50 States of Frozen Drinks
Photo By: Jordan Farrell
Photo By: Colin Beckett ©2016 Colin Beckett
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The Velvet Orange at Big Orange: Little Rock, Ark.
The popular Little Rock restaurant’s house signature cocktail is a bright and citrusy tipple that pairs well with its bold burgers and creative salads. The fruity combination of vodka (from Rock Town Distillery downtown), orange and lemon juices, curacao and elderflower liqueur is balanced by bitters and a touch of bittersweet orange Aperol liqueur.
Champagne Slushie at Soda & Swine: San Diego
Sunny San Diego calls for a fun drink that fits in with the city’s laid-back vibe and beachy mentality. This frozen mimosa variation — one of several on the menu — mixes freshly squeezed orange juice, simple syrup and a splash of bitter red Campari with a heavy dose of Champagne. Grab some friends and throw back a few on the restaurant’s patio during a lazy Sunday afternoon brunch.
Great North Huckleberry Sorbet at Trailhead Spirits: Billings, Mont.
Wild huckleberries are rampant in this neck of the woods, and basketfuls are collected to create the namesake deep-purple-toned icy creation. For the granita elixir, the berries are blended with the distillery’s own gin, plus lavender-infused syrup and freshly squeezed lemon juice, served in a cocktail glass and garnished with mint, lemon zest and sweet grass — Montana’s state grass.
Pinewood Social Sangria at Pinewood Social: Nashville
Equal parts restaurant, bar, coffee shop, bowling alley and pool, this fun, multipurpose Nashville hot spot has it all. A glass of their sangria deftly beats the Tennessee heat; it mingles Montepulciano wine with Laird’s Applejack, orange and grapefruit juices, simple syrup, elderflower liqueur, dry curacao, Sprite, water and orange blossom water, and it’s served from a frozen-drink machine.
Photo courtesy of Jordan Farrell
49th State Swizzle at Blues Central: Anchorage, Alaska
A riff on the classic Alaska Cocktail from the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, this refreshing honey sipper conceals a spicy bite. Gin from local Port Chilkoot Distillery is swizzled with Yellow Chartreuse, Bénédictine, honey and grapefruit juice, then topped with crushed ice and saturated with Peychaud’s Bitters. It’s the drink to sip on endless summer nights under the midnight sun.
Frozen Negroni at Alta Linea: New York
Restaurateur Joe Capanale created a twist on the Negroni — his favorite cocktail — that’s made for alfresco drinking. He partnered with Kelvin Natural Slush Co. to create a smooth, blended drink that captures the enticing bittersweet herbal notes (and ruby hue) of the original. For his rendition, local gin is mixed with Campari and sweet vermouth, then garnished with orange.
El Diablo Margarita at La Hacienda: Scottsdale, Ariz.
An homage to the Sonoran Desert, this margarita uses its native fruit, the prickly pear cactus —an agave cousin that tastes uncannily like watermelon and bubblegum — along with sour mix, Triple Sec and tequila that’s been infused with pineapple, green apple, oranges, serrano peppers and cayenne pepper. The drink’s vibrant pink hue is a nod to an Arizona sunset, and the sweet, spicy, fruity flavor makes it taste just as memorable.
Frozen Sangria at the Basque Market: Boise, Idaho
A marketplace and restaurant in the middle of Boise may be an unexpected place to take a culinary vacation to Spain, but this sangria is utterly transporting. The fruit-packed drink mixes Rioja-grown Viura white wine with simple syrup, orange juice, pureed peaches, oranges, apples, grapes, lemon, limes and mango, all dispensed from a slushy-style machine. Remember to order the optional red-wine floater for an added kick.
Latitude 29 Banshee at Latitude 29: New Orleans
Head bartender Brad Smith's drink at Jeff "Beachbum" Berry’s award-winning tiki bar is a new take on the Banana Banshee — a disco-era frozen sip. He "steers the 1970s 'boat drink' into uncharted new waters" with layers of flavor; coconut milk, a whole banana, lime, dark Jamaican rum, Aztec chocolate bitters and Angostura bitters are frapped and served in a souvenir mug.
Photo courtesy of Annene Kaye
Frozen Peach Nectar Bellini at Severin Bar: Indianapolis
Lighter and more refreshing (not to mention slushier) than the classic Bellini, this version works just as well for day drinking as it does for warm-summer-evening imbibing. Peach nectar vodka is blended with lemon and orange juices, simple syrup, peach puree and Moscato, a semi-sweet, floral-tinged sparkling wine, and the mixture is served in a flute and garnished with mint.
