The Basics Drinking Out

Sensational Frozen Cocktails: The 11 You Should Be Drinking in American Bars Now

Image: Robert Malmberg

Hear that? It’s the collective whir of blenders yielding pitchers full of fabulous frozen drinks—the sound of summer. Yes, we’ve officially entered the season when “on the rocks” just won’t cut it and blender drinks are the way to go. Find a rooftop bar, backyard, garden or patio. These 11 frozen cocktails from bartenders nationwide are the adult slushies you’ll be drinking all summer long.

Can't make it to any of the bars serving these great frozen drinks? Try making a Frozen Margarita at home.

  • Frozen Daiquiri (The Lately, New York City)

    Ethan Covey

    Grant Wheeler, the beverage director at Den Hospitality, came up with this frozen version of the ever-popular Daiquiri. This one is made with Brugal extra dry rum, sugar, fresh lime juice and a watermelon and beet root shrub, which gives the drink its vibrant color, and is topped with matcha powder for extra depth.

  • Kishu Mandarin Frosé (Kindred, Davidson, N.C.)

    Kindred general manager Blake Pope may have jumped on the frosé train, but he gave his version a citrusy update. Made with rosé, Amaro Montenegro, simple syrup, and kishu mandarin and lemon juice, the mixture is combined, whisked, frozen overnight and then mixed to a slushy consistency and topped with fresh mint.

  • Queretaro (Arbella, Chicago)

    Kailley Lindman

    At Arbella, in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, head bartender Eric Trousdale’s frozen creation riffs on the classic Margarita. Named for a summer treat sold on the streets of Queretaro, Mexico, the Queretaro is made with tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice and frozen to order with liquid nitrogen, then topped with a red wine float, rather than the traditional lime sorbet used in a liquid-nitrogen Frozen Margarita. The dryness of the red wine, says Trousdale, offsets the acidity of the Margarita.

  • Rosy Red Bourbon Punch (Copper Lounge, InterContinental Los Angeles)

    InterContinental Los Angeles’ new Copper Lounge, a bar tucked away in the hotel’s lobby, was named for and inspired by copper whiskey stills. It’s no surprise then, with the focus on whiskey, that its frozen punch is made with Kentucky bourbon. In the blended Rosy Red Bourbon Punch, you’ll find Buffalo Trace bourbon, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, strawberry, ginger, rosemary stems, and white cranberry, pineapple and red currant juices.

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  • Blossoms (The Bar, Grace Vanderbilt, Newport, R.I.)

    Gilded Age vibes are aplenty at this Newport mansion turned boutique luxury hotel where bartender Christina Mercado created the Blossoms, a popular cocktail for warm New England summer afternoons and nights. Blended with Chivas Regal 12-year-old scotch, plum wine, apricot paste and fresh lemon juice, the cocktail is offered frozen or on the rocks.

  • Trouble (Pennyroyal, Seattle)

    A blended punch with an explosive presentation, the aptly named Trouble is made with Belvedere vodka, Aperol, wine syrup, simple syrup, and lime, grapefruit and cherry juices, plus five dashes of Angostura bitters. When all the ingredients are blended, the frozen mix is poured into a Volcano Bowl, garnished and lit on fire.

  • Navy Grog (Público, St. Louis)

    At St. Louis favorite Público, bartender Nick Digiovanni offers rotating frozen cocktails. Currently, it’s a Navy Grog—a combination of Jamaican, Cuban and demerara rums with grapefruit, lime and honey syrup.

    “I think it works so well because the blend of the three styles of rum all contribute their own character,” says Digiovanni. “The funk of Jamaican, the depth and richness of demerara and the dryness of Cuban rum balance well off of the acid of lime, bitter-sweetness of grapefruit and floral notes of honey.”

  • La Sandia (Azul, Westin Austin Downtown)

    For hot Texas days (and nights), Azul bartender Gerald Dubose wanted to create a frozen cocktail with a consistency that hovers between a Margarita and sorbet. La Sandia (Spanish for “watermelon”) is made with El Silencio mezcal, agave syrup, and lime and watermelon juices, then blended with ice and served in a frozen watermelon shell.

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  • Arctic Mule Slushy (Rustic Root, San Diego)

    Bartender and proclaimed “booze enchanter” Matt Hunter, of Rustic Root in San Diego’s Gaslamp District, has come up with the seasonal favorite Arctic Mule Slushy. This chillier version of the classic is made with the restaurant’s own proprietary blend of Russian vodka, plus bitters, ginger and mint, and is served frozen in a copper mule mug.

  • Creamsicle (Willa Jean, New Orleans)

    Willa Jean pastry chef Kelly Fields came up with this nostalgia-inducing frozen cocktail made with satsuma juice, whole milk, vanilla paste, granulated sugar and Cathead vodka.

    “The taste is just like the Creamsicle push-up pops we grew up on,” said Fields, who tops the drink with whipped Progress Farms buttermilk. “For me, it’s inspired by the nostalgia of those items, as well as the treats of Orange Julius growing up. I am always so inspired by the amazing citrus grown in this state each year, and extending creative opportunities to the bar is one of my favorite aspects of broadening my reach beyond desserts.”

  • Spring in Your Pants Slushy (Mother’s Ruin, New York City)

    Robert Malmberg

    Mother’s Ruin founder and bartender T.J. Lynch gets credit for the seasonally appropriate Spring in Your Pants Slushy. Despite it’s frozen consistency, it’s a refresher of a cocktail, made with Four Pillars Rare dry gin, Aperol, fresh mint and lemon, honey syrup and a few dashes Peychaud's bitters.