Summer drinking has been on my mind almost constantly since I posted for Memorial Day. The season offers a fantastic opportunity for creative drink-making using beautiful seasonal herbs, fruits, and veggies. Today we’ll talk about FROZEN drinks specifically. We’ll get to the fruit drinks and savory herbs later, and our summer conversation will culminate before Independence Day with a special set of patriotic shots and one of my super awesome top-secret party recipes. Sound good? OK, let’s go.
Creamy, frozen, ultra-sweet: This category of cocktails is the boon of summertime, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed for ordering one of these chilly delights. The languid permissiveness of summer allows even the manliest of mens to throw his dudely reserve aside. The nostalgia associated with hot summer days that smell of grills a-cookin’ and just-mown grass has a tendency to bring out the nineteen-year-old girl in all of us, and that fresh young lady should be appeased with a drink that’s fabulous, fruity, and practically begging for a maraschino cherry and tiny umbrella garnish. So, put away the whiskey and dust off that blender, ‘cause today we’re whipping up some classic froufrou fare featuring rum, tequila, and vodka.
Souped-Up Piña Fuego
The pina colada is Puerto Rico’s national drink and was created by drunken sailors, so you know it’s good. In Spanish, pina means “pineapple”, and colada means “strained”. The basic recipe is 1 part white rum, 1 part crème de coco*, and 3 parts pineapple juice.
- 6 oz. White Rum (Top Shelf Recommendation: Cane)
- 6 oz. Coconut Rum (such as Parrot Bay or Malibu)
- 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple or pineapple rings*
- 15 oz. can of crème de coco** (like Coco Lopez)
- Fresh, ripe mango pieces (refrigerated overnight)
- Crushed red Thai chili***
Make sure your rums are pre-chilled by leaving the bottles in the freezer overnight. Freeze the pineapple as well, along with the juice. An easy way to do this is to freeze the pineapple in its own can, but you need to take the top off first so it doesn’t explode! If you have any trouble getting the frozen pineapple out, run the outside of the can under hot water for a few seconds to loosen up the contents. Blend all the ingredients – cold rum, frozen pineapple, and crème de coco until smooth. Add a couple peeled, cored, mangos to the blender for a tangy kick, and if you dig spicy as much as I do, give that thai chili a shot. Garnish with fresh pineapple wedge.
If you like a pina colada that is less sweet, use less or no coconut rum, making up the volume with the white rum of your choice. Mango and dried chilies are optional.
*You may also use a fresh pineapple. Skin and core it thoroughly before freezing, and you will want to add 1/4-1/2 cup pineapple juice in addition to the fruit when you’re in blender stage.
**Crème de Coco or coconut crème is a thick mixture of coconut milk and sugar, and shouldn’t be confused with Crème de Cacao, which is a chocolate liqueur. You can make your own using one tablespoon of sugar completely dissolved into 2oz full-fat coconut milk (1 cup coconut milk to ¼ c sugar).
***I like to use medium-sized (1” in length) dried pepper with all but three or four seeds removed and ground into the finest consistency possible in an herb/coffee grinder. Use one per blender-full.
Mmmm, peaches, those fuzzy little jewels of summer. Take advantage while you can; the joys of fresh peaches are fleeting, and this recipe doesn’t work with the canned variety. This recipe is vibrant, fresh, and has an amazing depth of flavor.
- 4 oz. silver tequila (Top Shelf Recommendation: 7 Leguas, if you can find it. Otherwise, any nice tequila will do)
- 3 oz. peach schnapps
- Juice of one lime (or 2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup fresh, ripe peaches, peeled, pureed and chilled (about two medium peaches)
- ½ peach, sliced – for garnish
- Ice, to desired consistency (about 1 cup should do the trick.)
You put it all together (the booze and peach and ice), rev up that old blender, and mix it all about. You pour it in a glass and then ya put it in your mouth – and that’s what it’s all about.
Bridge Club (Watermelon Slushie)
For some reason, combining watermelon with booze always reminds me of nice old ladies gone rogue, like Aunt Bea did in that episode of The Andy Griffith Show when she got hooked on cooking sherry. Enjoy this tasty adult slushie.
- 6 cups watermelon, seeds and rinds removed (this should be about ½ of a medium sized watermelon)
- 4-5 oz. simple syrup (about two shots)
- Juice of two lemons (or 6 tablespoons)
- 16 oz. vodka (2 cups) (Use an inexpensive vodka, but one that won’t make you sick. I like Monopolowa.)
- ½ c melon liqueur (4 oz.) (such as Midori)
Cut the watermelon into cubes and freeze overnight. Try to keep as much of the juice as possible. When blending time comes around, throw it all in and blend until smooth. For garnish, try a candied lemon twist or a hibiscus flower. Pretty AND delicious!
Stay Tuned for More Fabulous Drinks!
Have a great weekend, everyone, and don’t forget to Get Your Drink On Responsibly (and find a designated driver)!