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Boozy Ice Cream: D.C.’s Essential Frozen Treat

Intoxicating sweets great for beating the heat

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Spiked slushies and frosé are impossibly popular on Instagram posts and patio menus during the summer, but there’s another form of frozen self-gratification that doesn’t get the hype it deserves. Boozy ice cream is a gift from the alcohol gods because it provides a socially acceptable way to imbibe at any time of day.

Local restaurants, bars, rooftops, and ice cream shops are giving the people what they want: alcohol in dessert form. From adulterated scoops and fruity sorbets to shave ice and ice pops, there’s no telling what bartenders and pastry chefs will transform with a splash of the hard stuff. (Prefer an amped-up shake? Suck on these frosty creations.)

Whether it’s an afternoon happy hour on the patio, a Sunday morning walk through the neighborhood, or a spirited end to a dinner date, there is no wrong time to order any of these 12 boozy ice cream treats.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Red's Table

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11150 South Lakes Dr
Reston, VA
(571) 375-7755
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In addition to whipping up seasonally inspired sorbets, Red’s Table blends espresso, cinnamon, Frangelico, and vanilla into its Milton ice cream ($3 per scoop). It’s named after a popular milkshake from executive chef Kevin Ettenson’s hometown.

2. Dolcezza

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1560 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 333-4646
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Dolcezza regularly adds a boozy kick to its home-spun gelato. One year-round offering is Rye Whiskey Pecan Praline made with One Eight Distilling’s rye. During the warmer months, special sorbets pop up based on what’s in season. Look for Strawberry Tequila, Cucumber Mint Vodka, Yellow Peach Southern Comfort, and White Peach Prosecco as the temperature rises.

3. Top of the Gate

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2650 Virginia Ave NW
Washington, D.C.
(844) 617-1972
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Complement the sweeping views from the rooftop of the Watergate Hotel with spiked Hawaiian Shaved Ice ($16). There are two flavors: Silver Fox with coconut milk, almond milk, pineapple juice, and Baileys; and 1972 featuring pineapple, cherry, cassis, and limoncello.

4. Bub and Pop's

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1815 M St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 457-1111
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The water ice at Bub & Pop’s is a little more potent than good old H2O. Its spiked take on the Philly specialty comes in rotating flavors ($8). Right now, try Lychee with Malibu coconut rum, lemon with Godiva chocolate liqueur, and a concoction called ‘Bottom of the Fruit Salad’ with whipped cream vodka — which tastes like the leftover juice after a fruit salad is polished off.

5. Rosario

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2435 18th St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 791-0298
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The house-made cherry fernet gelato at Rosario practically begs for a digestif to accompany it ($10). The frozen treat is made with Fernet-Branca and cherries, topped with candied mint.

6. Radiator

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1430 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 742-3150
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The Chef’s “Naptime” Sundae at Radiator isn’t meant for kids, but adults who indulge will likely be ready for a snooze ($14). It’s a decadent combination of vanilla ice cream, Guinness coffee ice cream, a shot of whiskey, Heath Bar cookie crumbs, maple syrup, and bacon fat powder.

7. Ice Cream Jubilee

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1407 T St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 299-9024
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Founder Victoria Lai is always spinning new combinations, including several boozy varieties. Right now, choose from Banana Bourbon Caramel with Jim Beam bourbon, Gin & Tonic Sorbet with Beefeater Gin and lime, or Dark & Stormy with Gosling’s Rum and candied ginger. Boozy Eggnog, Grapefruit Campari, Maple Rye Pecan, Pear Brandy, Bourbon Old Fashioned, and Fig, Port & Goat Cheese have also popped up in the past.

8. Tico DC

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1926 14th St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 319-1400
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Pastry chef Alex Levin puts a Latin spin on a classic Italian dessert cocktail with his Sgroppino Latino ($10). The glass is filled with coconut sorbet, compressed pineapple, and spiced rum, and then cava is layered on top tableside.

[Tico]

9. Sakerum

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2204 14th St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 518-2222
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The signature gelato at Sakerum is made with chocolate and Zacapa 23 rum ($9). It’s served with a caramel sauce and crumbled streusel.

10. DNV Rooftop Lounge

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1155 14th St NW Fl 14
Washington, D.C.
(202) 379-4366
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They can’t help snap a photo, but the Selfie Sticks at the DNV Rooftop are still worth trying ($15). The boozy ice pops come in a trio of flavors, which change throughout the summer. Previous offerings have included red sangria, and dark rum coffee.

11. Moorenko's Ice Cream

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8030 Georgia Ave Ste B
Silver Spring, MD
(301) 565-7804
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Silver Spring’s premium ice cream parlor churns alcohol into several of its flavors. The shop offers Burnt Caramel Bourbon Brickle with bourbon and chocolate-covered toffee, Grapefruit Campari sorbet with ruby grapefruit juice and Campari, Irish Stout with Guinness, as well as Irish Cream with Irish whiskey, cream, and coffee.

