Maybe blender drinks aren't the most sophisticated cocktails, but once you're sipping something chilly enough to bring on the brain freeze, do you really care? When the sun is blazing and there's nowhere to escape, a frozen drink is pretty much impossible to beat. But you don't have to turn to super-sweet mixes that come in a plastic bottle; you can do much better with fresh ingredients you put together at home. Here are six chilly recipes we love.
Frozen Piña Colada
I have a soft spot for piña coladas: perhaps they remind me of the best vacation I ever took (in college, with my a cappella singing group, and I'm pretty sure our resort-bar performances were paid for in drink tickets.) But perhaps it's just because they're undeniably delicious: rich, boozy, dessert in a glass. If you can't make it somewhere tropical, you can still kick back near the kiddie pool with one of these, and it's almost a vacation.
Sake Melon Slush
Part frozen cocktail, part palate-cleanser, this sake snowcone is made with ripe cantaloupe, fresh lime, and a little spicy ginger. The mix isn't too high in alcohol, so it would make an especially nice accompaniment to an outdoor summer brunch.
Frozen Lime Margaritas
This is the best recipe we know for frozen margaritas: tart, refreshing, cooling, and easy to make ahead. The secret: placing your homemade margarita 'mix' in the freezer overnight. Try to use decent tequila here; we recommend seeking out Tapatio, which was recently introduced in the US. It's a steal at around $34 for a liter bottle.
Whiskey Sour Slushy
This classy frozen drink has a layer of rich red wine syrup in the bottom of the glass. On top: a tart and tangy bourbon (or rye) sour, churned in the ice cream maker for an even slush. Feel free to stir in a little extra whiskey when you're serving, or try this recipe with gin or rum, swapping the lemons out for limes.
Strawberry Watermelon Summer Slush
Watermelon is a go-to for summer, and here it makes an appearance in an extra-refreshing booze-free slush, with added flavor from strawberries and a little fresh-squeezed citrus. If you wanted to add alcohol, you could blend this up with a splash of gin.
Bourbon and Grapefruit Slushito
Frozen cocktails get as fancy as any mixologist could make them in this homemade concoction featuring chamomile infused bourbon, fresh lemon and grapefruit, and a little nutty sherry. Don't worry, even if chamomile infused bourbon sounds complex, it's super-easy to make: you just dump some chamomile tea in some bourbon and let it sit overnight.
Do you make frozen drinks at home? What's your specialty?