Shared from the 2017-06-07 Houston Chronicle eEdition

TREND

NEW COLD COMFORTS

Move over, frosé: Bartenders across Houston are creating fresh frozen cocktails

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Workman Publishing The frozen lychee cocktail at Le Colonial in River Oaks District features vodka, lychee purée and pineapple juice.

Mark Mulligan / Houston Chronicle

Peachy Keen

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‘Sloshies:

102 Boozy Cocktails Straight From the Freezer’

By Jerry Nevins Workman Publishing, 160 pp., $14.95

From “Sloshies” by Jerry Nevins

Makes 4 servings

4 ounces water 11½ ounces simple syrup (see note) 3 ounces lemon juice 11¾ ounces peach juice 9½ ounces Hendrick’s Gin (or your favorite gin) ¼ ounce Fee Brothers Peach

Bitters

Instructions: Place ingredients in a medium-size metal bowl and stir.

Pour liquid into a large freezer bag and place it in the freezer until frozen, approximately 4 hours (as it freezes, give the bag a gentle shake so the booze doesn’t separate). Alternatively, pour the liquid into an ice cream maker and proceed per manufacturer’s instructions. When ready to drink, massage the freezer bag by hand until it’s a wet, slushy consistency. If it’s not breaking up, run the bag under hot water and massage some more. Serve in a festive glass and garnish with a peach slice.

Note: To make simple syrup, combine 1½ cups pure cane sugar with 1½ cups water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir the mixture, letting sugar dissolve until liquid looks uniform without any visible granules or streaks from sugar, about 3 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes 2¼ cups (18 ounces) of syrup.

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Lisa Gochman

Ocean Water — rum, ginger, coconut and lime — is a popular cocktail at State Fare Kitchen & Bar.

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Dragana Harris

The Oaxacan Grapefruit Slush at Fusion Taco is made with mezcal, grapefruit and lime juices, and ginger beer.

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Lisa Gochman

The SS Washington is made with vodka, amaretto and orange Tang at Pi Pizza.

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Paula Murphy

Prego serves prosecco float cocktails with house-made sorbet and prosecco.

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Greg Morago / Houston Chronicle

The Coltivare Gin & Tonic at Eight Row Flint features Citadel gin, grapefruit and lime syrups, mint and Fever-Tree Tonic.

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Tina Zulu

Blackberry Lime Frosé at Relish combines wine with blackberry purée and lime juice.

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Greg Morago / Houston Chronicle

The Frozen Screwdriver at Under the Volcano tastes like Sunny Delight in Siberia.

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Dragana Harris

Fusion Taco’s Iced Bourbon Chai is made with chai spice-infused heavy cream, orange and lemon juices, amaro and Buffalo Trace bourbon.

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The Elphaba Workman Publishing

The Elphaba

From “Sloshies” by Jerry Nevins Makes 4 servings

13½ ounces water 11¼ ounces simple syrup (see note) 6¾ ounces prosecco 2½ ounces Stirrings Peach

Liqueur (or your favorite peach liqueur) 6¾ ounces Midori Melon Liqueur

(or your favorite melon liqueur)

Instructions: Place ingredients in a medium-size metal bowl and stir.

Pour liquid into a large freezer bag and place it in the freezer until frozen, approximately 4 hours (as it freezes, give the bag a gentle shake so the booze doesn’t separate). Alternatively, pour the liquid into an ice cream maker and proceed per manufacturer’s instructions.

When ready to drink, massage the freezer bag by hand until it’s a wet, slushy consistency. If it’s not breaking up, run the bag under hot water and massage some more. Serve in a festive glass and garnish with a slice of honeydew or cantaloupe.

Nobody would ever refer to Houston as a frozen landscape, yet if you look at the city through cocktail eyes, it’s precisely that — especially in summer, when our collective appetite for icy drinks reaches a cold crescendo.

And though 2016 clearly belonged to the frosé — that blush slush made with rosé wine — this season could crown a new cocktail champ.

Local bartenders are dreaming up myriad ways to induce a boozy brain freeze. Le Colonial in River Oaks is introducing a frozen cocktail made with vodka, lychee and pineapple. Bosscat Kitchen & Libations is freezing a mix of local bourbon and lemon syrup. Prego is filling champagne flutes with knobs of sorbet drenched in sparkling prosecco while Fusion Taco crafts an Iced Bourbon Chai and a mezcal-laden Oaxacan Grapefruit Slush. And of course, old standbys — think margaritas and Under the Volcano’s Screwdriver — remain popular.

“In Texas, we all love our frozen margaritas. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t,” says Laurie Harvey, beverage director for Cherry Pie Hospitality, which owns restaurants including Pi Pizza and State Fare. “So when you carry that over to other frozen cocktails, it has the potential to appeal to so many people.”

Harvey could be Houston’s ice queen. For Pi Pizza, she created a handful of cocktails including the SS Washington (vodka, amaretto, Tang) and the Screws-ton Daiquiri (a lavender haze of vodka that tastes like an adult version of Purple Kool-Aid). Her blue-tinged Ocean Water with rum, ginger, coconut and lime is a highlight at State Fare.

Even the long-held notion that respectable bartenders don’t trafic in blender drinks, let alone margarita-machine concoctions, hasn’t stopped Harvey from forging a deep bond with frozen cocktails. After all, she says, “Who doesn’t like an adult Slushee?”

“Adult Slushees” might scream fun, but there’s a definite science in working with those large-batch machines that dispense them, says Harvey. A delicate balance between juices, alcohol and water is at play.

Eight Row Flint in the Heights utilizes machines for its frozen cocktails too, including the Coltivare Gin & Tonic and the Buflalo Rider, featuring Four Roses Bourbon, Live Oak Hefeweizen, apricot liqueur and ginger cordial.

“If you subscribe to the notion that a drink that comes out of a frozen machine inherently sucks,” says Eight Row Flint co-owner Morgan Weber, “then you haven’t fleshed out the potential of that medium.”

Monica Richards, beverage director for Arnaldo Richards’ Picos, trafics in that medium. Over the years, she has improved the frozen margaritas at her father’s Mexican restaurant by employing top-shelf tequila and fresh juice, and is rolling out two new sippers this summer: the Southern Oak Bourbon Lemonade and the Mandarina Mexicana, made with Patron Silver, Mandarine Napoleon, Disaronno and a dash of matcha powder.

She similarly refutes the popular belief that no self-respecting mixologist goes near blenders and machines. “Everyone is really tired of hearing what you should and shouldn’t drink,” Richards says. “If you’re good at what you do, it shouldn’t matter if it’s going into a blender or a shaker tin. I love making frozen drinks. Frozen drinks have always been wonderful.”

Indeed, while they might be trending, there’s something deliciously retro about frozen drinks, according to

Harvey.

“Friday-night frozen margaritas are a Texas tradition. There are plenty of Mexican restaurants in Texas who have made their careers on those margaritas,” Harvey says. “And people have been drinking frozen drinks in New Orleans for years.”

Meanwhile, the summer of 2017 kicks ofl with added incentive to enjoy icy hooch: the publication of “Sloshies: 102 Boozy Cocktails Straight from the Freezer” by Jerry Nevins. The cocktail cookbook oflers recipes for making frozen cocktails at home. Though a gelato or ice cream machine can produce great results, a zip-top freezer bag filled with boozy slosh and placed in the freezer can do the trick on the cheap.

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