Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cocktails Inspired by Childhood: The Right and Wrong Way

On Saturday night, Jules, Thirsty Ivy, our new friend Red Stethoscope and I went to an early dinner together at Rosemary's Thyme Bistro in the nebulous area in between Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle. We weren't ready to let the night end once the dinner bill came, so naturally, a discussion over where -- and what -- to drink followed.

I don't know if you know this, but it's been a trifle stifling in the District as of late. To illustrate:

Bearing that in mind, we decided to pursue watering holes with beverages that were particularly frosty in order to cool our ever-rising core temperatures. A mention of alcoholic Snow Cones at Jack Rose Dining Saloon just up the street prompted an evening-long mission: to seek out drinks from our childhood to which local bars have added alcohol in order to allow them to grow up with us.

As we soon found, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it:

THE WRONG WAY: Snow Cones at Jack Rose Dining Saloon, 2007 18th St. NW

When I got wind of alcoholic Snow Cones, I was expecting vodka-mixed cherry, blue raspberry, orange or grape concoctions. That's not what we got, unfortunately.

Jack Rose's Snow Cones -- mint julep on the left; margarita at center and right.

The Snow Cones at Jack Rose come in mint julep or margarita, which, to me at least, begs the question, "Why didn't we just go to Lauriol Plaza down the street to get actual frozen margaritas? This Snow Cone is bullshit!"

Basically, they scooped a bunch of ice and put it in a cone cup, then poured the alcohol mix over top. The alcohol then immediately sank through the ice to the bottom, so you were either crunching on pure ice off the top or sucking pure alcohol from the bottom through the straw. Eventually, we figured out that if you stabbed your Snow Cone with your straw enough times, the ice would crunch and melt with the alcohol mixture enough to be the right consistency, but by that point I was done with the novelty of the drink and ready to try something else.

And, like I said, they only had mint julep or margarita. If I'm getting a Snow Cone, I want blue-freakin-raspberry. And don't tell me that's a flavor that doesn't exist in nature either -- it's a flavor that exists in the whimsy of my childhood dreams and I want booze in it, goddammit.

THE RIGHT WAY: Adult milkshakes at Trio Restaurant, 1537 17th St. NW

After chucking our paper cones, we decided to take a walk down the street to Trio Restaurant, where we'd heard tell of five different milkshakes that had been classed up with alcohol. Indeed, they serve them:

My Mexican milkshake, with Kaluha
And boy, were they delicious. I got the Mexican milkshake with Kaluha, which was just as rich and chocolatey (with a hint of chili spice) as you'd expect. Jules got the Italian milkshake with Frangelico, which tasted like alcoholic peanut butter. And Red Stethoscope got the Irish milkshake with Bailey's Irish Cream, which was minty and delicious as well.

It was hard not to suck them down in one giant slurp -- they were SO GOOD. In fact, that's one of the only downsides (I'll get to the other in a second) -- they were so delicious that I sucked it down the hatch and felt tipsy way more quickly than I'd intended. I think if I had to do it all over again, I'd order the Italian milkshake with Frangelico... that peanut butter was to die for.

Now, the other downside is this: If you're going to go to Trio, sit on the patio outside. Don't sit inside, no matter how hot it is, no matter what the other variables. Why? Because I walked into that restaurant and immediately was assaulted by an all-too-familiar smell: My grandparents' house in Waterloo, Indiana.

This is my sister and me circa 1986 at the farm in Waterloo. Now, this obviously is out in the cow pasture, but close your eyes and imagine what the inside of the house would smell like.

It's a scent that is a mixture of cleaning supplies, cooking smells and... well... old people. I don't know how to describe it any better than that. Walking in there caused a visceral reaction in my brain that sent me on a mind trip back to my grandma's stinky kitchen.

But bottom line, the grandma smell is not a deal-breaker AS LONG AS you sit out on the patio. If you're out on the patio, you're good. And who wouldn't want to be out there along 17th Street watching the spectacular passers-by anyway?

So, the next time you're in the mood for nostalgia-inspired drinks, check out the adult milkshakes at Trio. You'll be glad you did!


  1. I recently had an alcoholic Shirley Temple that reminded me of being little since that was all I drank back in the day. I dont know how I feel about alcoholic milkshakes. Something about feeling like the milk would curdle in your stomach.

  2. You can also get Spiked Milkshakes at Bobby Flay's Burger Palace. There is one on K Street and if you venture to Maryland in College Park and at the new Live Casino at Arundel Mills, FYI :) and they are yummy!


  3. Love it! Your description of the inside of Trio is perfect. Jamie & I saw a snow cone maker the next day in World Market and he was all, "OMG, you should buy that & make alcoholic snow cones RIGHT!" :)

  4. Ted's Bulletin also has some wonderful Adult Milkshakes.


  5. Yes, and we've heard that Burger Tap & Shake has them, too -- I'm gonna have to drink my way through D.C. this summer while it's hot :)

  6. Yep, who wants to mess with a snow cone when you can get the REAL DEAL margarita at the closest mexican food joint. I hear ya there....but that milkshake looks super yummy!

    Visiting via my girl Red Stethoscope. =)