The Bar Code

Three Ways to Add a Chill to Your Cocktail This Summer

Blend it, freeze it, or stick a popsicle in it.

Summer is upon us, and with it come two primary desires: to drink, and to stay cool. Combining the two is natural for me, and there are an almost infinite number of refreshing drinks. This summer, though, I’ve decided to move beyond merely cold drinks and into the realm of frozen ones, and so far the results have been … mixed.

As I see it, there are three main ways to make a frozen drink: blend ice into it, freeze it, or put something frozen into it. Let’s talk about each.

The blender is an invaluable tool when it comes to frozen drinks, but it comes with a couple of drawbacks. The first is that a blender is messy, noisy, and a pain in the ass to clean. The second is that unless you really splurge on a high-quality model, the texture of blended drinks leaves a lot to be desired: Chunks of ice drift morosely in a choppy sea of booze and disappointment. Furthermore, just adding ice means that you’re diluting your drink (and lowering its potency) simply to make it cold.

Freezing the drink itself seems like a no-brainer, but it too is fraught with challenges. The biggest is that alcohol has a lower freezing point than water, which is fine if you want to put a bottle of vodka in the freezer to stay cold but less fine if you’re dreaming about Negroni popsicles (that was such a lovely dream, too). Even if you do turn the temperature down low, texture can be a challenge, as you can end up with grainy or jagged ice crystals thanks to uneven freezing. That’s not a deal-breaker: You’re still enjoying delicious frozen booze, after all, but it’s not as glorious as I’d like.

Thus we come to the third option. I have to admit the first time someone told me about the current trend of “prosecco pops,” I rolled my eyes. But I’ll be damned if they aren’t tastier than I’d expected. The premise is simple: Stick a popsicle in a glass of sparkling wine. But when you choose both elements carefully, you can get a delicious drink. Again, though, you run into dilution issues , and the resulting drink isn’t really “frozen” in the traditional sense.

That’s why I’ve started to make boozy popsicles and stick them in sparkling wine. The textural issues of freezing booze aren’t quite as pronounced when it starts to melt, and it avoids a weak drink. Right now I’m all about a raspberry/Campari popsicle dunked in cava, which tastes so much like summer I think it gave me a tan, but the combinations are practically endless. Let me know if you hit on a winner!

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