Literally no good reason – which is the best possible reason!
It’s a fun, silly technique and when the time is right, it’s just the best. When you’re in the heat and humidity or just dreaming of being somewhere tropical, frozen drinks are the best damn thing to pour down your throat! So yes, you should definitely know how to make blended and frozen cocktails.
Frozen cocktails, although a very simple concept, it’s more difficult than you might think to perfect.
Add liquid ingredients to a blender cup and no, you can’t use a hand blender…that really won’t work here!
Now add any solid ingredients that will turn to liquid when blended such as fresh fruit. You need these ingredients to be at the bottom of the blender cup, next to the blades so that they are blitzed into liquid immediately, and not sat on top of the ice. Without enough liquid, your blender won’t be able to pull the ice and ingredients onto the blades and turn them into a delicious frozen cocktail!
Finally add ice and turn the blender on. Adding the correct amount of ice is vital to the success of this drink. Read more about ice below.
Low speed to start, then turn up the speed as the ingredients start to break down. Keep blending until you reach a perfectly smooth texture. If you have the option, crushed ice is always easier to blend than cubed.
Taste to check the drink’s balance while it’s still in the blender cup. Adjust if necessary then pulse the blender again to combine the added ingredient(s).
The dilemma here is that it’s not as simple as adding as much ice as you can fit into the blender cup. The amount of ice you need relates directly to the amount of liquid you use.
If you add too much ice for the amount of liquid, then the ingredients and ice won’t be able to circulate and fold into the blades to break them down into the smooth consistency we want. Instead, you’ll be left with a blender cup full of chipped ice cubes at the top, and a miserable puddle of liquid at the bottom…and that’s just sad!
However, if you add too little ice, your drink won’t become that thick, smooth, ice-cold glass of deliciousness that we all want! Yes, the ice will get broken down into the liquid, but it won’t get thick, the ice will melt and the drink won’t be cold enough. Thin, warm and watery…NOOOOOOOOOO!
So, use too much ice and the drink is a disaster, use too little ice and the drink is another type of disaster! The good news is, if it‘s not working, the drink can still be saved, so don’t panic and don’t give up.
Let’s solve problem 1 – Too Much Ice.
You will need to adjust the drink mid-blend. If the ice isn’t really moving, you either need to TURN OFF the blender and pull out some ice. Or, you need to add more liquid to get it moving. But don’t let the ratio of the recipe’s ingredients get out of balance!
We really don’t want angry messages about how you managed to fling Strawberry Margarita all over your kitchen, clothes and pets. BUT, saying that, as professional bartenders, we would normally make this adjustment with the blender still running slowly adding liquids until the ice begins to fold into the blades. Quickly replacing the lid as the ingredients begin to move. It’s a fun game of “will I wear the drink?!”
Removing the centre piece of the blender lid while you are blending, allows you to look down into the drink as it’s made and check its consistency. You can then assess and make any adjustments as they are needed.
Now, let’s solve problem 2 – Too Little Ice.
If when you look down into your blender cup, you can clearly see the blades whizzing around, rather than a thick mixture folding in on the blades, then you need to add more ice.
Do this bit-by-bit, until the consistency of the drink looks right.
Remember What You Are Aiming For:
A smooth, glossy consistency
Thick enough to pile up above the rim of your glass
Thin enough to pour smoothly from your blender cup – you shouldn’t need to spoon it into the glass like a dessert!
As always, make sure to taste the balance of the drink before you serve.