While mixologists and cocktail geeks may have once frowned on frozen drinks and boozy slushies, many are now starting to embrace them. One reason is that the drinks are better, as the craft cocktail level of precision and care is getting infused into beverage alcohol slushies as well.
For instance, bartenders have found that the colder temperature throws off the alchemy of the cocktail—especially those that have high sugar or high alcohol content—and that most cocktails don’t translate well as icy drinks without tweaking the recipe. (According to a Seattle Times article, the secret is not to freeze all the ingredients.)
Frozen drinks done as large-batch cocktails are also easy on the bartender. Once the slushy machines are loaded, most of the time all you have to do is pull a hand crank. Some bartenders add bitters or fresh flavorings to the slushy just before serving.
Artusi in Seattle has a frozen take on the Hurricane called Water Off a Duck’s Back, made with rum, passion fruit, lime and a touch of saffron herbal liqueur. Before serving the drink, the bartender adds bitters and grates some long peppers to tame the sweetness.
Perhaps the most significant factor: Guests love frozen cocktails, and this summer’s heat waves are helping to drive sales. On a recent Saturday night, Battery Harris in Brooklyn, NY, went through 36 liters of slushies, according to a New York Times article. The frozen drinks are priced at $10 to $13.
Momofuku was ahead of the curve when it began serving well-rendered frozen drinks in 2009 at the Noodle Bar. Other New York operators in on the slushy cocktail movement include Mother’s Ruin, the Tippler and Nights and Weekends. What’s more, Drumbar, a cocktail lounge on top of the Raffaello Hotel in Chicago, is another proud new slushy machine owner.