You never know quite what you’re going to get when you order a frozen cocktail: a mushy mess of sugar, ice and crappy booze, or a fluffy, snowy avalanche of balanced flavor. Thankfully, the slushy cocktail trend is moving farther away from the former and falling in line with the wider craft cocktail movement. Bars all across the country have blended their way to icy success, creating exciting new spins on frozen Margaritas, Daiquiris and other classics, as well as a host of fun new recipes using fresh ingredients and top-notch spirits. Brace yourself for the best tasting brain freeze you’ve ever had and visit one of these U.S. bars rocking the frozen cocktail game.
Charleston: The Ultimate Local's Guide
If you’ve ever wished you could sip on a frozen Bloody Mary or Old Fashioned, pay a visit to this Midwestern ice cream parlor-meets-cocktail lounge. The bar regularly serves a number of next-level frozen classics, as well as original cocktails made with fresh ingredients, including the super summery Sailor's Gold (Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Gran Gala, fresh OJ, lemon and pineapple juice) and Cloud 9 (St-Germain, Thatcher's Elderflower, Stirrings Peach, milk). Cofounder Jerry Nevins recently published a book called Sloshies, a must-have for frozen drink devotees who want to blend up summertime bliss whenever the craving strikes.
Whatever rotating cocktail is rolling around in the slushy machine at Mother’s Ruin is guaranteed to be delicious. The bar, run by TJ Lynch and Richard Knapp, serves a different slushy every day. Sometimes that means you’ll get a frozen Negroni, other times you’ll be greeted with something totally unexpected like the Babe Alert (cachaça, whiskey, Creme Yvette, citrus, OJ, cranberry juice). Whatever you get, just be sure to pair it with a side of the kitchen’s waffle fries.
We’re not sure what’s more enticing: The beautifully hued frozen cocktails at this Chicago bar and restaurant or the beachy back patio—but we’ll take both. The bar has a year-round boozy slush menu featuring blends of top-notch and locally sourced ingredients, including the Pisco Control (Control Pisco, Dimmi, lemon, Angostura) and the Monsieur Coconut (Rhum JM 80 proof, coconut, lime, cardamom), as well as a solid selection of non-frozen cocktails, wine and beer. The only thing that can really make a summertime jaunt to this frozen cocktail mecca better is a plate of scrumptious fried food—we’ll let you choose between cheese curd fritters, the fish fry or fried Amish chicken.
Hale Pele’s selection of frozen drinks is rightfully dubbed “Blended Delights.” The bar focuses on chilly versions of tiki classics like the Missionary’s Downfall, Painkiller and ultra-boozy Hurricane.The drinks aren’t too sweet and they’re just the right amount of boozy. You can even order some equally delightful bar bites like toasted Hawaiian bread or mini bowls of bibimbap, so the easy-to-drink frozen libations don’t sneak up on you too quickly.
Donna, Brooklyn, NY
This Brooklyn bar may not have the extensive selection of frozen cocktails that some of its ilk claim, but that hardly matters. What it does have is well-loved and downright wonderful. Try out the Brancolada (Branca Menta, Appleton rum, coconut cream, pineapple, orange) or the Jungle Blizz-Ird (Cruzan Blackstrap and Appleton rums, Campari, pineapple, orange, cinnamon). Or, if you’re really feeling crazy, you can order a blend of the two, otherwise known as the Colada Bird. No matter what you decide, you’ll do well to enjoy it with ceviche or a heaping plate of nachos.