How to Make the Best Frozen Drinks

You probably don't need as much ice as you think.

Frozen drinks are a summertime staple, whether you're whipping up frozen lemonade, fruity smoothies, or a frosty margarita. In this new episode of The Best Way, associate food editor Kelsey Youngman shares her pointers for making perfectly blended, perfectly creamy frozen drinks. She covers everything from the ideal way to add ingredients to the blender (hint: ice goes last) to cleaning it when you're all done.

It’s all about layering

Kelsey starts off by explaining the best way to layer ingredients in your blender for the "smoothest, creamiest, most delicious frozen drinks every time." Start with your liquid at the bottom (it keeps the ingredients moving), followed by "anything green and fibrous, but lightweight" (e.g. kale or spinach). Then add the frozen fruit, and finally, ice.

Speaking of ice…

You'll want to use crushed ice as opposed to cubes, and you can crush it in the blender before you make your drink. How much you'll need depends on the recipe, but it's probably not as much as you think—you can always add more if you need to.

Blend lower, longer

Although it might be tempting to dump everything in the blender and quickly blitz it up so you can have your drink that much sooner, blending lower, longer is your best bet, a.k.a. using a lower power for a longer amount of time. It will allow the blades and liquid to create a vortex, and your drink will blend evenly. Blending higher, faster on the other hand, could actually overheat the blender and cause your drink to melt. (Watch out for this with high-powered blenders.) To see if your drink is blended to your satisfaction, open it (when the blender is turned off) and give it a slosh to check the consistency.

Use up extra fruit

If you have any extra fruit laying around—such as summer fruits like honeydew and mangoes—this is a great opportunity to use them up. Fresh fruit you freeze yourself and flash-frozen fruit are the best choices, Kelsey says.

Bonus: easy blender clean-up

When you need to wash your blender using the blender function, Kelsey recommends adding "enough water just to cover the blades and a drop of your dish soap." Then, after you've run it and it's clean, you'll be all set for next time.

Frozen drink recipes

Now that you're a pro, check out our frozen cocktail collection, which spans recipes from Frozen Salted Espresso Martinis to colorful Miami Vices. With 11 recipes to choose from, you'll have plenty to try this season.

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