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
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
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
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