Photo: Courtesy of 2 Birds 1 Stone
Photo: Courtesy of 2 Birds 1 Stone

Behind the Bar: August 2017

Whether it’s a humid day under the clouds or a blindingly bright one beneath the sun, the heat has been seemingly inescapable this summer. We went behind the bar at three local spots to cool off with slushies, frappes, frozen cocktails and other refreshing treats.

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

Drew Hairston
General Manager, Bar Pilar

On Tap: Which is your most popular slushie at the moment?
Drew Hairston: During brunch, it’s definitely going to be the Dunkin’ with O’Doyle because it’s the coffee slushie, which has really cool ingredients. It’s made with Glendalough Irish whiskey and house-made coffee liqueur.

OT: When is the best time to indulge in a slushie?
DH: I’d say brunch. The slushie’s cold, so you’re not going to chug it, and it does have a little bit of weight on it, so it’s boozy enough. When you go to brunch, you’re hanging out with friends on a relaxing Sunday. You don’t have to worry about the mimosa hangover.

OT: How do you come up with the names for cocktails?
DH: The drinks always start out as a concept. Like for brunch, we might have a cocktail called Yoga Pants because it’s something that we see all the time. It can also depend on the spirit. The Dunkin’ with O’Doyle gets its inspiration from Dunkin’ Donuts as they’re known for their coffee, and O’Doyle was from Billy Madison. We frequently play Adam Sandler movies at the bar. A couple of inside jokes can translate over to the cocktails.

OT: Are there any new cocktails on the horizon?
DH: For the next round of slushies, we have the Orange Crush slushie, which has pisco and tang powder. We also have a Purple Stuff slushie, which will be made with cordial, concord grapes and Kool-Aid powder.

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

Drew’s Pick
Dunkin’ With O’Doyle
Glendalough Single Barrel
House-made coffee liqueur
Homebrew coffee
Vanilla coconut milk
Water
Oreo crumbles

Bar Pilar: 1833 14th St. NW, DC; www.barpilar.com


Photo: Courtesy of 2 Birds 1 Stone

Photo: Courtesy of 2 Birds 1 Stone

Adam Bernbach
Bar Director, 2 Birds 1 Stone and Estadio

On Tap: 2 Birds 1 Stone’s menu changes regularly. How do you decide what gets put on the menus and when?
Adam Bernbach: The punch and frappe drinks change every day, but the rest of them rotate. Even if some things are doing well, at a certain point, we’ll take them out if they begin to overstay their welcome; four weeks is generally the longest.

OT: Do you still have staple drinks that people associate with 2 Birds 1 Stone?
AB: It’s really all over the board. We always have a ginger beer drink and a house-made soda. Alternately, we feel comfortable changing them as long as the staple is the ginger beer itself. We also have classics that we enjoy on the back side of the menu. For the frappes, we have a different one per day. The piña colada, frosé and frozen Aperol spritz are ones that come to mind. They’re an exciting variation on something recognizable.

OT: How does your approach as bar director differ between 2 Birds 1 Stone and Estadio?
AB: Estadio is a Spanish restaurant, so we tend to make drinks that use Spanish ingredients, reference Spanish flavors or that are culturally Spanish. At 2 Birds 1 Stone, there’s no limits. It’s about what we’re interested in organically, and what has been successful. There’s a culture between the coworkers, and things grow out of that.

OT: What frozen drinks are offered at Estadio?
AB: Slushitos, and they’ve been a part of the restaurant since it opened. We look at what’s available as far as seasonal produce. We try to do one light spirit and one dark spirit, and then go from there.

Photo: Courtesy of 2 Birds 1 Stone

Photo: Courtesy of 2 Birds 1 Stone

Adam’s Pick
Orange Zest-Infused Aperol (at 2 Birds 1 Stone)
Sparkling wine
Vodka
Orange Juice

2 Birds 1 Stone: 1800 14th St. NW, DC; www.2birds1stonedc.com

Estadio: 1520 14th St NW, Washington, DC; www.estadio-dc.com


Photo: Reem Nadeem

Photo: Reem Nadeem

Megan Coyle
Bar Manager, Hazel

On Tap: What’s the vibe like at Hazel?
Megan Coyle: The whole neighborhood has a fun, youthful, creative vibe to it, which is nice.

OT: What’s the environment on the patio like?
MC: It’s pretty bustling. It never ceases to amaze me even though [it’s] really hot. We have couches that surround communal tables, so lots of groups hang out. We get people before shows at 9:30 Club. It’s definitely conducive to large groups.

OT: How do you organize your beers?
MC: It’s all done by flavor profile, which I think is helpful, because we have so many rare items and it helps to clarify what to expect. A lot of people approaching our beer list might be a little intimidated just because there’s so many things that are foreign to people, so it helps to alleviate some of that stress.

OT: What’s one of your most creative cocktails?
MC: The one I personally enjoy the most is That Jawn. We use black lime-infused vermouth, quinquina and bourbon. When I put the three ingredients together, because it’s such a simple drink, I was actually really surprised at how complex it is. And I think it’s really perfect for summer, especially for someone who wants a summer bourbon cocktail.

OT: What other summery drinks do you offer?
MC: We have three [patio pitchers]. They are really bright, juicy drinks. One is essentially a lavender lemonade with the addition of gin. One has spicy tequila, like a house-infused jalapeno tequila. The other is sort of a vodka cherry punch kind of drink; it’s fruit juice-heavy for sure. We’re trying to keep it bright and thirst-quenching.

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Megan’s Pick
Fankie Avalon
Vodka
Orange juice
Lemon juice
Birch-flavored simple syrup
Cherry juice

Hazel: 808 V St. NW, DC; www.hazelrestaurant.com