DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

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One of our goals this winter is to have friends over to our house more frequently – it isn’t always easy to go out when you have small kids at home, especially when you just want to stay warm and cozy inside. Last year we were still unpacking and getting settled into the new house, and by the time spring rolled around we felt like we’d spent the entire winter hibernating. Plus, hosting friends is a great excuse to try out some of our new cocktail recipes!

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Whether we’re planning a larger event or a smaller gathering, we always want to have something tasty for our guests, but it isn’t always feasible to get around town using public transportation. I’m so glad that car sharing services have become more popular in DC over the last few years. I see car2go all over my Capitol Hill neighborhood, so I was really excited to team up with car2go to try one of their cars for myself. We had a few friends coming over to try some of our upcoming winter cocktails (the best kind of research!), so I jumped into a nearby car2go to gather provisions. Because this was a more intimate gathering of friends and the first time we’d had people over since Alice’s arrival in September, we decided to keep things really simple: two really good cocktails accompanied by a cheese plate and some seriously delicious doughnuts – all around our coffee table (an antique Egyptian brass tray that we found at a flea market!). I try to get as much preparation as possible done during nap time, and car2gocar2go made it so easy to pick up some special treats from some of my favorite DC spots in just a couple of hours!

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In case you aren’t familiar with car2go, the entire fleet is made up of smart cars – so they can fit into really small parking spots – that you can access for short trips around town, even one way or by-the-minute trips! I was a bit worried about being able to find a car nearby when I needed it, especially on a weekend, but I just pulled the car2go app up on my phone when I was ready to walk out the door and there was a car just a couple of blocks away. I was in a car with a quick swipe of my member card and on my way in about 10 minutes total!

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My first stop was my favorite new addition to Capitol Hill: District Doughnut! I was so happy when they opened up shop on Barracks Row a few months ago – they seriously make the best doughnuts I’ve ever tasted! My personal favorites so far are Brown Butter and Maple Butter Pecan, but they’re always coming out with new seasonal flavors. Lines have been known to form down the block and parking can be really difficult on weekends, but I managed to find a tiny parking spot that was just the right size for car2go.

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Next I headed up to Union Market, an artisanal food market in the NOMA area of DC. We love coming up to Union Market for casual meals or to shop at the many specialty stands – you can find everything from produce stands to a fishmonger to ice cream! I made a beeline to Righteous Cheese to pick up the ingredients for our cheese plate, then stopped by the produce stand to grab some fresh seasonal citrus in lieu of flowers. I couldn’t resist popping into Salt & Sundry to pick up a new candle from local candlemaker Sydney Hale Co. and the most gorgeous tiny dipping bowls from Redraven Ceramics.

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If you’re planning to host a cocktail party of any kind, you’ll definitely want to visit a well curated liquor store. My final stop was at our favorite liquor store in all of DC: Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Schneider’s seriously has everything – from small batch distilleries to the more familiar brand names – and the staff is always available to help you find something, answer questions, or make recommendations if you need help navigating the sheer number of options. It’s overwhelming in the best possible way.

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My favorite part of running around DC with car2gocar2go? Once you’re done with the car you just park it anywhere and leave! You don’t have to return the car to a specific spot or worry about completing a return trip within a specified period of time. You just drive the car for the amount of time that you need it (even one-way trips) and then you’re done. I found a parking spot right around the corner from my house, so I didn’t have to worry about schlepping a bunch of things for a long walk home. My husband was taking Sophie and Alice for a walk when we pulled up – so Sophie even got a peek inside the car2go! She promptly proclaimed it her tiny car.

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I made it home with plenty of time to set everything out before our guests arrived. Andy made up a large batch of one of our favorite drinks – The Martinez – and a bowl of Hot Rum Punch – you’ll have to check back on Friday for the Hot Rum Punch recipe!

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Photos by Sweet Root Village for Oh So Beautiful Paper