The Manual of Southern Know-How

How to Bag a Bourbon Boat Drink

Meet the frozen bourbon margarita

Photo: Ross MacDonald

Some things you should probably never take from a friend: a loan, a used car, an ex-lover. Recipes are another matter, as countless church and Junior League cookbooks attest. So consider Jan Gautro your new best friend. The Birmingham, Alabama, culinary photo stylist has perfected the frozen bourbon margarita in a plastic freezer bag—an ideal cocktail for hours of booze cruising.

There are a few tricks: Only diet soda will do, thanks to thermodynamics  and the chemical makeup of sugar compounds. And get the proportions right; the blend of alcohol, which doesn’t freeze at 32 degrees, and water, which does, forms a slush—like a frozen blender drink, but without the dilution caused by crushed ice. Place the bag in a bowl or a baking dish to keep it from spilling inside the freezer. “Always make two batches,” Gautro advises. “There’s never enough.”

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  • Frozen Bourbon Margaritas

    • 2 12-oz. cans diet 7-Up, Sprite, or lemon-lime soda

    • 1 12-oz. can frozen limeade (measure the remaining liquids using the empty can)

    • 1 can water

    • 1 can tequila

    • ½ can bourbon (“Two-thirds if you’re feeling frisky.”)

    • ⅓ can triple sec


  1. Pour ingredients into a ziplock plastic bag, stir, and seal. Freeze overnight.