Move over, frosé.
The cocktail world is in the midst of a full-on frozen drink renaissance. Once upon a time, slushy cocktails were looked down upon, with some justification; the frozen daiquiris and margs of years past were often made from corn syrup-filled mixes and bottom-shelf spirits.
But why shouldn’t we give frozen cocktails more love? They’re one of your best bets for a party, since you can whizz up six or eight drinks at a time. They’re almost universally appealing. And let’s be honest: They’re delicious. It’s July, why shouldn’t you be drinking something slushy?
In honor of the upcoming holiday, here are six of our all-time favorite frozen drink recipes, from spicy-icy margaritas to juicy frozemonade and a slightly unorthodox julep. Grab the blender, get the ice ready, and garnish with cocktail umbrellas to your heart’s content.
Here’s a great way to invent a frozen cocktail: Wait until it’s 104 degrees out, take a glance at a well-stocked liquor cabinet, and think, What do WE want to drink right now? Start with gin, the ultimate spirit of summer; add light, dry fino sherry and lots of lemon, with a hint of Giffard’s amazing wild elderflower liqueur. Hands-down our drink of the season.
Instructions (makes 4-6, scale up as needed): In a blender with eight cups of ice, combine 6 ounces gin (we’re using Plymouth), 4 ounces fino sherry, 3 ounces fresh lemon juice, 2 ounces elderflower liqueur, and 3 ounces honey syrup (that’s just honey cut with an equal part of hot water, stirred until dissolved). Blend until smooth and slushy, then pour into big glasses. Garnish with a lemon wheel and maybe some straws and umbrellas.
Like the rest of the drinking universe, we love a good frosé. And we think it’s best as “Frozémonade,” a term first coined by the bar Extra Fancy in Brooklyn — rosé and lemonade, blended together with ice, just as slushy and refreshing as it sounds. Easy to make, and delicious with just about anything poured on top, whether vodka or rum, Campari, Montenegro, this cool gentian amaro — the choice is yours.
Instructions (makes 6, scale up as needed): In a blender with six cups of ice, combine a bottle of rosé, 6 ounces simple syrup, and 4.5 ounces fresh lemon juice. Blend until smooth and slushy, then pour into big glasses. Top each one with an ounce of whatever spirit or amaro suits your fancy, or leave unadorned for a much lighter drink. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Frozen absinthe? Sounds a little scary, but don’t worry: there’s plenty of light, dry white wine in this drink, a juicy and refreshing base that lets absinthe’s distinctive, powerful flavor shine through. Far more refreshing than we ever thought absinthe would be.
Instructions (makes 4-6, scale up as needed): In a blender, combine 12 ounces of a light white wine like a Vinho Verde, 4 ounces of absinthe, 3 ounces of fresh lemon juice, 2 ounces of honey, and six cups of ice. Blend all that up until slushy; you may need to add more ice. Pour into glasses and garnish with umbrellas and straws and maybe a lemon slice
Spicy margaritas have never been more popular; frozen spicy margaritas, we think, are even better, ice-cold and slushy to counteract that heat. Don’t forget to remove the seeds from the jalapeño, since we don’t want to give the drink too much heat.
Instructions (makes 4-6, scale up as needed): To your blender add six cups of ice, 8 ounces blanco tequila, 4 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1.5 ounces of light agave, and half a seedless cucumber. Add one jalapeño pepper, de-stemmed and seeded. Blend it all up. Pour into glasses and garnish with a cucumber slice and jalapeño slice.
The best frozen Negronis are just as bracingly bitter as normal Negronis; we happen to think that bitterness makes them all the more refreshing. We like to up the gin from the standard 1:1:1 recipe, because a little more gin never hurt a good drink.
Instructions (makes 4-6, scale up as needed): In a blender, combine 6 ounces of gin, 4 ounces of Campari, 4 ounces of sweet vermouth, and six cups of ice. Blend all that up until slushy. Pour into glasses and garnish with umbrellas and straws, if you like.
We know, we know, true mint juleps require a julep cup and some muddled mint. But bourbon, mint, and sugar are delicious together, however you combine ‘em, and whirling these frozen “juleps” up in a blender is quick and easy.
Instructions (makes 4-6, scale up as needed): In a blender, combine 9 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon, 2-1/4 ounces simple syrup, and 90 mint leaves (that’s 16 grams if you want to weigh it; or just a cup of loosely packed clean leaves). Fill the blender with six cups of ice, then blend until very slushy. Pour into glasses, and garnish with three mint sprigs, tapped against your hand to release their aromatic oils. Add a straw and serve.