Fall Cocktail Recipe: Autumn Punch

There are some exciting changes taking place at The Rye Bar this season – beginning with a new addition to the team.  It is my pleasure to introduce Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown Mixologist, Elli Benchimol.  Elli, is a seasoned bartending veteran with over 20 years of experience.  So what does she have in store?  “I’m really excited for the fall season and the entertaining that goes with it.  I love seasonal cocktails with lots of fall spice and warmth, like our new signature Hot Toddy.  But that is just the tip of the iceberg!  We will be offering more spirits and cocktails in The Rye Bar that are sure to surprise and delight.  In fact, I hope to bring a bit of D.C. history to each cocktail as well as the flair of Georgetown.”

Elli benchimol

Fortunately, being the Capella Washington, D.C. Insider, I was able to get a further sneak peek with a look at one of the brand new fall cocktail recipes, the  Autumn Punch Cocktail.  Find the recipe below.

Autumn Punch

 Autumn Punch Cocktail


  • Rye – 1 oz.
  • Apple Jack – ¾ oz.
  • Hibiscus Cider – 2 oz.
  • Habanero Spice – 1 dash.
  • Lemon – ½ oz.
  • Pickled Apple (1 cup of each of the following: apple cider vinegar, sugar, sliced apples – refrigerated)


Combine first 5 ingredients in a shaker over ice.  Shake vigorously for approximately 15 seconds.  Strain the mixture into a punch glass.  Garnish your drink with picked apples.  Enjoy!


Thanksgiving In Washington D.C.

The weather has started to shift and autumn is clearly upon us.  But don’t let that get you down! After all, my favorite fall holiday is just around the corner!  Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate every blessing, friend and family member.  Not to mention, the delicious turkey holiday spread.  It is my favorite way to kick off the season and fortunately Washington D.C. knows just how to celebrate.


What is Thanksgiving without a themed parade?  Luckily, you have a few parades to choose from within the D.C. Metropolitan area.  The Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade and the Reston Town Center Holiday Parade are two great ways of spending the day having fun with friends and family.  Festivities are kicked off with an annual race for kids at Fountain Square in the Reston community.  After the kiddo’s cool down from their athletic endeavors,  the parade gets going.  It includes the celebrated Washington Redskins Marching band, 50-foot balloons, and amazing colorful floats.



If you are looking to enjoy a delicious feast after a long day out and about at the parades, retreat back to Georgetown and spend Thanksgiving in The Grill Room. Enjoy as Executive Chef Frank Ruta’s prepares a family style and plated dinner.  As a special token, each family will receive a signature hot cocoa mix to enjoy during the holiday season, made especially by our Pastry Chef, Aggie Chin.  Continue to get in the holiday mood with seasonal fall cocktails like a Rye Toddy and Hot Apple Cider. I’m ready to curl up by the fireplace just thinking about it!

This year, I am thankful for my supportive team at Capella D.C.  To which I share a million laughs with, share my difficulties with, but above all, gain my support and strength from.  I learn something great and new every single day from this dynamic group.

I would love to see photos of what you are all thankful for as well.  Just tag @CapellaDC on Instagram and Twitter so that I can share it with our community.

Sending warm wishes to everyone this holiday season from the Nation’s Capital!

Behind the Scenes at the Rye Bar Cocktail Class

This summer the Rye Bar at Capella D.C. introduced its’ signature Cocktail Series, led by head bartender Angel Cervantes.  Held monthly on Saturday’s, this social event is full of cocktail creations, experiments and tastings all while learning the tricks of the Rye Bar trade from Angel himself.  I finally had the chance to attend myself and can’t wait to share a few of my favorite moments:

Rye Bar Limeade

The class consisted of about 15 guests including Angel, spaciously seated in Capella’s luxurious Executive Boardroom.  The first cocktail Angel created to kick off the class was his signature shared “Rye Limeade,” using a fifth of Filibuster Rye and bittersweet red liqueur, Campari.  This concoction was a fan favorite and set the tone perfectly for the rest of the class (see full recipe below).

