Let’s be honest—it’s hard to resist a boozy slushie. And though we haven’t quite tired of ubiquitous Frosé, there are other blended beauties out there waiting to be discovered. From an Aperol-inflected slushie to a rosé amped up with basil and overproof rum, these six bars and restaurants are serving unique frozen cocktails that will keep you cool this summer.
Can't make it out to any of the bars serving these great frozen drinks? Try mixing a Pink Frozen Margarita at home.
The 1960s and ’70s shine in the form of Sputnik lamps, ’70s-style plateware, fondue, pigs in a blanket and cool golds and blues at the Mission’s new Beehive. Bar manager Milo Salehi’s playful drinks lean tropical and refreshing. The tart house Tang slushie is hard to resist, given structure from Beluga vodka and manzanilla sherry. But our favorite frozen drink on the menu is the rosy Quimbara. Santa Teresa 1796 rum turns vibrant pink with guava juice and bitter from a whisper of Aperol and acidic lime. It’s bold, lively and ideal for summer.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a dreamier dining space than Chicago’s Beatnik, taking inspiration from 1950s bohemia. As Bonhomme Hospitality Group readies to open a second Beatnik on Lake Michigan, chef Marcos Campos serves food that calls on Morocco, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Spain and beyond in the original West Town location. Benjamin Wood’s cocktails drink easy but are layered with unexpected turns in ingredients like sesame and turmeric. The Freezin’ My Nuts Off is an irresistible frozen drink of rye whiskey, amontillado sherry, raspberry, lemon and ginger, given nutty intrigue from Frangelico hazelnut liqueur.
Feast BBQ in Louisville’s hip NuLu ’hood often has a line out the door for its heartwarming barbecue—we especially love its ribs and collard greens, but you’ll do right by the pulled pork and brisket, too. On hot summer days, its bourbon slushie cools, offered in two sizes and served in a Mason jar with a wide straw for easy sipping. Look for rotating variations like chocolate-covered cherry or a Mint Julep bourbon slushie for the Derby. There’s also an Ale-8-One (aka Ale-8) bourbon slushie made with the popular Kentucky ginger citrus soda, a classic soda since Prohibition.
The first U.S. restaurant from Peru’s great Gastón Acurio, La Mar, is turning 10 years old this September. With its bay views, waterside back deck and airy dining room, it feels like a Peruvian vacation in San Francisco year round. It recently launched Peruvian Sundays with new dishes and drinks, included liquid nitrogen frozen cocktails served all week long. As you savor platters of tiradito (Peruvian sashimi/crudo), the Spiked Punch is made with Absolut Elyx vodka, turning tart and fresh with orange, passion fruit and mint. But it’s the minty-bitter whispers of Fernet-Branca and nutty-sweet crème de noyaux that make this frozen cocktail sing.
Logan Square’s Estereo is a favorite industry hangout for a laid-back but festive vibe and weekly changing cocktails listed by spirit or category. Ben Fasman and Michael Rubel do right by ever-changing frozen cocktails that go down easy but please the cocktail/spirits geek, Take, for example, their funky and refreshing frozen drink of Avuá and Ypîoca cachaças, Paranubes aguardiente de caña rum, kiwi, lime and fruta bomba bitters. Alongside these frozen beauties, the house classic, served in a marked plastic cup, is the Breezy. Choose your favorite spirit, and the bartenders mix it with yerba mate, falernum, lime and bubbles.
Agricole Hospitality’s Night Heron opened early in 2018 appealing to its Houston Montrose neighborhood with drinks and dishes inspired by the travels of owners Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber. Frosés are everywhere, to be sure, but as an ideal summer drink, Weber explains their version recalls a dessert he once had traveling that was made of macerated strawberries, lemon sorbet, basil and a rum sauce and served with a cinnamon and sugar-dusted, grilled tortilla. The bar’s drink has Provencal rosé, brut Champagne, strawberry purée, basil syrup and lemon, blended and fortified with a touch of overproof rum (minus the tortilla).