“We’ll have 4 Strawberry Daiquiris!” It’s not something you hear everyday in a discerning watering hole. Even in places of ill-repute, most people would opt for something with an airtight seal such as beer rather than wonder if that blender has been cleaned since 1990. As a former or current bartender, you may still cringe at the thought of making frozen drinks. Do you feel guilty about telling a lie? Did you claim the blender was broken just so you wouldn’t have to open a can of coconut cream and make virgin Piña Coladas? Seriously though, is it really all that bad?
Simon Ford, a world-renowned cocktail engineer, brand ambassador and co-founder of 86 Spirits, has defended the use of a blender in the past (see it here). The Tiki Bar renaissance has made people realize that boozy punches and tropical drinks aren’t just a figment of the spring break imagination, while some bar owners have actually embraced the blender for poolside libations. Blended Margaritas and Daiquiris have a psychological appeal reminding us of things like Vacation, Happy Hour and Friday Afternoon, but are often made with low quality ingredients in batches so large they start melting before they hit the glass. So where do we go from here?
Good cocktails are like a great dish in your favorite restaurant, every bite keeps you going back for more. Each element of flavor, texture and aroma is in balance so it’s no wonder that a blended slushy of ice crystals surrounded by good Tequila or Rum, lime, fruit and sugar would taste so good. Without the blender, talented bartenders use crushed ice or shake their drinks to a pulverized slurry to recreate the texture of the blended version…but a combination of good ingredients, just the right amount of ice, a cold glass and some old-fashioned 120V current can make you forget about Monday morning. Now back to school everyone, Summer is over!