At local restaurants this summer, the line between the kitchen and the bar is getting blurry — and not because chefs are hitting the bottle. Rather, they’re pouring booze into unexpected places like gelato, pizza crust, soup and even breakfast cereals to add body, texture and flavor to their dishes. Bypass the requisite beverage pairing and eat these beer- or liquor-laced treats instead. (Remember: With the exception of the pizza, you must be 21 or older to enjoy.) Kelly Magyarics (For Express)
At this Neapolitan-style pizzeria, chef Will Artley adds a healthy dose of D.C. Brau’s The Citizen to his pizza dough. Available Fridays and Saturdays in limited quantities, the boozy dough is mixed with the Belgian-style pale ale and fermented for more than 30 hours. “The process is intense to watch throughout its transformation,” Artley says. Most of the alcohol is quickly burned off in the 1,000-degree, custom-built volcanic brick oven, and “the unfiltered sediment adds a killer potent yeast flavor and light fruity notes to the pizza dough.” Try it with the Tommy Boy ($17), with ham, sausage, mozzarella, pecorino, basil, Fresno peppers, garlic, grana, ricotta and a cream sauce, or the North Beach ($14), with tomato, salami, peppers, olives and mozzarella.
400 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church; 703-226-3460, pizzeriaorso.com.
Dolci Gelati Cafe
After a customer suggested this Takoma Park newcomer serve a limoncello-flavored gelato, owner and chef Gianluigi Dellaccio turned to friend and fellow Italian Francesco Amodeo of D.C.’s Don Ciccio & Figli liqueurs. The duo experimented until they found the proper ratio of ingredients. “Initially you get this cold rush of flavor,” Dellaccio says of the limoncello gelato ($3.75 for a small, $5.75 for a large), which is now a mainstay on the menu. “Then the slight tingle and warmness from the alcohol is surprising and delicious.” The shop, which opened in April, now offers other tricked-out frozen boozy concoctions, including Concerto, crafted with Amodeo’s espresso-and-spice liqueur of the same name. 7000 Carroll Ave., Takoma Park, Md.; 240-418-8359, dolcigelati.net. (Takoma)
When the philanthro-pub needed a creative hook for its brunch menu, executive chef Adam Stein suggested combining Cocoa Puffs with a White Russian. The restaurant team snagged nearly every flavor of kids’ cereal from the grocery store and hit the bar to form equally quirky combinations ($10 each). Campfire Crispies combines Golden Grahams with Patrón XO Cafe, Tres Leches liqueur and half-and-half; the Silly Sloe Rabbit mixes Trix, sloe gin, preserved lemon syrup and half-and-half. “They’re a throwback updated in a way that makes it OK to enjoy Cinnamon Toast Crunch while out to brunch with your grown-up friends.” 1926 Ninth St. NW; 202-588-5220, causedc.org. (U Street)
Chef Bertrand Chemel was inspired by a lovable yet lowbrow classic — the watermelon punctured with an overturned bottle of vodka — when he created his watermelon soup ($8). He combines in-season watermelon and cantaloupe with pepper, vanilla, lemon thyme, lemon basil and mint from his on-site garden and a shot of Chesapeake Bay Distillery’s smooth Spirits of the Blue Ridge vodka. Chemel seals the concoction in a jar and lets it macerate before chilling and serving. “This is a refreshing option for guests as an amuse-bouche, palate cleanser or light non-dairy dessert,” Chemel says. 2941 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church; 703-270-1500, 2941.com.