The Basics Tips & Tricks

5 Tips for Making the Best Blender Drinks

Frohito Image: / Tim Nusog

Hot enough for you? With scorching temperatures across the country, it’s time to pull out the blender and fix frosty cocktails. To help you chill down quickly, we got tropical-mixology expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, author of five books on tiki drinks, history and culture, to share some of his secrets for making frozen concoctions, along with two of his own original recipes.

Blend with Finesse

To make an adult slushie like the Piña Colada, you’ll need a lot of ice and to blend for a while. But you can also flash-blend by using less ice and pulsing just long enough to aerate the liquid. “You’ll get a really nice frothy head,” says Berry.

Ice Matters—a Lot

“The worst sin is just filling the blender with ice without regard to how much other ingredients are in there,” says Berry. Generally, you want twice as much ice as everything else.

Ice shape is also very important, since oversized cubes “will kill your blender.” So, when flash-blending, go with crushed ice that will break up easily. For thicker cocktails, use small cubes or chips, which pulverize into slush.

Fresh Is Best

Just like when shaking a classic, you should avoid canned and frozen ingredients. “In a bad blender drink, you’ll just get freezer burn,” says Berry. He loves using fresh pineapple—you can even substitute it for juice—but most any fruit will work. However, steer clear of raspberries: “The tiny seeds get stuck in your teeth.”

Don't Splurge on a Blender

Unless you’re opening a bar, “you should not be spending a fortune on a blender,” says Berry, who has been using the same machine for 25 years. “It’s the regular Osterizer you can get at Target.” No matter what model you own, you should always run it on the highest-speed setting when fixing cocktails.

Garnish with Flair

Sure, you can use a piece of the fruit featured in a slushy recipe as a garnish: “It harmonizes with the drink and gives you an added aroma,” Berry says. But to be more creative, he likes a floating, flaming lime shell. Scrape the pulp out of a juiced lime half and add some toasted bread. Douse with lemon extract and set alight. Just don’t forget to have a fire extinguisher handy.