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Frozen libations for adults

Coke and Jack Slushies (credit: AJC Staff)

Coke and Jack Slushies (credit: AJC Staff)

I sure could use a pina colada right about now. Or even a frozen daiquiri. This summer has been hot.

But that’s not going to happen because I don’t do blender drinks anymore. I never buy white rum or Coco Lopez. The last time I actually sat down to one of those pina coladas in a foot-high punch glass with a maraschino cherry and pineapple wedge on the side was, oh, I’m going to say 1982.

I drink much more serious beverages now, like rye Manhattans and Sazeracs. I like my spirits brown and my flavors bitter.

During the past few years I’ve figured out ways to make frozen cocktails that appeal more to my palate today. For starters, I put away the blender because I don’t want anything that remotely resembles a smoothie.

A few years ago when I was writing a story about cooking with Coke in honor of the New World of Coca-Cola, I discovered churning Coke and limeade concentrate in my ice cream maker resulted in something delicious — a kind of slushy sorbet the kids around the table loved. The adults loved it even better with a wee splash of brown liquor.

I seem to have stumbled backward into a time-honored Kentucky tradition. My friend Kat Kinsman grew up in the Bluegrass State, where her relatives made a slightly more complex version of this concoction. There, they freeze citrus juices, strong black tea and bourbon together into a sweet-yet-potent ice to top with a splash of soda. I’m lucky enough to have had more than a few of these bourbon slushies at Kat’s annual Derby Day party.

Then, the other day, I surveyed some sad-looking grapefruits in our fruit bowl that needed using fast and thought to turn them into a frozen dessert. I juiced the grapefruit and sweetened it lightly with honey. I also added a few drops of orange flower water for a kick. After freezing it, I broke it up into the crystalline, snowy concoction called granita.

I loved the flavor — even more so when I realized I was one ingredient away from a frozen Brown Derby cocktail. A splash of bourbon fixed that situation nicely.

Kat’s Bourbon Slush

  • 12 ounces lemonade frozen concentrate
  • 6 ounces orange juice frozen concentrate
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups hot strong tea
  • 2 cups bourbon
  • 7 cups water
  • Ginger ale or lemon-lime soda to taste

In a lidded, freezer-proof container or two (Tupperware and Rubbermaid pitchers work well), mix all ingredients except ginger ale until thoroughly blended.

Place the container(s) in the freezer overnight or for at least 4-6 hours. It should be firm all the way through, but it will not freeze completely solid.

Scoop about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of the slush into a tumbler, top with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda to taste and serve.

Frozen Brown Derby

  • Juice of four pink grapefruits (about 4 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange flower water (optional)
  • Bourbon to taste

Combine juice, honey and orange flower water and pour into a sealable freezer bag. When frozen solid, smash the side of the bag with a mallet or hammer to break the contents into snowy crystals.

Spoon into rocks glasses and drizzle with bourbon. Serve with a spoon.

Coke and Jack Slushies

  • 2 (12-ounce) cans cold Coca-Cola
  • 6 ounces limeade concentrate
  • 6 ounces whiskey, chilled

Combine the cola and limeade with a whisk, then freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions. Divide frozen mixture into four chilled glasses. Chase away the kids.

Drizzle each serving with 1 shot of bourbon. Serve with a spoon or a straw.

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

12 comments Add your comment


July 16th, 2012
12:26 am

Still love a Husdon River/Mudslide on a hot day.

Lem Motlow

July 16th, 2012
8:44 am

Coca-Cola and Jack Daniels is something I associate with young adults that don’t know any better. The concoction ruins 2 outstanding stand alone beverages.


July 16th, 2012
9:22 am

Jack is not BOURBON. It is swill.


July 16th, 2012
11:08 am

All sound good to me — even the daiquiris and coladas that you find detestable. As long as they are not too sweet.


July 16th, 2012
11:43 am


July 16th, 2012
12:50 pm

Ha! I just made a concoction very similar to Kat’s bourbon slush a couple weeks ago. Delicious!

Judge Smails

July 16th, 2012
3:50 pm

I recall in the early to mid eighties going to Fat Tuesdays in Buckhead. Man, you want to talk about a wicked hangover! All that sugar and alcohol!


July 16th, 2012
4:52 pm

Yeah, I lived on Mathieson during that time. Good or bad, bad probably, they served their drinks
to enjoy either in the establishment, or to go! Many Sundays picking up a large mixed and heading
to the lake in a convertible. Not driving, I swear.

Ned Ludd

July 17th, 2012
10:26 am

John…Why was the Canada trip deleted?….Hope it wasn’t because of the ‘filet’ crisis?

FM Fats

July 18th, 2012
8:33 am

I have type 2 diabetes. How does this work with Coke Zero?

Jerry Nevins

July 18th, 2012
9:14 am

Awesome article. You should check out the Rockefeller at Snow & Co in Kansas City. Frozen manhattan made without a blender. Delish!

Steve G

July 20th, 2012
9:52 am

Frozen bourbon milk punch in New Orleans is the best!