Frozen Blackberry Sage Smash at Cucina at The Lodge: Vail, Colo.
While living in San Diego, general manager James Carpenter discovered drinks and dishes that mingled sage and blackberries, the inspiration for this purple-hued smash. Fresh blackberries and brown-sugar simple syrup are muddled, then blended with grapefruit juice and tequila, for an aesthetically gorgeous yet unconventional herbal summer sipper.
Firemelonrita at Oaxaca Kitchen: New Haven, Conn.
At this Oaxacan cantina, a whimsical spin on the margarita mixes a puree of summertime’s perfect picnic-totable fruit — watermelon — with muddled fresh jalapeno, lime juice, blue agave nectar and tequila, topped off with a chile-salt rim. It’s an irresistible balance of sweet, salty and spicy, and delicious with chips and tableside-prepared Key Lime Guacamole.
Zombie Unicorn Shake at Zombie Burger: Des Moines
A spiked version of the restaurant’s wildly popular cereal shakes, this nostalgic sip originally appeared on the menu during the 2012 Des Moines PrideFest; today it’s one of the most-requested drinks. The childhood throwback is made with Fruit Loops-flavored vodka, vanilla ice cream and homemade marshmallow cream, and topped with a big ol’ heap of Fruity Pebbles.
Trinity Tower at Sable Kitchen & Bar: Chicago
A trio of awe-inspiring sights during bartender Jessica Lambert’s first visit to the Windy City inspired this DIY cocktail. The mirrored base symbolizes the funky Cloud Gate sculpture, the purees’ colors pay tribute to the gardens in Millennium Park, and the tall carafe represents Chicago’s architecture. Guests pour the 50-50 gin and Cocchi Americano martini over frozen fruit purees, leading to three cocktails that evolve as they melt.
Photo courtesy of Colin Beckett
Frozen Aperol Spritz at 2 Birds 1 Stone: Washington, D.C.
Beat D.C.’s humidity at this basement-level bar, where bar manager Adam Bernbach’s affinity for the bright, lively Italian aperitivo stirred him to create a frozen version of its namesake spritz. He blends orange zest into Aperol to lend a potent bitterness that mimics the carbonation in the original, pours in vodka to boost the alcohol by volume and bulk up the drink, and adds a little citric acid and salt to orange juice to accentuate its sharpness.
Pineapple Punch at Rum + Tequila Experience: Amelia Island, Fla.
This poolside bar at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is the spot to sip craft cocktails, rum and tequila while taking a dip. This not-too-sweet yet not-too-strong punch, which blends fresh cubed pineapple with agave, lime, lemon, St. Germain and reposado tequila, is crafted to be reminiscent of tropical getaways, beach breezes and carefree summers.
Peachy Belle No. 5 at Tupelo Honey Cafe: Sandy Springs, Ga.
Cross a pina colada with peach pie and sweet tea and you get a frozen daiquiri that’s an homage to Georgia’s official state fruit and its unofficial favorite caffeinated beverage. Peach moonshine and sweet tea are blended with peach liqueur, white peach puree, pineapple juice, coconut milk, lime juice and Earl Grey bitters, then topped with whipped cream, basil sugar and lime.
Photo courtesy of Heidi Geldhauser
Frozen Coconut Mojito at The Modern: Honolulu, Hawaii
A refreshing favorite from one sunny oasis (Cuba) to another (Oahu), this modern twist on the mojito blends the island’s flavors in a unique way. The mixture of coconut rum, coconut syrup, mint, housemade nondairy horchata and lime is blended together with ice, and the result is a green concoction that looks as verdant as Oahu’s lush landscape.
Photo courtesy of Kira Chong Tim
Rosé Wine Slushie at the Infinite Monkey Theorem: Austin
Ben Parsons, founder of and winemaker at this urban winery and bar, created a fun twist on the convenience-store favorite. Texas Cinsault-based rosé is mixed with Syrah, Merlot and simple syrup. The trick to the tipple is to get the wine’s residual sugar level high enough to freeze without compromising flavor. Oenophiles and slushy fans agree: This is one tasty treat.
