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Watergate tea (Photo courtesy Watergate)
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Raise your pinky fingers for these 3 new afternoon tea menus

So you’ve checked off a ton of items on your seemingly never-ending lists of shopping and to-do’s. Now it’s time to do something for yourself. Settle into a plush sofa, take in the holiday decor (that you didn’t have to set up), bask in the comforting warmth of the contents in a steaming floral porcelain cup and partake in some creative sustenance.

These spots in D.C. and Virginia offering brand new afternoon tea menus are the soothing oasis we all need this time of year.

The Watergate Hotel

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the iconic (and infamous) D.C. landmark, the swanky hotel just rolled out a brand new afternoon tea menu. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2 - 4 p.m. in the lobby, guests can partake in savory and sweet favorites served on a three-tiered floral China platter, along with tea and live piano music.

It kicks off in a spirited way with a flute of Champagne (or a strawberry crushed ice mocktail for kids or those not imbibing.) Afterwards, nibble on finger sandwiches: cucumber and watercress crème mingles with a fine herb jus, earthy black truffled egg salad is topped with hackleback caviar and a poached quail egg, and smoked salmon is served on pumpernickel bread with zesty preserved lemon tzatziki and salmon roe. Finish with traditional sweets like cranberry orange scones (served with Devonshire cream, seasonal jam and passionfruit curd), spiced carrot cake and espresso hazelnut pot de crèm, which are joined by whimsically nostalgic ones like raspberry shortbread Pop-Tarts and chocolate Ho-Hos. Alongside, select from more than thirty different varieties of tea. Standouts include the fresh and citrus-y Sicilian Blood Orange Green, Black Canadian Ice Wine Elixir (which shares the purity of fruit flavor of the Canadian classic dessert wine), Pu-erh, a rich and smooth 2001 vintage oak barrel-aged tea, and a black tea tinged with vanilla and aged in whiskey barrels.

Adults can enjoy the afternoon tea for $50 and children ages 5-12 for $25. Reservations are required for tea service and can be booked by calling 202-827-1600, extension 3107.

Blue Duck Tavern

The new three-course tea menu at the New American restaurant at the Park Hyatt Hotel in the city’s West End offers up rustic takes on traditional tea dishes. Tea starts with cherry scones which you can slather with clotted cream and house-made jam, followed by chicken corn chowder with lavosh and crème fraîche, heirloom tomato sandwich with burrata and rosemary focaccia and a deviled egg with crab salad and trout roe. It wraps up with indulgent sweets like a chocolate whoopie pie with Oreo buttercream, buttermilk panna cotta with blackberry compote and pistachio, and Key Lime profiterole with whipped cream.

The hotel’s tea cellar is home to one of the most expansive collections in the country, with more than thirty-five options from China, Japan, Sri Lanka, the Himalayas, Egypt, France and Argentina. Select steaming favorites like lemongrass wild rose herbal tea, moonlight jasmine blossom blooming tea, Freak of Nature oolong, Emperor’s Himalayan lavender and Bourbon vanilla chai.

Afternoon tea at Blue Duck Tavern is available on Sunday afternoons from 3 -4:30 p.m., and is priced at $55 per adult and $30 per child between six and twelve years old. To make a reservation, call 202.419.6755.

Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner

No time to attend a performance of the The Nutcracker this holiday season? Think again. Before or after you hit Tysons Galleria, head next door for tea, where during sips and dainty bites you can catch a performance of the classic ballet performed by South Riding Dance Studio.

On Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m., The Nutcracker Tea offers tailored menus for both adults and children. The former can nosh on finger sandwiches of poached asparagus and sun-dried tomato confit, smoked salmon with herbed cream cheese and caviar on pumpernickel bread, deviled egg salad with chives, curry apple chicken salad and English cucumber with watercress cream. The savories are followed by sweet treats like currant scones, cheesecake squares, gingerbread snowflakes, chocolate hazelnut torte and linzer tart. Kid-friendly bites include Nutella and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, holiday-decorated chocolate-covered strawberries, apricot roulade, fudge brownie, eggnog mousse, cheesecake square and gingerbread people.

The Nutcracker Tea is $79 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity; for reservations, call 703.917.5715.

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