Among people who love cocktails, there can be a stigma about frozen drinks made in blenders. Rob Tinney, the bar manager at Eat the Rich and an avowed fan of "slushies," has heard it all. "When people hear 'slushies,' they think Margaritaville or TGI Fridays or something like that," Tinney says with a shake of his head. So when he crafted a new menu of five frozen, blended drinks for the Shaw oyster bar, "I wanted to show people that they could be something sophisticated, if you will. They don't have to be bright blue."
The new slushy menu at Eat the Rich contains drinks that resemble cocktails rather than the neon concoctions found on Bourbon Street or in Ocean City beach bars. The frozen gimlet -- a simple mix of gin, lime and cane sugar -- gets character from fresh herbs, such as tarragon or purple sage. The sage, with its savory and sweet notes, adds a layer of complexity to the botanicals of the gin and sharpness of lime.
Seasonal ingredients are key, Tinney says: The vodka-based Orgasmatron combines fresh peach and watermelon with orange juice for an explosion of summer flavors in every brain-freezing sip, and it's topped with a large, cold slice of peach. There Goes the Neighborhood adds tangy blackberries to peppery rye whiskey and rich, tasty local honey. (Watch out for blackberry seeds as you sip.) He expects the menu to change often, as chef Julien Shapiro gets fresh fruits and herbs. "This is the time of year when produce starts getting really good," Tinney says, adding that he's looking forward to experimenting with mulberries and chocolate mint, and maybe pisco.
Served in curvy hurricane glasses that develop a film of ice as you sip, these drinks can go down really quickly on a warm day, and it's dangerous how easily the boozy flavors get lost amid the fruit and juice. Tinney says that on opening night, some customers flagged him down to say, "'I can't taste the alcohol. Can you put an extra shot in there?' And I'm like, 'Trust me, it's in there."
Eat the Rich, 1839 Seventh St. NW. 202-316-9396. www.etrbar.com. Cocktails $11-$13.