Drinks

Easy, Slushy Frozen Cocktails

A New Orleans bartender shares recipes for cocktails you can freeze in plastic bags and take just about anywhere

photo: Margaret Houston

Portable frozen cocktails are a way of life in south Louisiana, where drive-through Daiquiri shops have been popular since the 1980s. New Orleans bartender Nick Detrich, who got his start at Cure before opening the French Quarter watering hole Cane & Table in 2013, puts a fancy-cocktail twist on the tradition…sort of. He mixes sophisticated cocktails—then puts them in the freezer in plastic bags to make slushes that are as well-suited to Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest as they are for a hot day on any Southern lake or beach.

“Around Carnival time, people will often put Otter Pops [the freezer pops in plastic tubes] in their coolers while making the rounds to see different parades,” Detrich says. “I just doubled down by freezing cocktails that also help keep the beer cold.”

Margaret Houston

The slushes are super-easy to make: Pour the ingredients into a zip-top plastic bag, seal, and freeze. Detrich’s secret is calibrating the ratio of ingredients to yield a mixture with just the right alcohol and sugar content to freeze into a slushy consistency—too much alcohol and the mix will remain liquid; not enough sugar and it’ll freeze completely solid.

Mix one big batch—each recipe makes 2-3 quarts—in a gallon-sized bag, or divide into single servings in sandwich-sized bags. Press the air out of each bag to leave room for the mixture to expand as it freezes, and place them on a baking sheet as insurance against a spill. There’s the tart and fruity Fino Hemingway, which swaps the rum in Ernest’s favorite Daiquiri for nutty (and lower-alcohol) sherry; the Royal Americano, which mixes bitter Campari, herbal sweet vermouth, and Coca-Cola for a complex refresher; and a seriously boozy Mint Julep.


Fino Hemingway Slush

A twist on one of Papa’s favorite Daiquiris

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients

    • 25 oz. Manzanilla sherry (such as La Guita)

    • 5 oz. Maraschino liqueur

    • 10 oz. grapefruit juice

    • 5 oz. lime juice

    • 12.5 oz. water


Preparation

  1. Add all the ingredients to a zip-top freezer bag and seal tightly. Freeze overnight or until slushy in consistency.

Recipe from Nick Detrich, of Cane & Table in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Royal Americano Slush

Campari, Coke, and sweet vermouth make for a bittersweet refresher

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients

    • 20 oz. Campari

    • 20 oz. sweet vermouth

    • 60 oz. Coca-Cola

    • 5 oz. water


Preparation

  1. Add all the ingredients to a zip-top sandwich bag and seal tightly. Freeze overnight or until slushy in consistency.

Recipe from Nick Detrich, of Cane & Table in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Mint Julep Slush

Definitive proof that bourbon and ice belong together

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients

    • 20 oz. bourbon

    • 50 oz. water

    • 1 1/4 cup sugar

    • 20 Fresh mint leaves


Preparation

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until the mint is almost completely pulverized, working in batches if needed.

  2. Pour into a zip-top freezer bag and seal tightly. Freeze overnight or until slushy in consistency.

Recipe from Nick Detrich, of Cane & Table in New Orleans, Louisiana.


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