To be the best at home bartender you need a few simple tools to mix, strain, squeeze, and infuse your cocktail.  Angel supplied all these tools for us to use, which definitely made a difference in the overall flavor and consistency of the cocktail!

Rye Bar Cocktail Series

Without giving too much away, Angel shared with us the four elements of a handcrafted cocktail.  Each one adds depth and flavor that you can’t find on your average bar menu.  There are plenty of amazing places in D.C. to find a fantastic cocktail, but Angel really sets the Rye Bar apart using Rye Whiskey as the focal point, and three other signature elements to naturally balance flavors.  Simultaneously Angel is generating new awareness and likability with Rye cocktails with many cocktailians traveling to the Nation’s Capital.

Rye Bar Limeade

Filibuster Rye 1 ½ oz

Lime Juice ½ oz

Campari ½ oz

Lavender Infused Simply Syrup 1 oz

To reserve your seats at the next Rye Bar Cocktail Class, be sure to contact your Capella Events team at 202-617-2429 or e-mail elisabeth.thomas@capellahotels.com.  Get ready to experience how to create the wow factor in your cocktails and taste flavors that are exciting and unique to your palate.  Following the cocktail class is an excellent 3-course dinner with cocktail pairings in The Grill Room as well a signature Rye Bar takeaway gift!

Summer’s Freshest Food Finds at The Grill Room

When I dine at Capella Washington, D.C.’s The Grill Room, one thing is for certain.  The food put in front of me is always composed of the freshest ingredients available. This summer I’ve had the pleasure to be introduced to a variety of locally sourced dishes that have kept me feeling nutritious and fit!  In the spirit of bikini season and health awareness, I want to take a moment to share three fresh food finds being offered at The Grill Room this summer…

Starter: Roasted peach & burrata with hydroponic lettuce, sprouts and drizzled with lavender honey vinaigrette

This dish is full of sweet and savory flavors, and makes for the perfect summertime appetizer.  The Grill Room peaches are locally sourced from Crown Orchard in Charlottesville, Virginia as well as Fifer Orchards in Delaware.  The Maryland Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream from Kreider Farms in Lancaster, PA.

Roasted Peach & Burrata

Lunch Entrée: Jumbo lump crab cake sandwich with tomato, avocado and tarter sauce in between a brioche bun with cracked rye.

This sandwich is full of Chesapeake Bay jumbo lump blue crabmeat from The Crab Place in Crisfield, Maryland. Known for its sweet taste and hearty texture, the meat from the blue crab is a true taste sensation. This premium grade crabmeat consists of whole lumps of white meat from the body of the crab with absolutely no shell or cartilage.  This has to be one of my favorite summer dishes using one of Maryland’s finest treasures.  Enjoy this with a cold glass of La Crema Chardonnay.

The Grill Room Crabcake Sandwich

Dinner Entrée: Chesapeake Bay Rockfish with parsley & celery broth, artichoke & tomato ragout topped with bacon.

Rockfish is the official fish of the state of Maryland, one of Washington, D.C.’s close neighbors.  It is considered a delicacy to many natives due to its firm texture and mild, sweet flavor.  Anything with artichokes in my opinion is absolutely delicious, especially when topped with the tomato ragout, herb and vegetable broth, and a hint of bacon.

The Grill Room Chesapeake Rockfish

I hope you enjoy these wonderful dishes for a quick weekday lunch or weekend date night this summer.  Don’t forget to reserve your seat on the outdoor patio adjacent to the C&O Canal!  For the complete menu, be sure to visit www.thegrillroomdc.com.  For reservations, call 202-617-2424.


The Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2014

47 years ago, the first Smithsonian Folklife Festival was initiated in Washington, D.C.  Today, the Festival has become a national and international living cultural heritage expedition, home to over 250 artists and over 1 million visitors from all around the world.  I am so ready for this year’s lineup, kicking off June 25 to 29 and July 2 to 6 on the National Mall.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The theme of the program this year will be China: Tradition and the Art of Living and Kenya: Mambo Poa!  The China program emphasizes the themes of BALANCE and REUNION, processes of more profound importance than ever in China.  The program will also feature seasonal festival traditions, emphasize the exuberance of public life, share the meaning and preparation of Chinese foodways, engage visitors in craft and performance workshops, and highlight the country’s cultural diversity.

