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The 19 best frozen drinks for impending heat waves

The heat is coming, are you ready? You will be with these 19 delicious frozen cocktail recipes

A toast with two Sure Sure cocktails
Crossroads Hotel

A good frozen drink is bliss served cold. From the snow cones and ICEEs of youth to the frigid cocktails of adulthood, these beverages serve a couple of major purposes. One, they take the sting out of a scalding day. Two, at least if you’re of age, they add a bit of playfulness to the cocktail circuit, not to mention a welcome buzz.

What is the secret to a good frozen drink?

For the record, you can make just about any drink into a frozen cocktail. You simply need good crushed ice (made at home or procured from a store — or even a fast food joint like Sonic) and, oftentimes, a little more sweetness to balance out the added water content. Remember, the ice is going to melt, meaning dilution will ensue.

Texture is another issue, and the smoothest drinks are made by way of a good blender. Make sure you have a solid model and start on a lower setting to begin with. You can always blend more, but once you’ve blended too much, you’re out of luck and missed your chance at that snow-like consistency.

Here are the 19 best frozen drinks to whip up in 2023.

Friesling

A Friesling frozen cocktail
Thief LES

This drink comes by way of Thief LES in NYC, concocted by the owner, John McNulty. Be sure to spear the frozen grapes for extra presentation points.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of Riesling
  • 4 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 6 ounces Kelvin’s Frose Blanc Base
  • 2 1/s ounces Rockey’s Botanicals
  • 6 ounces white grape juice
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice
  • 6 ounces water

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients with ice.
  2. Garnish with frozen grapes.

Kick Ass Colada

A Kick Ass Colada cocktail
Mercy Me

This drink is served at a pair of D.C. bars in Mercy Me and Yours Truly and combines caramelized pineapple with coconut, lime, rum, and more.

Caramelized Pineapple Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Ron Zacapa 23
  • 3/4 ounce Licor 43
  • 2 teaspoons salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 ripe pineapple

Method

  1. Skin, core, and cut a ripe pineapple into wedges.
  2. Preheat oven to 375. Place pineapple slices on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Stir together rum, licor 43, brown sugar, and butter in a saucepan on low heat.
  4. Brush rum mixture onto pineapples.
  5. Roast for 30 min or until pineapples caramelized. Set the pineapples to cool on a wire rack, then freeze in a quart container.

Cocktail Ingredients

  • 3 ounces white rum
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 cup frozen caramelized pineapple chunks
  • 3 ounces coconut cream
  • 2 ounces coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 unce simple syrup (1:1)
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • Pineapple slice
  • Lime wheel

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in Vitamix (makes two servings).
  2. Garnish with a lime wheel and pineapple slice.

Green Light

The Green Light cocktail
Little Palm

This frigid and satisfying number is the work of Eric Goodman, the beverage operations supervisor at Little Palm in South Carolina.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 ounces Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/2 ounce St. George Pear Brandy
  • 1/4 ounce Midori Melon Liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon Chareau Aloe Vera Liqueur
  • 3/4 ounces simple syrup
  • 3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh honeydew melon juice
  • 1 scoop (16 ounces) crushed ice

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Garnish with a cocktail parasol and dehydrated lime wheel.

Sure Sure (Cafe Colada #2)

The Sure Sure cocktail
Crossroads Hotel

This delightful sipper is brought to you by Shel Buhler, the brand director at Aparium Hotels.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Del Maguey Vida
  • 1 ounce Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 ounce coconut syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients together with ice.
  2. Garnish with a lime wheel.

The Bee’s Freeze

The Bee's Freeze cocktail
Liz Daly Photography

A spin on the classic Bee’s Knees cocktail, this frosty version incorporates one of our favorite gins and honey syrup, making it an excellent honey cocktail for those looking to use a sweetener other than simple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Barr Hill Gin
  • 1 1/2 ounces raw honey syrup (2 parts raw honey : 1 part hot water)
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup ice

Method

  1. Blend all the ingredients together.
  2. Garnish with dehydrated lemon.

Mint Julep Ice Cream Float

mint julep
Bhofack2/Getty Images

The julep jumps to mind when you think of a good frozen cocktail. And now, it’s a great time to mix one (or a few) up. It’s a cocktail that fares exceptionally with ice cream.

