From blenders to cocktail umbrellas, here’s the gear that’s set you up for a summer full of frozen drinks.

By Margaret Eby
May 21, 2020
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Summer is on the horizon, even if it’s gearing up to be a pretty weird one. The usual block parties, barbecues, and outdoor concerts are on hold. Beaches are a maybe; big gatherings are a no. But one thing that’s still on track to help ease the summer heat are frozen drinks. You can enjoy one in your backyard, or on a balcony or fire escape. You can go for a classic frozen cocktail or make up one all your own. No matter where you’re spending the summer months, with a few pieces of equipment and a healthy bar selection, you’ll be set to make frozen drinks all summer long. Here are a few things that’ll make those drinks that much better.

A Good Blender

Bed Bath and Beyond

If you like frozen drinks or regularly drink smoothies, a serious blender is your best tool. If you’re looking to splash out, a Vitamix is the king of blenders. It easily handles blocks of ice, as well as any other ingredients you want to throw at it. The only downside is that they’re pricey, aaand if you only use a blender occasionally, it might not make sense for your kitchen budget to invest in something top-of-the-line. In that case, something like the Kitchenaid 5-speed blender, which clocks in at under $100, will make you frosty frozen margaritas, too. 

KitchenAid 5-Speed Classic Blender, $100 at amazon.com or bedbathandbeyond.com

Fun Glassware

Target

Part of the joy of frozen drinks is that they’re a summery, special occasion thing. They’re meant to be not just tasty, but also fun. Why not add to that element by putting them in some zany glassware? Like, for example, these tiki mugs shaped like the stars of The Golden Girls. Or this plastic tumbler with a shark built into the lid? Or this classy rose gold pineapple cup, with a lid that doubles as a holder for the cup?

Ice Cube Trays

Bed Bath & Beyond

If you don’t have an ice maker in your fridge—and honestly, even if you do—having a  few back-up trays of ice cubes is never unwelcome. These no-spill versions from OXO let you take out a handful of cubes at a time without dumping the whole tray out. If you prefer tiny cubes rather than crushed ice, or your blender has a hard time crushing big chunks of ice, this tray makes 160 teeny, perfect cubes.

OXO Good Grips No-Spill Ice Cube Tray, $10 at amazon.com or target.com

Houdini Ice Cube Tray, $6 at target.com

An Ice Machine

Sur La Table

Then again, if you’re really serious about frozen drinks, it might be worth investing in a standalone portable ice maker, which can churn out way more ice than a few trays worth, and can be packed up and brought along in an RV or boat. This one runs under $150 and will keep you well supplied wherever you end up.

Stainless Steel Ice Maker, $149 at surlatable.com

Slush Machine

If you’re a dedicated frozen drink person and you want something that’s more along the lines of pushing a button for an instant margarita, pina colada, or daiquiri, you should consider a shaved ice or slush machine for maximum vacation house vibes. This one holds 64 ounces of frozen drink—that’s a lot of margaritas!

Nostalgia Electrics 64-oz. Margarita & Slush Maker, $69 at amazon.com or kohls.com

Fancy Reusable Straws

Urban Outfitters

Straws aren’t good for the environment, but they’re crucial in a frozen drink situation, since attempting to drink straight from the glass can leave you with an icey mess on your face. Opt for a fun reusable number, like these metal straws that come with their own storage pouch and  a handle tool to clean them with. If you want something more colorful, these pretty glass straws are another good option

Stainless Steel Reusable Straw Set, $10 at urbanoutfitters.com

Glass Straw Set, $16 at urbanoutfitters.com

Cocktail Umbrellas

Urban Outfitters

Another way to make your frozen drink look great? A classic cocktail umbrella. Keeping a few of these around is a cheap, easy way to turn a cocktail into a fancy cocktail. These holographic ones have a cool, futuristic look, and these tiny striped ones look just like mini beach parasols. 

Holographic or Gold Cocktail Umbrella Set, $15 at urbanoutfitters.com

50-count Striped Drink Umbrella, $5 at target.com