Updated: May 21, 2021
Most photos by Alexandra Grablewski. Some photos by Liquid Architecture.
Frozen drinks are on FIRE! Long gone are the typical frozen fare of pina coladas and margaritas, now there are variations from Boulevardiers to Gin & Tonics to the new modern classic, the Froze!
Frozen drinks can be a gateway into getting guests to try more things. For example, non-whiskey drinkers are probably not going to order a Manhattan or Boulevardier. But, a frozen twist makes it much more approachable and fun. Could be a great way to introduce people to spirits like rye whiskey, scotch, gin, cachaca and even grappa!
If you’re considering adding (or expanding) your frozen drink selections, here are a few things to consider …
Frozen Drink Machine vs. Blender
The drink formulas for each one are a little different. One freezes the drink in it’s entirety, so it will need to be pre-diluted. The other, adds ice (a form of dilution). Frozen drink machines are super convenient, but take up a lot of space, so I would only recommend them if you have the space and are anticipating high volume. Blenders are great, but drinks can only be made one or two at a time. If you do opt for a blender, I recommend getting one with a cover that closes over it to dampen the noise.
Sweetness level becomes a little distorted when frozen or blended. If one takes the recipe for a Margarita, for example, and just throws it in a blender with some ice, it’s going to be over-diluted and taste a little weak. In a blender the amount of ice needed varies depending on the desired texture. Sippable with a crunch? Thick and slushy? Creamy? Adding additional sugar usually carries the flavors through the ice, hence, a thick frozen drink made in a blender requires more sugar.
For Frozen drinks in a machine using a "scratch" recipe, I would recommend purchasing a brixometer to keep the contents consistent. If a bartender or prep person doesn’t measure that accurately, the entire batch can be thrown off. (A brixometer is a small device that can accurately measure the sugar level.)
Frozen Drink Mixes
There are a few frozen drink mixes that make some pretty decent drinks. Kelvin Slush Co is one of my favorites. It’s an all-organic mix that make it a breeze – it’s a 1-2-3 step process and voila! your machine mix is ready to go. They make several different mixes including a Froze, a Ginger mix and my personal favorite, an tea mix that makes a killer frozen tea!
Bar Fresh in another frozen drink mix that specializes in Sugar Free mixes like “Green Watermelon” and “Strawberry Banana”.
And, companies like Monin, Perfect Puree and Finest Call, all make purees and syrups that are great for frozen drinks and allow flexibility in creating your own recipes, both simple and complex.
Frozen Blood Orange Boulevardier
1 oz Woodford Reserve bourbon
1 oz Campari
1 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Monin Blood Orange Puree
Combine all the ingredients in a blender cup with 1 cup of ice. Blend on HIGH until smooth.