Watermelon Weekender at Magnolia Hotel: Omaha
After tasting a rum-based watermelon drink at a bar overlooking the Missouri River, bartender Chris Watson decided to try his hand at a frozen riff on it. Watson adds ice to cubed seedless watermelon, lemonade concentrate and local vodka, blends it and serves the mixture in a sugar-rimmed Mason jar garnished with more melon and some lemon.
Dodge City Daiquiri at Boot Hill Distillery: Dodge City, Kan.
This new bar and microdistillery uses its own vodka, as well as freshly squeezed lime juice, lime liqueur, grenadine and agave syrup, for this blended daiquiri. Light, refreshing and just a tad sweet, it’ll fix you right up on one of those dry and windy western Kansas days that quickly turns into a chilly evening if you find yourself lingering too long over your glass.
Mint Julep Slushie at Feast BBQ: Louisville, Ky.
Difficult as it may be for a native Kentuckian to believe, not everyone enjoys a traditional mint julep. This frozen version uses the same basic ingredients — bourbon, water, simple syrup and mint — with lots and lots of blended ice to keep things more approachable for the whiskey-averse. Slightly elevated and more accessible, it’s still a fitting way to imbibe the spirit of the Derby.
Sake Snow Cone at Tempo Dulu: Portland, Maine
Like a day at the beach in Maine — cold, refreshing and salty — this cocktail-meets-frozen-treat concoction is made with unfiltered Nigori sake, smoked pineapple juice and ginger, topped with Maine smoked sea salt, salmon caviar and Scotch, and served in a square wooden box with a silver spoon. Citrusy, sweet and briny, it’s guaranteed to be unlike any snow cone you ever tried as a kid.
Mediterranean Sunset at PassionFish: Bethesda, Md.
The idea of a fun and flashier version of the pina colada is what inspired staff of this coastal-cuisine-focused restaurant to invent the Mediterranean Sunset. Sure, it’s got the required rum (coconut rum, to be exact) as well as pineapple juice and cream of coconut, but amaretto adds an unexpected hint of almond flavor, while grenadine gives it a pop of color. The mermaid garnish mirrors the warm blue sea.
The Emerald at A*T Ariccia Trattoria: Auburn, Ala.
What better way to cool off during an oppressive Alabama summer than with this pretty-in-pink herbal concoction? Local gin from Opelika is blended with Cocchi Americano Rosa vermouth, limoncello, cherries and a rosemary-infused simple syrup, then topped with Prosecco for a drink that melds Southern flair with the restaurant’s Italian influence.
Summer Series Mojito at Precinct Kitchen + Bar: Boston
Regular Mojito just not cold enough for you? Then stay chill with this riff from Precinct Restaurant + Bar at the Loews Hotel in Boston. Cruzan Rum is mixed with simple syrup, mint and lime, then served over crushed ice with a scoop of frozen lime sorbet. Grab one any Saturday afternoon while listening to live music and slurping down some just-shucked oysters with a few friends.
Detroit Vice at The Fountain Detroit: Detroit
Summer’s as good a time as any to adopt a new vice. This icy cocktail, from the city’s first shipping-container restaurant, may be addictive, but it also happens to be perfectly legal. It blends the brand-new spot’s signature strawberry margarita with frozen peach lemonade. Just like the most illicit of substances, once you taste it you’ll go back for more.
Watermelon Popsicle Margarita at The SIX15 Room: Minneapolis
In the spirit of State Fair season, when it seems like everything from fried Oreos to corn dogs is served on a stick, head bartender Mark Forrest makes watermelon margarita popsicles, and dunks one into a traditional margarita made with Casamigos Blanco Tequila. Imbibers can either enjoy the frozen treat solo or let it add fruity essence to the cocktail as it melts.
Bushwhacker at Ajax Seafood Kitchen & Bar: Gulfport, Miss.
Sit by the water at this lively Mississippi Gulf Coast restaurant and bar and let all your cares float away over sips of this classic coastal drink. Generous portions of coconut rum, Kahlua, high-proof rum, fresh cream and milk are blended with ice and served in your choices of sizes, with an optional floater of more rum for an extra-spirited summer sipper.
Sunshine Boulevard at Snow & Company: Kansas City, Mo.
“Artful frozen cocktails” are the name of the game at this cocktail bar. These granita-style libations were created after the owners downed a lot of Radlers (equal parts lemonade and beer) during a trip to Germany. Crafted with orange and lemon juices, vodka, local unfiltered wheat beer and simple syrup, they are the adults-only way to revive after a day in the sun.
