So Nole and I decided to try something a little different this time around, something neither of us had tried before: frozen drinks. There was a little trepidation: are we sure we can get these things right? What about the tarnished reputation of frozen drinks among cocktail aficionados? But it turns out all that worrying was for naught. Frozen drinks are perfectly easy to make with just as much care as any of our other cocktails, and they are – let me emphasize this – perfect for August. If you’re not making frozen drinks this summer, you’d better start now.
We’ll be sharing the recipes in separate posts since some of them are a bit more involved than others – but they’re all totally worth it. Our first recipe is for build-your-own St-Germain margaritas with a choice of three natural syrups: delicious, fun, and cool – you can’t fail to impress your guests with this one. – Andrew
St-Germain Margarita Snow Cones
Combine the Tequila, lime juice, and St-Germain in a squeeze bottle. Squeeze over a snow cone or glass filled with fresh shaved ice, then top with a squeeze of syrup. Makes about eight servings.
Illustration by Dinara Mirtalipova for Oh So Beautiful Paper
To Make the Blueberry Syrup:
1 Cup Blueberries
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat to a simmer and add the blueberries and sugar. Stir to incorporate the sugar, breaking up the blueberries as you go. Simmer for about fifteen minutes, then strain into a squeeze bottle, pressing the solids to extract as much blueberry flavor as possible.
To Make the Watermelon Syrup:
1 Cup Watermelon Juice
1 Cup Sugar
Crush and strain a chopped watermelon to get your juice, then gently heat the juice in a saucepan. Add the sugar, stirring frequently at low heat to incorporate the sugar. Pour into a squeeze bottle.
To Make the Mint-Basil Syrup
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Mint Leaves
1 Cup Basil Leaves
Blanch the mint and basil leaves first. Add the leaves to boiling water for fifteen seconds, then remove them with a slotted spoon and immediately submerge them in ice water for about a minute. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and add in the sugar. Stir frequently until the sugar is fully melted. Add the mint, basil and syrup to a blender and pulse everything to break up the leaves. Strain the resulting syrup into a squeeze bottle.
Drinks shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. Cocktail enthusiasts spend a lot of time perfecting recipes and resurrecting lost spirits and tracking down obscure ingredients and the like. And that’s awesome. But there’s always the risk in this of forgetting that a drink, no matter how perfect, is still just a drink, and the point is to have fun with them. That’s what this recipe is: a lot of fun. There’s quite a bit of prep work involved, but once you’re done, all your guests have to do is grab a squeeze bottle – or two or three or all of them – and squirt over some shaved ice. It’s interactive and lets you play around with vibrant colors and rich flavors in a way that most drinks don’t.
And you can easily turn this into a plain-old non-alcoholic snow cone for anyone not drinking – or make popsicles with any extra syrup. If you’re really thinking about making these for a party, I highly recommend you invest in a real shaved-ice machine. They’re not that expensive (we used this one) and they’re life savers for churning out a ton of fluffy shaved ice on short order.
On a total aside: I believe that drinks should be honest. The taste, scent, color and feel of each drink should be the product of its ingredients, and not any artificial coloring or ingredients. Even though we’re living through the greatest age in American Cocktails since the time of Jerry Thomas, too many drinks are served with artificial bottled mixers and fake neon colors. So I’m happy to showcase these syrups, which show how tremendously easy it is to make ingredients with bright, bold flavors and colors to match at home, using natural and fresh ingredients. Just look at those colors in the photos: they’re awesome. And they’re all real.
Calligraphy by Lauren Saylor of A Fabulous Fete
Styling by Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper
Photos by Sweet Root Village for Oh So Beautiful Paper