Time to make an embarrassing admission: I am terrible at making frozen cocktails. Just plain awful.
My frozen margaritas come out watery, my piña coladas are shamed with unwanted chunks of ice. As you might imagine, it makes this time of year particularly painful. The long, lazy sun-drenched days of summer are the reason why these tasty blended refreshers were invented in the first place (right?). And yet, time and again, my earnest attempts are relegated to the would-be, could-be great category.
Of course, it's a handicap I haven't minded living with because, well, there's still plenty of fun to be had toasting the failures. But enough is enough. This summer I want to make perfect frozen drinks — you know, those ones that pour out of the blender with the greatest of ease, smooth and icy, all of the ingredients in balance.
To that end, we've compiled some helpful advice to ensure you make brag-worthy frozen cocktails this summer.
1. Use frozen fruit. Strawberries, bananas, pineapple — fruit is often the star ingredient in a blended cocktail. Many advise getting fresh, ripe fruit (for optimum flavor) and freezing it yourself ahead of time. Using frozen fruit will help achieve a thicker, more desirable consistency. Just remember: Bigger pieces of fruit should be cut into smaller pieces prior to freezing to make blending more easier and more efficient.
2. Use crushed ice. Make your blender's job a little easier by making your frozen drink with crushed or cracked ice as opposed to whole cubes. And when it comes to determining the right amount of ice to use, it's best to start out with less than you think you'll need — it's easy to add more if you feel the drink needs it.
3. Order matters. The next time you gear up to craft a batch of frozen margaritas or daiquiris, be sure to keep this order in mind: add the chilled liquid to the blender first, followed by the fruit and then the ice.
4. Start low and slow. Don't get overly excited or carried away and hit the high-speed button on the blender at the beginning of the process. Start out on the the slowest setting and work your way up to the highest cycle.
5. Add with caution. Think your drink is missing something? Tweaking the recipe is perfectly acceptable — encouraged even — just be mindful that any extra ingredients (more ice if it's too thin, for example) should be added slowly and in small portions.
6. Don't blend for too long. Leave the blender running for too long and you risk ending up with a drink that is too thin and runny. Of course, if you don't blend the drink for long enough, you're left with an equally undesirable situation where chunks of ice still remain.
7. Serve in Chilled Glasses. Because the ice particles in a frozen drink are so small, they are naturally going to melt much more quickly. To help slow down this process — the point is for you to be drinking a frozen cocktail, after all — try serving the cocktail in a chilled or frozen glass.