Roxanne at Anasazi Restaurant: Santa Fe, N.M.
Named for a restaurant hostess whose sunny disposition and bright smile match the hue in the glass, this cocktail blends gin with elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and sparkling wine, topped with Aperol and garnished with grapefruit. Its refreshing quality is a welcome contrast to the region’s spicy flavors, and it’s a perfect foil for buffalo sliders topped with green-chile marmalade.
Lava Flow at Nalu Surf Bar & Grill: Dewey Beach, Del.
The name of this Hawaiian-themed bar in Dewey Beach, a Delaware seaside party town, translates to “wave,” so it’s fitting that you can sit amid palm trees and totem poles while watching some epic hang-10 action on the flat-screen TVs while slurping frozen cocktails. In the Lava Flow, spiced rum coalesces with local strawberries, bananas and coconut-flake puree — an ode to Hawaii’s largest active volcano, Mount Mauna Loa.
Plum Freeze at Trummer's on Main: Clifton, Va.
Co-owner and mixologist Stefan Trummer makes inventive sips often inspired by his bucolic Virginia surroundings. He mixes local white-corn whiskey from nearby Bristow with fresh plums, a housemade habanero essence, cinnamon and lime. Served in a coupe glass, the drink hits all the major tastes — sour, sweet, bitter and spicy — and it packs a fiery moonshine punch.
Grasshopper at R&J Lounge and Supper Club: Oklahoma City
The oft-maligned, creamy green grasshopper cocktail hit peak popularity in the 1950s and 1960s; at R&J, it’s tweaked to include more alcohol, body and flavor. Brandy, creme de menthe, creme de cacao and mint chocolate chip ice cream are blended, poured into a sour glass and topped with shaved chocolate. Icy-cold, minty and boozy, it’s delicious with dinner or in lieu of dessert.
Fresca Fizz at Bottiglia Cucina & Enoteca: Las Vegas
For this mojito variant, your choice of vodka or gin stands in for rum. Lime is eschewed for lemon, raspberry gomme is the sweetener instead of simple syrup, and Prosecco adds the fizz instead of club soda. Palate-piquing by the pool, it’s balanced, aromatic and effervescent.
Mother Mason's Delight at Downtown Cheers Grille and Bar: Concord, N.H.
No longer on the printed menu, this sweet treat was created 18 years ago by owner Doug Milbury. Today it’s still ordered by in-the-know regulars who crave its creamy kick. Kahlua, amaretto, strawberries and ice cream are blended with ice, served in a Mason jar, and topped with whipped cream. Pass on dessert and order this creamy nightcap.
Frozen Summer House at Le Club Avenue: Long Branch, N.J.
At this restaurant, beach club and lounge, a Parisian bistro gets a dose of St. Tropez chic on the Atlantic shorefront. This heady cocktail blends cucumber-scented gin with elderflower liqueur, melon puree, lemon and simple syrup. Sip it and dream of hammocks at an oceanfront beach house.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Anton
Blue Ridge Sunset at The Cut Cocktail Lounge: Sylva, N.C.
Perusing the stalls at local farmers markets, bartender Jacque Laura was inspired to create a drink using fresh, seasonal produce. Her layered libation starts with a blend of blackberries, agave, Tuaca and bitters, to which she adds a layer of blended peaches, agave, more Tuaca and bourbon. The result is totally reminiscent of a North Carolina sunset.
Granita 75 at Mezzaluna: Fargo, N.D.
The lack of a blender behind the bar didn’t prevent staff from making a frozen variation on the elegant French 75. Prosecco is frozen with ginger beer, citrus-forward local gin, honey, and lemon juice and zest, and periodically stirred with a fork to break up chunks, granita style. It’s served in a flute, topped with rhubarb syrup and garnished with fresh mint and a lemon peel.
PBP Cocktail at Porco Lounge & Tiki Room: Cleveland
When the staff of this Cleveland spot headed to Miami, they consumed more than their fair share of Miami Vice cocktails, then vowed to re-create them at home. Their version is fresher and more natural. Rum is blended with cream of coconut, orange juice and pineapple; separately, aged rum is blended with housemade strawberry syrup and lime. The mixture is served layered in a bamboo glass — surely Crockett and Tubbs would approve.
The Pony Boy at Little Bird Bistro: Portland, Ore.