Ingredients

  • 2 scoops vanilla or mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 1 1/2 ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce mint honey syrup
  • Q Kola
  • Dark chocolate for garnish

Method

  1. Scoop ice cream into tall glass.
  2. Pour syrup and bourbon over ice cream and top with Q Kola.
  3. Garnish with paper straw, large mint sprig, and grated dark chocolate.

Twin Spires Slushy

The Twin Spires cocktail
Woodford Reserve

Mixing bourbon and flavors of mint and chocolate, this cocktail looks stunning and tastes lovely.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce white Crème de Cacao
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce Crème de Menthe
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  • Powdered sugar for garnish

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients except Crème de Menthe in cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake to chill and pour over crushed ice.
  3. Float Crème de Menthe on top of ice and garnish with mint bouquet and powdered sugar.

Jungle Bird

A Jungle Bird cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Jungle Bird cocktail is a beautiful tiki drink evocative of palm fronds and turquoise saltwater. The frozen incarnation of the drink is arguably its best form, setting its many flavors to a backdrop of snowy goodness. This recipe works great if you have an ice cream maker and even if you don’t, use a food processor or a mixer on a lower setting.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces dark rum
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 4 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 3 1/2 ounces water
  • 2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
  • Pineapple leaves and pineapple wedges for garnish

Method

  1. Bring pineapple juice, water, lime juice, and demerara sugar to boil over medium heat in saucepan.
  2. Stir until sugar dissolves and cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Add pineapple juice mixture, rum, and Campari to ice cream maker.
  4. Churn until slushy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Garnish with pineapple leaves and pineapple wedges.

Watermelon Ginger Margarita

Frozen Margarita
NA

We love Margaritas of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. The frozen riff is a classic within the category, and can be tweaked in any number of ways, whether it’s mezcal in place of tequila or the addition of fruits like mango or grapefruit. Below, you’ll find a few ultra-refreshing options

Ingredients

Method

  1. In a blender, add watermelon, lime juice, tequila and 6 ounces ginger ale (1/2 can).
  2. Blend until watermelon is incorporated.
  3. Add remaining ginger ale (ice if thicker consistency is preferred) and blend until smooth. Pour and serve.

Como Fresas Margarita

A frozen drink courtesy of Casa Dragones
Casa Dragones

This tasty take can be blended together with ice for a Slurpee-style beverage or done as is, with the clever and complementary addition of a like-minded popsicle. It’s created by Jose in Dallas.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Casa Dragones Blanco
  • 3/4 ounce agave nectar
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce fraise des bois
  • 4 fresh strawberries
  • Mint for garnish
  • Mini popsicle for garnish (frozen cucumber juice, lime juice, and tequila)
  • House-made “Miguelito” for rim

Method

  1. Muddle three strawberries with three mint leaves.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and shake, strain, and pour on the rocks.
  3. Garnish with mint, the remaining strawberry, and the cucumber, lime, and popsicle.

Mojito

A kiwi and hemp Mojito
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You can turn a Mojito into a frozen delight with relative ease, and to delicious results. This recipe from Bobby Flay is straightforward and highlights the ever-satisfying combo of mint, lime, and rum. It’ll take you poolside, if only mentally.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces white rum

Method

  1. Combine simple syrup, lime juice and mint leaves in a blender and blend until combined.
  2. Add the rum and crushed ice and blend until frothy.
  3. Pour into rocks glasses and garnish with mint sprigs.

Blush Slush

Froze Cocktail
Flickr/Ken Hawkins

Inspired by the Frosé, or frozen Rosé, this French adaptation utilizes the raspberry notes of Chambord. The cranberry and lemon juice add brightness round out the liqueur nicely. Try playing around with the pink wine you use to see what end of the spectrum you prefer. For something lighter, try a Provence-style Rosé. For more heft, opt for a bigger wine, like a heavier Rosé wine.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces Rosé (frozen)
  • 1 1/2 ounce Chambord
  • 1 ounce cranberry juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

Method

  1. Add ingredients into a blender with a handful of ice.
  2. Mix ingredients until ice is fully incorporated.
  3. Pour into a pretty glass, garnish with lemon peel, and serve.

