast this summer, I saw varying degrees of recovery. Of those, D.C. was the biggest surprise. Even before COVID, it wasn’t as big as other destinations like Orlando or New York City. Right now, it’s almost as if they’ve grown in popularity––overtaking both rival cities.
Bar manager Taria Griffin, who was my mixologist for the day, scheduled an impromptu meeting before I left town. I could tell it had been a busy day for her. Nevertheless, she mixed her beverages like an artist paints a landscape. Here are my favorites:
Bikini Bottom Pineapple Mojito
- 2 oz Silver Rum
- 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
- 1 oz Pineapple Puree
- Blue Curacao
In a glass filled with ice, pour in silver rum, pineapple juice and puree. Top with Sprite and float some Blue Curacao. Mix in muddled mint leaves, then garnish with more mint and pineapple leaves.
I like my mojitos extra minty fresh, and tropical flavors pair incredibly well. Taria didn’t go easy on either with the Bikini Bottom Pineapple Mojito––the pineapple sweetness and cool mint gave a strong, robust flavor. Aesthetically, the beverage looks like a mixture of tropicality and winter frigidity. The pineapple leaves looked like they belonged with the mint leaf, and the body had a pleasant pastel green color.
Strawberry Basil Margarita
- 2 oz Silver Tequila
- 1/2 oz Lime Juice
- 3/4 oz Triple Sec
- 1/2 oz Agave
- 1/2 oz Strawberry Puree
- Basil Crystals
Coat the outer surface of a wine glass with basil crystals (optional). In a shaker filled halfway with ice, add silver tequila, lime juice, triple sec, agave and strawberry puree. Lightly shake, pour into the wine glass, then garnish with micro greens and fresh basil.
You know about those weird flavor combinations that just work? Nowadays, most would say watermelon and mustard; for me, basil paired with any type of fruit is the definition of this phenomenon. Strawberry and basil is one of the best combos for a cocktail, in my opinion. The Strawberry Basil Margarita is no exception, and the plethora of showy toppings pairs perfectly with its exotic taste.
- 2oz Huckleberry Vodka
- Blue Curacao
In a glass filled with ice, add huckleberry vodka and lemonade. Stir, then float Blue Curacao. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Huckleberries are the berry of choice for a stock over the dry season. In Spokane, Wash., where my family is located, the city is recognized for having some of the best huckleberries in the northwest. I could go on forever about huckleberries, as could my family, but, in essence, I consider myself a huckleberry expert.
When I went over to give the Huckleberry Lemonade a try, I was surprised. The Curacao shines a bit more than I’d like, but the huckleberry flavor is there, and it’s delicious. It has that signature rich sweetness and high acidity: an ideal combination to balance everything out.
Summer is passing, and many are going out for their last-minute travel plans. You might even be thinking about staying near the U.S. capital for your next vacation. Well, if it’s for the drinks, keep Fiorella in mind. Watch out for the crowds––and D.C.’s high prices––and you’re good to go.