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.
HART OF DARKNESS
- .25 oz Fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz Fresh lime juice
- .5 oz Passion fruit syrup
- .5 oz Honey syrup (one part honey, one part water)
- .75 oz Club soda
- 1.5 oz Lemon Hart 151-Proof Demerara Rum
- 8 oz (1 cup) Crushed ice
Glass: Tall or tiki mug
Add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend at high speed for 3 seconds. Pour into a tall glass or tiki mug and add ice cubes to fill.
- 1 oz Mint Syrup*
- 4 oz Light Virgin Islands rum
- 1 oz Fresh lime juice
- 18 oz (2.25 cups) Crushed ice
Garnish: Mint sprig
Add .25 ounce of the Mint Syrup to each of two chilled cocktail glasses and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until a uniform frappé consistency. Divide the mixture evenly between the two glasses and top each with an additional .25 ounce of the Mint Syrup. Garnish each glass with a mint sprig.
- 1 cup Fresh mint leaves, tightly packed
- 3 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
Bring a small saucepan half-full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the mint and blanch until wilted and bright green, about 5 seconds. Strain and add to a blender with the simple syrup. Blend until thoroughly liquefied and strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing firmly to extract all the liquid. Refrigerate before using. (Recipe yields about 3 ounces, enough for 6 drinks.)