Chefs’ Picks: Frozen Cocktails

Chill out with the pros’ picks for the coolest frozen drinks across the country.

Related To:

Tic Tac Taxi

Photo by: Clayton Hauck

Clayton Hauck

Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” For chefs, that saying rings truest during steamy summer months, when nothing revives their spirit at the end of a long shift like a frozen cocktail. Take a cue from the pros and dive into their picks for the coolest frosty beverages across the country.

Decadent Daiquiri

Besides serving as Honey’s executive chef, Charles Welch also oversees the cocktail program—and he’s not afraid to play favorites. “My favorite cocktail is a daiquiri,” he reveals. “It's refreshing and simple; perfect for summertime.” When off duty, Welch seeks out unique riffs on the tiki classic. One such find is the fruit-forward Tic Tac Taxi from stylish tiki bar Lost Lake. Inspired by the owners’ travels to Columbia and the Caribbean, this tropical take stars a trio of rums (Aged Panamanian Rum, Overproof Multi-Island Rum and Overproof Jamaican Rum) punched up with Lost Lake Coconut Likker, passionfruit and lime. The tropical theme carries over to the presentation; the drink comes in a coconut husk garnished with pineapple fronds, an edible orchid and an orange peel.

Ecto Cooler Cocktail

Photo by: Venkman's


Cooling Citrus Slushie

The team at Atlanta-based Venkman’s loves the ‘80s flick Ghostbusters so much that they named their restaurant after one of the main characters, Dr. Peter Venkman (played by Bill Murray). The bar menu also gleans inspiration from all things Ghostbusters. Look no further than Venkman’s slushy citrus cocktail that’s modeled after Hi-C® Ecto-Cooler, an orange-tangerine drink first made in the 1980s to pay homage to the movie franchise and its infamous character Slimer. “The inspiration is really two-fold,” explains Chef Nick Melvin. “One is the childhood nostalgia of [Hi-C®] Ecto Cooler and the other was [to make] something that was bright and citrusy [that] would make you feel good on a hot summer day.” The frothy beverage blends vodka, freshly squeezed orange and lemon juices, simple syrup, tangerine and ice to refreshing effect, plus baby spinach to give it the signature green hue of that original Hi-C® drink. We think Slimer would approve.

Crillon Swizzle Cocktail

Photo by: Taylor Thigpen

Taylor Thigpen

Swanky Swizzle

According to Luma on Park’s Chef/Partner Brandon McGlamery, sometimes the only remedy for a long day on the line is a good cocktail, especially when Florida’s temperatures hit triple digits. “DoveCote's beverage program, at the helm of Gene Zimmerman, has put Orlando on the map for its legit craft cocktails,” McGlamery says. “Their Crillon Swizzle is my go-to, made with Hine Cognac, mandarin orange, hazelnut, sage, lime, Peychaud's bitters and topped with crushed ice.” The chef orders it alongside an equally refined appetizer, the chicken liver pâté. The dish’s rich fattiness is an ideal match for the cocktail’s herbal and floral notes.

Coin Toss

Photo by: Eric Sellers

Eric Sellers

Shaved Ice Sensation

For Chef Chris Cosentino, frozen drinks should be both refreshing and fun — two concepts that shine through in the Coin Toss cocktail at his Portland, Oregon hotspot Jackrabbit. The bar’s signature drink is inspired by the story of how the city got its name, which was determined by Francis Pettygrove of Portland, Maine, winning a coin toss over Asa Lovejoy of Boston. That same spirit of chance is conjured up when Jackrabbit’s customers opt for a Coin Toss. Order one and the bartender flips a coin to decide whether to use housemade ginger-infused gin or tequila as the drink’s base. “I love how playful and engaging it is for guests who enjoy both spirits and want to leave it up to chance!” Cosentino says. The liquor’s warm spice is balanced with a mix of bright lime and grapefruit juices and a hit of herbaceous yellow chartreuse. This Instagram-ready concoction is served over shaved ice in a hollowed-out frozen grapefruit.



Photo by: Dokmaihaeng


Smoky-Spicy Sipper

Nothing says summer like a Torchlight. Or so says Carolina Santos-Neves, the New York City-based freelance chef who co-founded Latin American restaurant Colonia Verde. “This drink is a combination of mezcal, lime, honey and Cholula hot sauce. It's perfect. The lime makes it refreshing, the honey just slightly sweet, the mezcal is smoky and mysterious — and the Cholula gives it a slight kick,” she notes. She discovered the drink at cozy New York City bars like Up & Up and Attaboy, but once the mercury soars she prefers to make it at home and blend it with ice. “It makes you feel alive, but not too alive,” she adds. “It's the ideal drink for when you want to have just one.” Perfect pairings include savory snacks, such as anchovy and butter toasts or salted almonds.

Photography courtesy of Clayton Hauck, Venkman's, Taylor Thigpen, Eric Sellers and iStock/Dokmaihaeng

Next Up

Chefs’ Picks: Apres Ski

Four ski town chefs divulge their favorite apres-ski dishes, drinks and destinations.

3 of a Kind: Curry Cocktails

Curry has become one of the more popular flavors in mixology, adding an unexpected twist to classic cocktails.

3 of a Kind: Baijiu

Find out which celebratory liquor is joining vodka, gin and the rest of the crew as a popular spirit.

3 of a Kind: Cascara Drinks

With the flavor of an herbal tea and a java-like jolt of caffeine, cascara is a refreshing, energizing and waste-free alternative to coffee. Here are three places using it in cool ways.

Chefs' Picks: Tacos

We asked a few chefs across the country to spill the beans on their favorite tacos and where you can try them.

Chefs’ Picks: Karaoke

Find out where chefs and bartenders go to end the night on a high note.

Chefs’ Picks: Turkey

Though bird is the word of the season, many a Thanksgiving turkey underwhelms. Find out chefs’ favorite preparations for T-Day poultry to ensure your bird is far from bland.

Chefs’ Picks: Chicago Tacos

Plan a taco tour in Chicago with a little help from these local chefs, who share their favorites.

Chefs’ Picks: Mother’s Day

There’s no better time to give mom time off from cooking than Mother’s Day. Here are some mom-inspired creations that chefs are dishing up to celebrate the occasion.

Chefs’ Favorite Holiday Meals

Christmas is a time for traditions of all kinds and tastes. For many chefs, that means going beyond turkey, roast beef or prime rib and celebrating with global flavors that represent family, heritage and tradition.