Take a trip to French Polynesia by way of Portland with this soda fountain treat that’s also an ode to the bounties of the Pacific Northwest. The concoction blends shrub made from local strawberries with locally sourced vanilla ice cream and rum. A float of soda water makes a frothy, delicious mess that can be sipped with a straw or slurped with a spoon.
Old Stormalong at The Copper Grouse: Manchester, Vt.
Reminiscent of an orange cream pop, this cocktail is named for a New England myth about a 30-foot sailor who battled the Kraken. Velvet Falernum, vanilla syrup, orange juice and lemon juice are frozen in molds, and the resulting ice pops are dipped into a libation made with rum, spiced rum and a blueberry-banana shrub. Things only get more flavorful as they melt.
Sgroppino at Capofitto: Philadelphia
After wandering aimlessly around Venice during a trip to Italy 10 years ago, owners John and Stephanie Reitano happened upon a cute little restaurant for dinner. At the end of the meal, the waiter mixed lemon sorbet, vodka and Prosecco, but wouldn’t share the exact recipe. Light, tart and utterly refreshing, the mix the duo concocted at home in Philadelphia perfectly recaptures that memorable night in the City of Bridges.
George's Strawberry Basil Chi at George's of Galilee: Narragansett, R.I.
Truly a local cocktail, this icy drink at the restaurant overlooking Block Island Sound has vodka from just up the road in Peacedale (chill-filtered 99 times), as well as strawberries from Schartner Farms and basil from Exeter. Pineapple chunks and coconut cream lend a tropical note, adding to the nautical mood as the fishing boats sail by.
Rita's Frizzle at Rita's Seaside Grille: Folly Beach, S.C.
Premade frozen cocktail mixes just don’t cut it at this relaxed, flip-flop-welcoming beach bar, which serves a full menu of thirst-quenching quaffers. The bar’s blend of light and dark rums, amaretto, ginger beer, orange juice, pineapple juice, and mango and strawberry purees hits the spot after a day of surfing, sailing, swimming or sunbathing.
The Ophelia at Parker's Bistro: Sioux Falls, S.D.
Named for bar manager Paul Squyer’s daughter — the most-beautiful sight he says he’s ever seen — this sweet-tart, cool-yet-warming liquid homage mixes amber rum, sweet vermouth, fresh lemon juice and a pineapple-cinnamon syrup, all poured in a Pilsner glass over crushed ice and garnished with a flower, orange and a raspberry (Ophelia’s favorite fruit).
Watermelon Margarita at Under Current Bar: Salt Lake City
To concoct this fresh, frozen drink, managing partner Amy Eldredge thought about what the essential poolside adult cocktail might look like. She combines the nostalgia of red, juicy, drippy watermelon with tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and sprigs of mint. The most-important ingredient, though? Pellet ice, which gives the drink the right temperature, dilution and consistency.
Runner's Revenge at Pennyroyal: Seattle
Don’t let this drink’s appearance fool you: It may be green in color, but it’s no healthy smoothie. Bartender Will Holland did create a similar nonalcoholic version for a father and son to drink post-run. In cocktail form, it blends gin with five healthy ingredients: lemon, lime, honey, mint and cucumber. If you skip your workout to sip one of these instead, we won’t tell.
Jackson's Way at Stonewall Resort: Roanoke, W.V.
Named for the Confederate general who succeeded Robert E. Lee (and whose name graces the lakefront resort that offers year-round entertainment), this admittedly noncerebral sipper is fizzy and fruity. Citrus rum is blended with raspberry Schnapps, lemonade and Sprite, poured into a red wine glass painted with raspberry sauce, and garnished with lemon and lime.
Charming Conrad at The Charmant Hotel: La Crosse, Wis.
To celebrate its first season of alfresco dining, this boutique hotel whipped up a garden-fresh elixir that’s a little bit floral and a little bit creamy. Gin is blended with local vanilla ice cream, Jamaican #2 Bitters, sparkling wine and a syrup infused with hibiscus and mint. Served over crushed ice in a pint glass, it gives you a whiff of what summer’s all about.
Spicy Blood Orange Sloshie at Bodega: Teton Village, Wyo.
The ho-hum margarita gets a much-needed update in this citrusy, spicy concoction from Big Sky Country. Habanero-infused tequila adds heat, while blood orange lends sweetness. And while the typical margarita is generally imbibed near the waves or on the pool deck, this one is right at home outside in the sunshine with those breathtaking Teton Mountain views.