In Defense of Blender Cocktails

Contributed by

Ask for a frozen Daiquiri or a Piña Colada in a fine cocktail bar and you’ll most likely get a dirty look or a lecture on why these drinks have been banished from the menu. But in fact, not that long ago, every great bar had a blender.

Fred Osius is often credited as the father of the blender. Not only did he perfect the technology, but he also convinced celebrity Fred Waring to invest in his company. Their first product, the Miracle Mixer, came out in 1937. A year later, after a marketing campaign that would put George Foreman to shame, there were, according to the company, 35,000 Waring blenders in restaurants, hotels, clubs and bars across the nation.

While the machines were used to crush and mix all types of things, they were particularly good for making frosty drinks. Don the Beachcomber, who opened the world’s first tiki bar in 1933 in Los Angeles, was a big fan, and before World War II, Waring partnered with rum brand Ron Rico to promote the frozen Daiquiri. Drinkers across America were soon sipping chilly concoctions.

But over the last 50 years, blended drinks slowly began to disappear from high-end establishments and became synonymous with cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts and cheap joints in Las Vegas and New Orleans.

Thanks to a few new brave bars and a resurgence of interest in tiki cocktails, the blender might just get a second chance. And it’s time for bartenders to once again embrace this forgotten bar tool and create cocktails that even the haughtiest of gourmets will appreciate. “Classic blended drinks can be serious drinks,” says Giuseppe Gonzalez, who recently opened Painkiller on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with his best friend Richie Boccato. “We want to serve good drinks in a fun way and in a fun atmosphere.”

Long live blended cocktails!

Painkiller Piña Colada

Contributed by Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richie Boccato


  • 1.5 oz Aged Puerto Rican rum
  • 1.5 oz Pineapple juice
  • 1.5 oz Coconut cream
  • 2 Pineapple chunks
  • 6 to 10 Ice cubes
  • Garnish: Shredded coconut
  • Glass: Cored pineapple or Hurricane


Add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a cored pineapple or Hurricane glass. Garnish with shredded coconut.

Strawberry Daiquiri

Contributed by Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richie Boccato


  • 1.5 oz Aged Puerto Rican or Jamaican rum
  • .75 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
  • 1 Strawberry
  • 6 to 10 Ice cubes
  • Garnish: Lime wheel and strawberry
  • Glass: Margarita or wine goblet


Add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a Margarita glass or wine goblet. Garnish with a lime wheel and a strawberry.


Simon Ford is an award-winning bartender and director of trade outreach and brand education for Pernod Ricard USA. He is also a advisor.

Locations: 501 New York
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  • Shawn Vergara posted 7 years ago

    We've been doing blended Pina Colads, Margarit's and other drinks, since we opened in San Francisco, on July 23, 2009. People come in specifically because we have them. It's our niche market since many other places do not. I've always loved the idea of doing blended drinks. It's like a vacation in a glass.


  • UtahMixologist posted 7 years ago

    Great post, but you didn't mention one of the real advantages of blended drinks: slowing down your rate of intake. I love Margaritas, and I almost always blend them. They just go down too easy (and too fast) if I don't. There's nothing quite like a dose of brain-freeze to slow down your drinking.

    The "PAINKILLER PIÑA COLADA" sounds yummy, I'll have to give it a try.

    -The Utah Mixologist

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