You can’t deny the joy of a brain-freeze inducing cocktail on a hot summer’s day.
When the temperatures rise and we find ourselves craving something sweet, we see no reason why you can’t spend your afternoon mixing it up with some tasty slush from the comfort of your own home.
That being said, we all know it’s not as simple as just throwing your favourite cocktail mix into the blender and pushing a button. There are a few tricks to making a great frozen drink and we’re here to show you how it’s done.
First off, the most important thing you need to know is this: shaken drink recipes will not work in a blender, so don’t even try. There is an intricate balance that needs to be achieved between the amount of ice, alcohol, sugar, and acidity. If everything comes together as it should, you’ll end up with a drink that is actually colder than ice. This is achieved by suspending a combination of sugar, alcohol, and flavour molecules within the tiny ice crystals. When done correctly, you get a great slushy texture, bursting with flavour. Get it wrong, and you’ll get a watered-down mess of chunky, flavoured ice.
Equally as important when concocting a blended drink, is perfecting the sweet to sour ratios. Frozen drinks will not only give you brain freeze, but they’ll actually dull your taste buds as well. Feel a bit cheated? Don’t worry, the perception of sweetness may be dulled, but your perception of acidity stays the same. This means that we need to adjust the sweet to sour balance in our frozen cocktails by increasing the sugars. A typical Margarita or Daiquiri recipe will be roughly 2-parts spirits, 1-part sugar, 1-part lemon or lime juice. For a frozen drink, you will want to increase the sugar by about 50%.
Next, it’s important to keep in mind that a blender is extremely efficient at dilution, which is why a typical shaken drink recipe will give you a watered-down drink if you just try and throw it into a blender with a bunch of ice. This may be stating the obvious but remember, ice is frozen water. Breaking it down will inevitably add some water into your mix. That extra water will not only dilute your flavour, it can also freeze into bigger chunks of ice and destroy your texture. No one wants that.
Finally, alcohol lowers the freezing point of water. That means if you use too much alcohol your drink won’t freeze, leaving you with a runny mess. However, if you add too little alcohol, you have the opposite effect where your drink becomes a block of ice. You are shooting for a total alcohol by volume (ABV) of about 10%–14%. So, if you are using a spirit with around 40% ABV, like most rums, tequilas, gin and vodka, you will need a ratio of 1-ounce spirit for every 3 ounces of mix.
Put all of that together and you get a formula that looks something like this:
- 2 ¼ oz spirits at 40% ABV
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ ounce lemon or lime juice
- 4 ounces ice - ice cube trays generally make one-ounce cubes
- Generous pinch of salt to bump up the flavour and keep things cold.
- Dissolve the sugar in the alcohol before adding it to the ice-filled blender – you’ll get better results
- Adding a dash of bitters to a sour drink will step it up to the next level! Angostura or orange bitters are always a great choice
- Blenders can vary in size so make sure to check the volume of your blender and compare it to your recipe
- Depending on your ice cube trays, you’ll likely need 1 ½–2 trays of ice to fill a blender
Frozen Blackberry Bramble
Blackberries are in season and we’re taking full advantage by bringing you the perfect blended cocktail featuring a sweet blackberry flavour that tastes like a warm, summer Vancouver Island day.
Pitcher Perfect Frozen Margaritas
The perfect frozen cocktail for a summer patio! Pair it with chips and guacamole and you’ll feel just like you’re sitting on a sandy beach in Mexico. Well, almost!