In winter, Wisconsin sidewalks turn slushy from snow and salt. In summer, the state’s backyards turn slushy from buckets of brandy slush.
Brandy slush is Wisconsin’s version of sangria — it’s a summer party drink, served more often in homes than in bars, and you really don’t have to follow a recipe exactly to end up with something that tastes amazing.
Like the brandy old fashioned, the Badger State’s unofficial state cocktail, a properly made slush starts with brandy.
The spirit gets dumped into covered bowls, buckets or even reusable ice cream tubs and is mixed with citrus juices, usually from frozen concentrates. Sometimes tea, water or sugar join the party as well as liqueurs and bitters.
Everything needs to get stirred together because otherwise you’ll get a liquid center, as alcohol doesn’t completely freeze. While that’s kind of the point of a slush, you don’t necessarily want a pool of alcohol in your final product.
After sticking your brandy-based concoction in the freezer, take an ice cream scoop or a spoon, scrape out a few dollops into a cup and top with soda water or a citrus soda. If you want to get fancy, throw a piece of fruit on top as a garnish.
While slush is more popular in summer than in winter, some people do make it for winter parties. Hey, in Wisconsin, we eat frozen custard when the temperatures drop below zero, too, so making a summer drink for a winter party isn’t considered weird.
And I have to confess, last winter, in the back of my freezer, I found a small container of frozen slush. It tasted just like summer.
Here are two easy slush recipes to make this summer. You don’t need to be in a Wisconsin backyard to enjoy them:
A traditional take on the brandy slush, this recipe calls for thawed lemonade and orange juice concentrate. Even if you don’t usually buy the concentrated stuff, this is the perfect application for it.
If you prefer fresh juice in your boozy slushies, then try this recipe, which uses lemonade and limeade, not concentrate.