Swizzles

A red swizzle drink
Alan Weiner

The swizzle is a tropical masterpiece, often hit with a generous amount of ice pellets, making it frigid and ready to best the hottest of days. Swizzling refers to churning the drink with your wand of choice. These three options are a great intro to the style, including the Queens Park Swizzle, a deeper, slightly richer and more nutty version of the tasty Mojito above.

High Sierra Swizzle

  • 1 1/2 ounces Source One Vodka 
  • 1 ounce orgeat
  • 3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce Shelter Distilling Passion Fruit Liqueur (or similar)
  • 2 dashes Blackstrap bitters
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Method

  1. Fill a glass with crushed ice and add vodka, lemon, liqueur, and orgeat syrup.
  2. Using a swizzle stick or long bar spoon, swizzle drink until the outside of the glass begins to frost.
  3. Top with additional crushed ice and finish with bitters and garnish with fresh mint.

Jalisco Swizzle

(Created by Phil Ward, Death & Co.)

  • 1 1/2 ounces Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila
  • 1/2 ounce Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce cane sugar syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Method

  1. Dry shake all ingredients, then pour into a pilsner glass filled with crushed ice.
  2. Swizzle until cold and garnish with a lime wheel. Serve with a straw.

Queens Park Swizzle

  • 2 ounces Angostura 7-Year Rum
  • 1 ounce demerara syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 12 mint leaves
  • 8 dashes Angostura Bitters

Method

  1. Build in a highball glass.
  2. Muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup then fill glass with crushed ice.
  3. Pour in rum and swizzle well until glass if frosted.
  4. Pack with more crushed ice and top with bitters.

Zombie

1934 Zombie
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This interpretation of the classic tiki drink is the work of the talented bar staff at Polite Provisions in San Diego.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Appleton Signature Blend Jamaican Rum
  • 1 ounce Plantation Barbados 5-year Rum
  • 1 ounce Hamilton 151 False Idol Blend Rum
  • 3/4 ounce Velvet Falernum
  • 1/2 ounce Grenadine
  • 1/2 ounce cinnamon syrup
  • 1/4 ounce Absinthe
  • 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Method

  1. Combine ingredients in shaker tin.
  2. Fill shaker 1/4 full with crushed or cracked ice as well as a couple larger cubes.
  3. Shake, and empty contents into tall glass (tiki if you have it).
  4. Add crushed ice to the top, garnish with mint sprigs and swizzle stick.

Guava Dreams

Guava Dreams Cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This drink combines tequila with Jarritos, the tasty sodas from Mexico. Sunny and tropical, the candied nature of the guava drink is ideally offset by the tequila and lime juice. We suggest throwing in as much crushed ice as your vessel can handle.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces 1800 Silver Tequila
  • 4 ounces Jarritos Guava
  • 1 ounce coconut cream
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

Method

  1. Shake tequila, coconut cream and fresh lime juice in a shaker with ice and strain into a highball glass over crushed ice.
  2. Top with Jarritos and garnish with a lime wheel.

Frozen Mudslide

Frozen Mudslide cocktail
The Chocolate Truffle Martini at The Brown’s Hotel in London will set you back $120. Image used with permission by copyright holder

This classy drink is brought to you by Devon Tarby and brings a little Lebowski flair to the bar table.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 ounce Aylesbury Duck Vodka
  • 1 ounce Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
  • 3 scoops vanilla or coffee ice cream

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a Collins glass and serve with a straw and spoon.
  3. Garnish with grated dark chocolate.

Just in time for summer, the above drinks will cool you to the core. If you’re looking for something similar while things are hot, learn about Hawaiian shave ice and sip a bit of paradise. And if you need a new blender or an upgrade, check out some top-rated blenders.

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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