Loudoun's restaurants gear up for cocktails to-go starting Friday

Johnny Dugger at Casa Tequila in Purcellville with "bomb pops," a layered frozen margarita. A container of four drinks will be available for $35 starting Friday. 

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has provided another opportunity for customers to support their favorite restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing establishments with a mixed beverages license to sell drinks through takeout or delivery.

“Finally,” said Jason Maddens, owner of Ahso Restaurant in Brambleton.

Maddens said he has been sending emails to the governor "to push this along" for the past few weeks, because liquor was the one revenue stream they were not able to tap into, he said.

“We were elated to hear the governor's announcement yesterday. We immediately placed an order with ABC and have updated our menu. We'll be offering five cocktails to start with, including our immensely popular 'Barrel-Aged OG' and 'Orange you a spicy one,' as well as a spicy margarita and a gin drink with thyme,” Maddens said.

Ahso will also be bottling drinks that will be available in four-packs starting this week.

“Our cocktail program is pretty strong, so I'm expecting there will be a big influx of sales,” he said.

Ahso is open for curbside takeout everyday except Wednesday and Thursday. Maddens recommends pre-ordering a meal to ensure availability, because they tend to sell out of popular items such as ramen on Mondays and barbecue on Tuesdays.

Virginia restaurants were previously allowed to sell beer or wine for takeout or deliveries, according to the governor's executive order on March 20.  

Kevin Bednarz, owner of Ashburn Pub and Purcellville Pub, said he thinks selling cocktails will help business. Bednarz is looking forward to setting up a tiki bar outside and selling a “drink of the day” while doing a livestream to promote some of the popular beverages on the menu.

“The margin on alcohol is good, so it should help us,” he said.

Bednarz has been omnipresent on social media throughout the coronavirus shutdown.

Another stipulation of the executive order is that each order for delivery or takeout of cocktails must include a meal for every two cocktails purchased. They also must be in a glass, paper or plastic container with a sealed lid.

At Casa Tequila in Purcellville and Sterling, bar manager Johnny Dugger said he is excited for the change, but he hopes people will be responsible in ordering to keep the community safe.

Casa Tequila has created family meals to-go with fajitas or enchiladas to feed four or five people for $45. Larger meals are $80 and other menu options and combinations are available as well.

Dugger's popular homemade cocktails – such as "bomb pops," which is a frozen margarita with three flavors – can be purchased to serve four drinks for $35. Other options include 10 flavors of frozen or on-the-rocks margaritas for $24, skinny margaritas made with organic agave, silver tequila and fresh lime juice for $36, or Dugger's signature drink, which is a tequila mule made with mint, tequila, lime and ginger beer for $30.

At Ford's Fish Shack's three locations in Ashburn, Lansdowne and South Riding, owner Tony Stafford said he will offer their three signature drinks – a margarita, a dark and stormy and a blueberry lemonade.

Stafford has ordered special sealable containers to sell the cocktails, he said.

“It's a nice opportunity to generate revenue,” he said.

Nils Schnibbe, owner of More Better in Round Hill and SideBar in Leesburg, said selling cocktails “should be a big help.”

“Our very popular brunch will be even better now with bloody marys and tequila sunrise. This is a good thing all around and our customers will love it,” he said.

Both restaurants are open for takeout, curbside and delivery weekdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

At The Conche in the Village at Leesburg, to-go cocktails have been on the menu for the past year after the Virginia General Assembly passed a law in 2018 allowing takeout wine, beer and cocktails at lifestyle development shopping centers.

Conche General Manager Samet Yuksekgonul said one of the specials The Conche will be offering is an $8 Old Fashioned chocolate cocktail made with bourbon, simple syrup, and chocolate, orange and angostura bitters.

The Conche also has family meals to-go ranging from $79 to $119, and they are organizing community drop deliveries to bring orders to large neighborhoods.

“We are very thankful and happy for all of the community support since day one,” Yuksekgonul said.

(10) comments

HappyInHamilton

The Conche also has family meals to-go ranging from $79 to $119. Probably not for the many who have lost their jobs!

amerigirl

More Cowbell, Must you think the worst of people? You really think there are going to be people driving around getting drunk when they can lay back at home and enjoy their beverages? Maybe there will be some idiot that does that but I doubt many. It helps keep businesses open if they can improve their sales. I’ll take you up on that wager

amerigirl

You could buy it at the ABC stores and mix it in your car or you can support small businesses and pick it up there. I don't think there is going to rampant abuse, a drunk driver would be spotted so fast on these low traffic roads.

More Cowbell

I'll take 8 cocktails to go...

northernobserver

I think it's a great idea... until we start getting people with DUIs all over the place... Hopefully it's not abused.

scatterbrain

Figure the average person will pick-up their drink/food order, go home, and consume their drinks. As opposed to the "old" method of sitting @ the bar for 3 hours, and buying 8 drinks. But yes, get ready for the avalanche of DUI arrests, as people chug their frozen margaritas on Route 7.

More Cowbell

Great, now we can drink and drive. Good job Gov Northam. Opening up more non essential businesses so more can get the virus. Should have closed down everything for 2-3 weeks, 3 weeks ago. Nothing has changed.

Oldbroad

Regrettably you are correct. Eeking out this and that will not flatten the curve. We need to bite the friggin bullet. We are trying to finagle tiny ways to keep places going when it should have just been 3 to 4 weeks of total downtime. Then we could hopefully have started ramping up to fill. Now I fear all these loopholes are only going to make it harder and take the flattening longer. Not being very farsighted...just "Holy Crap" gotta get a nickel here and nickel there. I empathize but it's not the strong stance we need to take control. It will take longer and longer will be harder on more people and have larger repercussions.

amerigirl

now we can drink and drive? It didn't take this for some people to do that.

More Cowbell

True, but I'd wager drunk driving is down over the past few weeks. This gives some a reason to go out, purchase several drinks, drink them while driving around, purchase some more. I'm not sure I see what opening this up really does for any business? I could see restaurants selling beer/wine(bottles/cans). Curious if anyone purchased a cocktail, if so how did they package it? plastic cup? plastic container?

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