The Kenya: Mambo Poa program will present the ways in which the people of Kenya are balancing protection of their valued cultural and natural heritage with the challenges and opportunities for change in the twenty-first century.  Festival visitors will be able to interact with exemplary craftspeople who work with everything from clay to soapstone to recycled materials, learn about important fossil discoveries and so much more!

Smithsonian Folklife Festival China

What I love most about the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is the opportunity to meet carriers of cultural traditions in a very personal way.  You will have the chance to ask questions and engage with participants to hear their unique insider stories and experiences.  It amazes me to think how Washington, D.C. has become the quintessential cultural center, home to so many diverse groups.  This Festival is a time to learn and appreciate our fellow Americans and their family sagas from generation to generation.

To get myself ready, I’ve been listening to the Smithsonian Music of China and Music of Kenya playlists.

There is no admission charge to the Festival.  I highly suggest dressing for hot and humid weather- summer will be in full effect!  Parking around the Mall is extremely limited, so you are advised to use Metrorail.  Your Capella Washington, D.C. Personal Assistant is of course on hand to arrange transportation services to and from the Festival as well.  I look forward to seeing you there!

A 4th Of July History Lesson From Capella DC

Just imagine what Washingtonians of years past would have thought of our upcoming July 4th rooftop experience at Capella Washington, D.C.!  Georgetown is after all, one of the most historic of American towns and it is especially rich in 4th of July history.  Did you know for instance that on July 4, 1828, President John Quincy Adams officiated the groundbreaking ceremonies at the C&O Canal with the musical accompaniment of the US Marine band?  And back in 1850, Washingtonian William Gordon wrote this about his fourth of July experience at Parrott’s Woods in Georgetown, in his book, “Recollections of a Boyhood in Georgetown.”

Fourth of July Capella DC

“On arriving at the woods the day was celebrated. Patriotic songs were sung, the Star Spangled Banner never being omitted, and addresses made by young college graduates. Later in the day speeches were made by the elders. Townsmen of all classes participated, and barrels of lemonade and abundance of eatables of every kind were provided; everything was free and all were welcomed. After a somewhat strenuous day parents and children returned home tired out but patriotically happy.”

There is no better place to celebrate America’s independence than our nation’s capital.  The Fourth of July Parade is one of my favorites!

More interesting July 4th facts:

1801 – The first public Fourth of July reception at the White House occurs.

1848 – In Washington, D.C., the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument takes place with the President James Madison, First Lady Dolly Madison and other VIPs in attendance.

1947 – In Washington, D.C., the July Fourth ceremony at the monument grounds is televised for the first time.

1964 – A recorded reading of the Declaration of Independence by slain President John F. Kennedy is broadcast over radio airwaves. In Prescott, AZ., Senator Barry Goldwater rides a horse in the annual Frontier Days Rodeo parade.

1966 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into law.

Source: James R. Heintze. Librarian, American University, Washington, D.C. 

4th of July Capella DC

All I can say is that we’re aligning the stars and stripes once again for a most patriotic 4th of July weekend.  Our exclusive rooftop bar & lounge is the perfect location to view fireworks and enjoy a variety of handcrafted cocktails.

Our overnight package includes:

  • Overnight stay in one of our luxurious accommodations of your choice with views of the C&O Canal and historic Georgetown
  • VIP access to our private rooftop bar, lounge and infinity pool
  • Viewing of the National Firework Celebration
  • Live musical entertainment
  • Capella’s Culinary Team will have delicious barbecue action stations from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, for $49 per person and $29 for children. (All food and beverage orders are charged separately from the Fourth of July package)
  • Breakfast the next morning in The Grill Room.

To reserve this incredible experience at Capella Washington, D.C., please contact your Personal Assistant at 202-617-2400 or e-mail res.dc@capellahotels.com.

To book today, please click here.