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There’s nothing quite like a frosty beverage to help cure your cabin fever. As long as you have a blender and ice on hand, there’s a world of frozen cocktails that can help soothe your summer wanderlust.
VinePair asked beverage professionals around the country to provide blender inspiration and tips for frozen cocktails at home. Their answers below prove that slushy drinks don’t have to be overly sweet rail drinks, but instead can be sophisticated creations of artistry. Don’t forget the cocktail umbrella.
“The best frozen cocktail you can make at home is the famous frozen Margarita. It is extremely easy to make: Grab a few limes, add triple sec, your favorite tequila, some salt, and blend with ice! As simple as that.” — Marc Pont, Bar Manager, Teleferic Barcelona, Palo Alto and Walnut Creek, Calif.
“A Daiquiri! Freeze chunks of your favorite fruit (watermelon, pineapple, strawberries) and blend with rum and equal parts lime juice and simple syrup. So easy and delicious!” — Lucy Watkins, F&B Outlet Manager, The Don CeSar, St. Pete Beach, Fla.
“When I think ‘frozen,’ I think Piña Colada. It’s a classic that has been done time and time again, but the secret is in the ingredients. [Combine] a good white rum, like Appleton or Havana Club, with fresh pineapple juice and coconut cream. It makes all the difference” — Alex Pendergrass, Assistant Director of Food and Beverage, Hotel Viking, Newport, R.I.
“The best frozen summer cocktail to make at home is one with the least amount of cleanup. At Elvie’s, we love making ‘snow cones’ by throwing booze and juices in the freezer and coming back to them the next day. Our go-to is a combination of Del Maguey Vida Crema de Mezcal, Mississippi muscadine juice, and lemon.” — Brandi Carter, Beverage Director, Elvie’s, Jackson, Miss.
“Frozen drinks can be tricky. I like drinks with bold flavors, because the amount of ice you need to freeze a cocktail can dilute the flavors. I have been enjoying a frozen Jungle Bird recently (1.5 ounces fresh pineapple juice, 1.5 ounces Black Strap Rum, 0.75 ounce Campari, 0.5 ounce fresh lime juice, 0.5 ounce simple syrup). Combine all ingredients into a blender, and blend with ice. Garnish with some leftover pieces of pineapple you have from juicing!” — Theo Lieberman, Beverage Director, 232 Bleecker, NYC
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“A frozen Mojito is just the beverage to make any summer memorable. Combine 4 ounces white rum, 2 ounces lime juice, 4 to 6 teaspoons granulated sugar, and a handful of fresh mint leaves into a blender. Add a splash of club soda and ice, and blend until smooth. This minty and refreshing drink will cool you down on the hottest summer day. (Serves 2).” — Kaitlyn Gibbs, Beverage Director, Louie, St. Louis
“Nu Tropic: Made with fresh juices and tropical liquor flavors. It includes Tempus Fugit Crème de Banane, Chinola Passion Fruit Liqueur, [and] Cana Brava 7-year Rum, as well as fresh-squeezed lime and orange juices, ginger syrup, and some [Bittercube] Cherry Bark-Vanilla Bitters. Mix, blend, and serve in a Collins glass. I mean, it’s everything that summer needs, served fresh and refreshing for a hot summer day.” — Adam Rowe, Bar Manager, Leon’s Full Service, Atlanta
“[A frozen Painkiller]: In the absence of a proper shaker tin, and if you desire a little more summer flare, you can put 1 ounce Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum, 0.75 ounce Clément Coconut Rum, 3 ounces pineapple juice, 1 ounce orange juice, and a heavy ounce of cream of coconut into a blender, and add ice. Blend until all the bigger chunks of ice are broken up into sand-like pieces, pour into a glass of your choice, garnish, and enjoy! This one is a real summer stunner and will have you thinking of the tropics, wherever you might be.” — Calder Wright, Bar Manager, Colter Bay, Buffalo, N.Y.
“Considering the fact that we’ve done a new frozen drink every week for two months, this is right up my alley! To be honest, every cocktail can be made into a frozen drink at home — you just up the sweetness. My secret trick is to use crushed ice (you can get this at Sonic for $2.50) and then immersion-blend: The texture is unbeatable. For the frozen Pornstar Martini we did this week, combine 2 ounces of vodka (I like Tito’s), a scant 1 ounce fresh lime juice, a scant 1 ounce passionfruit syrup, a scant 1.5 ounces vanilla syrup, and a scant 1.25 ounces sparkling rosé in a blender with approximately 3/4 cup crushed ice. Blend until smooth and garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel.” — Laura Newman, Owner, Queen’s Park, Birmingham, Ala.
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“The best frozen cocktail you can make at home is a blended strawberry Daiquiri. Be careful with your ice-to-booze ratio! I like this drink because it’s a little easier to get the texture right. When there is too much alcohol, it becomes more difficult to get that perfect blended texture. If you’re in Oregon like I am, definitely take advantage of Oregon’s famed Mount Hood strawberries in this mixture.” — Lydia McLuen, Bar Manager, Dóttir, Portland, Ore.
“My favorite frozen cocktail is the Southside. I blend ice, 2 ounces Tod & Vixen’s Dry Gin 1651 from The Vale Fox Distillery in New York, 1 ounce of fresh lime juice, then instead of simple syrup, I use an elderflower syrup. It’s simple and delicious!” — Ektoras Binikos, Beverage Director/Co-Owner, Sugar Monk, NYC
“The Doña Colada, made with Doña Vega Mezcal, is my absolute favorite frozen cocktail to make at home. When I think of frozen drinks, I immediately think of Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain. However, while extremely refreshing if you’re laying on a beach in the tropics, they’re incredibly sweet. … The Doña Colada is a much better option in so many ways. Coconut water is used instead of [coconut cream], which lessens the amount of sugar and richness. Pineapple is replaced with banana, which also mellows out the sweetness and gives it a nice density. Then on top of that, you have layers of spice, warmth, and subtle smoke, which really take the drink to the next level. (Recipe: 1.5 ounces Doña Vega mezcal, 0.5 ounce Ancho Reyes, 1 ounce coconut water, half a banana, 0.25 ounce agave syrup, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Blend all ingredients with 1 cup of ice until pureed).” — Deena Sayers, Bar and Beverage Consultant, Drinks by Deena