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Posted at 12:52 PM ET, 07/23/2010

Something for the Weekend: Frozen drinks and an IPA festival

By Fritz Hahn

Estadio's frozen Slushitos are cocktails made with quince and Scotch (left) or strawberries, tarragon and gin. (Fritz Hahn - The Washington Post)

It's hot as blazes outside, which means only one thing: I'm looking for a cold drink as soon as I leave the comfort of air conditioning. If you're in the same boat this weekend, try some new frozen cocktails at Estadio or head to Pizzeria Paradiso for a refreshing India Pale Ale during the bar's first-ever JulyPA festival.

Frozen cocktails are standard during warm months -- they're cooling, sure, and they also hark back to the days of buying Slurpees and playing with a Snoopy Sno-Cone machine. But let's be honest: Most frozen margaritas or pina coladas are just alcohol, fruit concentrate and sugar water. Refreshing, but not very tasty.

The newly opened Estadio, however, takes frozen drinks to a new level. The menu's two "Slushitos" are essentially the kinds of cocktails you'd expect from a mixologist like Adam Bernbach of Estadio and Proof, full of fresh fruit and unexpected flavors, but in the icy guise of a frozen margarita. (They're even served from one of those ceaselessly swirling machines you find behind the counter in Mexican restaurants.)

Fellow Guru Stephanie and I stopped by earlier this week, and ordered both Slushitos. We were soon fighting over who got to drink the darker version -- a Spanish-inspired fusion of quince, paprika, lemon, sherry and scotch. The rich flavors and fragrances play off each other wonderfully, especially the quince and citrus.

We also enjoyed the vibrant red strawberry version, which gets an herbal kick from campari, gin, tarragon and a hint of lime. It's smooth, very summery and was flying out of the bar -- it's not unusual for all the Slushitos to be sold out by 8:30 or 9 p.m. (Expect to pay $9 per glass.)

Bernbach will be changing the flavors every month; In August, look for a blend of banana and Irish whiskey.

For fans of IPAs, this is a good weekend to visit the Pizzeria Paradiso restaurants and beer bars in Dupont and Georgetown, where manager Greg Jasgur has changed all 30 draft lines to hop-centric India Pale Ales. (Those who prefer lagers, stouts and other styles should note that there are still hundreds of choices in bottles.)

Jasgur, a fan of India Pale Ales, had been planning on hosting some sort of IPA-centric event at Paradiso, and saving a stash of rare beers for the occasion. Once he hit on "JulyPA," he knew he had to do it this month. "It's just such a good pun," he laughs.

Hop-heads can expect to find Moylan's super-hoppy Hopsicle Imperial IPA, Founders' super-bitter Hand of Doom, aged in bourbon barrels, and Bells' storied HopSlam IPA, but Jasgur says that JulyPA "is not just about the big beers. That's not my style -- I like smooth, lower-alcohol IPAs," including Scotland's floral and malty Bitter and Twisted, the delicious Three Floyds Alpha King, and a hard-to-get cask-conditioned version of Bells Two Hearted Ale, which is poured without carbon dioxide to let the hop flavor show through. (Two Hearted will be offered at Dupont, while Georgetown's cask is the Victory Hop Wallop.)

There are 13 taps in Dupont, including the cask, and 17 in Georgetown. No beers will be duplicated between the two bars, which means a weekend of bar-hopping. (Hint: the blue Georgetown Connection bus stops near both restaurants.) Once a beer is gone, it's gone, and a non-IPA will be put back on in its place. The cost varies by beer, though all IPAs run between $5 and $10.

To go along with the beer, there's a special I-Pizza-A from the ovens, with roasted peaches and apricots, prosciutto di Parma, ricotta and goat cheeses and fresh basil.

-- Fritz Hahn

By Fritz Hahn  | July 23, 2010; 12:52 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Restaurants  
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