10 Tips for Making Frozen Drinks
Is there anything like a frozen drink to help keep you cool when the sun's beating down? Here are our top tips for making margaritas, daiquiris and other frozen sippers.
Invest in a Strong Blender
The secret to great frozen drinks starts with a good, strong blender to blitz all those ingredients (especially the ice). But strong doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. There are plenty of powerful blenders that won’t break the bank.
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Crushed Ice is Your Friend
You’ll want to opt for crushed ice when whipping up frozen cocktails. Crushed ice blends more easily and will give you that ideal thick, slushy consistency. Using larger cubes can damage your blender, so if that’s all you have on hand, wrap them in a clean towel and bash them with a rolling pin first.
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Frozen Fruit for Frozen Drinks
When it comes to flavor, fresh fruit beats frozen any day of the week. However, slushy connoisseurs will know that frozen cocktails made with frozen fruit yield a thicker texture. The trick? Freeze fresh fruit yourself. You’ll make the most of what’s in season and achieve that killer slushy texture.
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Use Simple Syrup Instead of Sugar
When your frozen daiquiri recipe calls for a little sweetener, it’s time to bust out the saucepan and make a batch of simple syrup. Regular sugar will never blend properly into your frozen tipples, which is why simple syrup is the gold standard for adding sweetness to cold drinks.
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Use a Thick Sweetener
If you’re worried about making a watery frozen margarita, sweeten with honey or agave nectar. Either of these natural sweeteners will give your frozen cocktails a thicker texture.
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Blend Low to High
Start slow with a few quick blitzes to begin the blending process and break down the ingredients. From there, set your blender to low, then step up to high. This will stop you from over-blending and give you the best-ever texture while protecting your blender.
Learn to Layer
Liquids first, followed by frozen fruit and, last but not least, ice. Adding the ice last gives you control over how much winds up in your frozen cocktail. Be conservative with how much ice you toss into the blender—you can always add more to make it less thick, but working back from a watery drink is a bit harder.
The proper slushy texture for frozen drinks is elusive. But working entirely with chilled and frozen ingredients will help. Keep that booze on ice, freeze your fruit, pop any other ingredients in the fridge and don’t forget to chill your glasses.
Balance the Booze
You want to be able to taste whatever alcohol you’re mixing into your boozy slushy, but finding that sweet spot is essential. Too much alcohol can make your cocktail watery (even if you chill it down first), while too little defeats the purpose. Most recipes call for about 2 to 3 ounces. Stay in that range and you should be fine.
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OK, so we all love a frozen margarita or daiquiri, but why limit yourself? Try making frozen versions of your favorite classic cocktails. Mojitos, Moscow mules, old-fashioneds—you get the idea. Personally, a frozen white Russian tops my list!