12. Osteria Morini

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301 Water St SE
Washington, D.C.
(202) 484-0660
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Osteria Morini’s selection of house-made gelato and sorbetto includes a Strawberry Prosecco Sorbet, which is a blend of strawberry puree and Desiderio Jeio Prosecco ($8 for 3 scoops).

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1. Red's Table

11150 South Lakes Dr, Reston, VA

In addition to whipping up seasonally inspired sorbets, Red’s Table blends espresso, cinnamon, Frangelico, and vanilla into its Milton ice cream ($3 per scoop). It’s named after a popular milkshake from executive chef Kevin Ettenson’s hometown.

11150 South Lakes Dr
Reston, VA

2. Dolcezza

1560 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

Dolcezza regularly adds a boozy kick to its home-spun gelato. One year-round offering is Rye Whiskey Pecan Praline made with One Eight Distilling’s rye. During the warmer months, special sorbets pop up based on what’s in season. Look for Strawberry Tequila, Cucumber Mint Vodka, Yellow Peach Southern Comfort, and White Peach Prosecco as the temperature rises.

1560 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C.

3. Top of the Gate

2650 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

Complement the sweeping views from the rooftop of the Watergate Hotel with spiked Hawaiian Shaved Ice ($16). There are two flavors: Silver Fox with coconut milk, almond milk, pineapple juice, and Baileys; and 1972 featuring pineapple, cherry, cassis, and limoncello.

2650 Virginia Ave NW
Washington, D.C.

4. Bub and Pop's

1815 M St NW, Washington, D.C.

The water ice at Bub & Pop’s is a little more potent than good old H2O. Its spiked take on the Philly specialty comes in rotating flavors ($8). Right now, try Lychee with Malibu coconut rum, lemon with Godiva chocolate liqueur, and a concoction called ‘Bottom of the Fruit Salad’ with whipped cream vodka — which tastes like the leftover juice after a fruit salad is polished off.

1815 M St NW
Washington, D.C.

5. Rosario

2435 18th St NW, Washington, D.C.

The house-made cherry fernet gelato at Rosario practically begs for a digestif to accompany it ($10). The frozen treat is made with Fernet-Branca and cherries, topped with candied mint.

2435 18th St NW
Washington, D.C.

6. Radiator

1430 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

The Chef’s “Naptime” Sundae at Radiator isn’t meant for kids, but adults who indulge will likely be ready for a snooze ($14). It’s a decadent combination of vanilla ice cream, Guinness coffee ice cream, a shot of whiskey, Heath Bar cookie crumbs, maple syrup, and bacon fat powder.

1430 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, D.C.

7. Ice Cream Jubilee

1407 T St NW, Washington, D.C.

Founder Victoria Lai is always spinning new combinations, including several boozy varieties. Right now, choose from Banana Bourbon Caramel with Jim Beam bourbon, Gin & Tonic Sorbet with Beefeater Gin and lime, or Dark & Stormy with Gosling’s Rum and candied ginger. Boozy Eggnog, Grapefruit Campari, Maple Rye Pecan, Pear Brandy, Bourbon Old Fashioned, and Fig, Port & Goat Cheese have also popped up in the past.

1407 T St NW
Washington, D.C.

8. Tico DC

1926 14th St NW, Washington, D.C.
[Tico]

Pastry chef Alex Levin puts a Latin spin on a classic Italian dessert cocktail with his Sgroppino Latino ($10). The glass is filled with coconut sorbet, compressed pineapple, and spiced rum, and then cava is layered on top tableside.

1926 14th St NW
Washington, D.C.

9. Sakerum

2204 14th St NW, Washington, D.C.

The signature gelato at Sakerum is made with chocolate and Zacapa 23 rum ($9). It’s served with a caramel sauce and crumbled streusel.

2204 14th St NW
Washington, D.C.

10. DNV Rooftop Lounge

1155 14th St NW Fl 14, Washington, D.C.

They can’t help snap a photo, but the Selfie Sticks at the DNV Rooftop are still worth trying ($15). The boozy ice pops come in a trio of flavors, which change throughout the summer. Previous offerings have included red sangria, and dark rum coffee.

1155 14th St NW Fl 14
Washington, D.C.

11. Moorenko's Ice Cream

8030 Georgia Ave Ste B, Silver Spring, MD

Silver Spring’s premium ice cream parlor churns alcohol into several of its flavors. The shop offers Burnt Caramel Bourbon Brickle with bourbon and chocolate-covered toffee, Grapefruit Campari sorbet with ruby grapefruit juice and Campari, Irish Stout with Guinness, as well as Irish Cream with Irish whiskey, cream, and coffee.

8030 Georgia Ave Ste B
Silver Spring, MD

12. Osteria Morini

301 Water St SE, Washington, D.C.

Osteria Morini’s selection of house-made gelato and sorbetto includes a Strawberry Prosecco Sorbet, which is a blend of strawberry puree and Desiderio Jeio Prosecco ($8 for 3 scoops).

301 Water St SE
Washington, D.C.

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