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How to Rock Frozen Drinks

A great frozen daiquiri isn't just a matter of throwing it in a blender with some ice.
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In the summer when the heat goes from hot to sweltering, just shaking a cocktail with ice isn't enough. Blender drinks may have garnered a bad rap at the hands of synthetic premixes and slushy machines, but if you use fresh ingredients and keep them balanced, they can be incredible. There are a few quirks to doing them right. A great frozen daiquiri isn't just a matter of throwing it in a blender with some ice. Here's what you need to know to take your favorite cocktails, and make them frozen like a boss:

Ice Should Be Measured
When shaking or stirring a cocktail with ice, you can control the amount of chilling and dilution by straining the cocktail off the ice and into a glass. With frozen drinks all of the ice gets ground up into the cocktail, which generates a whole lot more dilution. To keep everything in balance, ice should be measured like everything else. I've found that the sweet spot is around 1 1/4 cups of ice per drink, or what I call a "heavy" cup.

Bump Up Non-Booze Ingredients
To combat this added dilution you need to increase the flavors in the drink so it doesn't taste too watery, without increasing the booze - which is never wise. The citrus, sweetener and any other fresh fruits are all fair game. Use about twice as much as you normally would. But...


Add a Little More Sugar than Citrus

Somehow when drinks are very cold or very hot, they tend to skew on the tart side. Not being a chemist, I don't know exactly why this is the case. But, being a bartender, I know that it's true. So you'll want to increase the sugar a bit more than the citrus.

Use Smaller Ice Cubes
They will be easier for the blender to tear up and give the drink a better consistency. The texture should be fine and smooth so you can sip it through a straw like a milkshake. Store-bought ice bags work quite well.

Keeping these techniques in mind, here's a comparison of a classic shaken daiquiri vs a frozen one:

Classic Daiquiri
  • 2 oz white rum
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
Method
  1. Combine ingredients in a shaker, fill with ice.
  2. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Frozen Daiquiri
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 ¼ oz lime juice
  • 1 ½ oz simple syrup
  • 1 heavy cup of ice
Method
  1. Combine everything in a blender.
  2. Blend for about 20 seconds.
  3. Pour into any stemmed glass.
MORE RECIPES:

Here are three delicious, crowd-pleasing frozen cocktails. Each will serve two, since frozen drinks are best enjoyed with a friend.

Frozen Watermelon Margarita
Watermelon just begs to be put into a frozen drink. The thick texture of the blended ice evokes the quenching sensation of sinking your teeth into a thick, juicy slice on a hot summer day. The key to this drink is the watermelon syrup, easy to make and so worth it.
2015-07-21-1437487353-8306032-frozenwatermelonmargarita.png

  • 1/2 cup blanco tequila
  • 1/2 cup watermelon syrup
  • 2 oz lime juice
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups ice
Method
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth, about 20 seconds.
  3. Pour into whatever vessel you like.
  4. Garnish with a watermelon slice.
Watermelon Syrup
  • 1 cup watermelon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar​​
Method
  1. To make watermelon juice, muddle a few chunks of watermelon until it's a soupy pulp and strain out the solids. Or use a juicer if you have one.
  2. Stir together the watermelon juice and sugar until dissolved, don't add any heat. Refrigerate.

Frozen Piña Colada
The Piña Colada is the ultimate frozen cocktail, if made well - a big if. I find traditional recipes - rum, pineapple coconut cream - to be way too sweet so I add a little lemon juice. Try to stay away from canned pineapple juice; fresh cubed is worlds better. However, with the coconut, I compromise on freshness a little. Coco Lopez, is a stabilized, sweetened coconut cream that comes in a can. You can make your own coconut cream with coconut milk, heavy cream and sugar, but for me, a Piña Colada just isn't the same unless it's made with Coco Lopez.
2015-07-21-1437488344-6750157-PiaColada.jpg

  • 1/2 cup white rum
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • Juice of 1 lemon, about 3/4oz
  • 1/3 cup Coco Lopez
  • 2 1/4 cups ice
Method
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth, about 20 seconds.
  3. Pour into whatever vessel you like.
  4. Garnish with a pineapple slice and leaf.

Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri
As you can see, this is just a traditional daiquiri with strawberries. Be aware, sometimes strawberries can be quite tart so a little extra sugar may be needed. The nice thing about frozen drinks is they are easily tweak-able. Not sweet enough, add a splash of simple syrup, too sweet, some citrus juice, and pulse once.
2015-07-21-1437487667-5712143-FrozenStrawberryDaiquiri.JPG

  • 1/2 cup white rum
  • 6-8 Strawberries, depending on size
  • 2 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz simple syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups ice
Method
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth, about 20 seconds.
  3. Pour into whatever vessel you like.
  4. Garnish with half a strawberry.

Cheers, and happy blending!