Boozy frozen drinks are all the rage this summer, from frozen margaritas on the roof of El Centro D.F. to the spiked snow cones served at Jack Rose. But no one is attacking the concept as gleefully as Matt Larson, the bartender/DJ at the Reef in Adams Morgan. On Thursday nights from 8 p.m. until last call, Larson throws a virtual kitchen sink of booze into his ice-filled Vitamix blender on the bar’s jungle-themed first-floor, all while keeping drum ’n’ bass tunes rattling through the sound system.
The hipster pickleback shot — a shot of whiskey chased by a shot of chilled pickle juice — becomes a novelty frozen drink that tastes of Jameson and dill pickles. It’s more refreshing than it sounds. The classic black Russian becomes a rich, intensely coffee-flavored concoction with Van Gogh espresso vodka and Kahlua. (Honestly, it could be a new frozen Starbucks drink and you’d never know the difference.) He also can whip up an orange crush (orange vodka, orange juice, soda) or a fruity tiki-style cocktail with peach Ciroc vodka and sweet red juice. The black Russian is the winner of the lot, and all drinks costs between $6 and $9, depending on ingredients.
Because of weekend crowds, Larson pulls out the blender only on Thursday nights — a good reason to start the weekend a little early.