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DNV Rooftop Selfie Sticks (Photo credit: Donovan House)

Bring on the brain freeze with these 5 boozy slushie recipes

When it’s just too hot to bust out the cocktail tin and exert all that effort shaking up a batch of drinks, let the blender do the work instead.

These frozen creations from crafty bartenders around town may make you feel like a kid again, but one sip, lick or spoonful of their potent deliciousness will leave no question that they are decidedly designed to cool off the over 21 crowd.

Ready, set, chill!

Cotton & Reed

The cocktail bar at the rum distillery adjacent to Union Market is overseen by veteran barman Lukas Smith, who offers rotating slushies priced at $12. Don’t expect any artificially flavored mixes, though. Only fresh, local ingredients and flavors go into frozen concoctions like the Germaiña Colada, with Cotton & Reed White Rum, fresh pineapple juice, unsweetened Thai coconut cream and Smith’s house made Limón de Jerez--a dry Sherry Smith acidulates to be as tart as lime juice. Sip ‘em slowly, as he points out that the slushies are about one and a half to two times as boozy as your average cocktail.

Strawberry Slushie
Recipe courtesy of Lukas Smith, barman, Cotton & Reed

  • 2 oz. Cotton & Reed White Rum
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 6-8 cleaned and trimmed strawberries
  • 8 oz. ice

Add all ingredients to a blender, run on the frappe cycle for fifteen to thirty seconds. Serve, and smile.

DNV Rooftop

At the rooftop bar at the Donovan House, beverage director Matt Allred serves up homemade popsicles he calls Selfie Sticks--which match up with social media theme of the rest of his cocktail menu. Flavors like White Sangria (with Sauvignon Blanc, cucumber, lemon juice, simple syrup and melon liqueur) are often joined by more obscure options like Scotch and coconut cream. Especially popular lately have been a combo of Arnold Palmer (lemonade and iced tea) spiked with a guest’s choice of spirit. “Vodka works, but I find flavored rums like the Hawaiian Koloa Coconut Rum and a pinch of an herbal liqueur like Hum livens up the profile,” he admits. He also mixes up Slushes like the Pocket Text Slush, with Absolut Mandarin Vodka, Drambuie, Cointreau, grapefruit, lemon, red bell pepper puree and peach bitters.

Butt Dial Slush
Recipe courtesy of Matt Allred, beverage director, DNV Rooftop

For batching slushies at home, Allred recommends a heavy duty blender, smaller ice and a ratio of two-fifths of the batched alcohol to three-fifths ice, adjusting accordingly.

  • 17 oz. Absolut Citron
  • 6 1/4 oz. Midori
  • 7 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 7 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 12 1/2 oz. mint/shiso tea
  • 22 1/2 oz. water
  • 4 tsp. Bittermens Tiki Bitters

Process with ice in a slushie machine, or in batches in a blender.

Sangria Selfie Sticks
Recipe courtesy of Matt Allred, beverage director, DNV Rooftop

This is Allred's basic recipe, which can be tweaked depending on the flavor you are looking for. A "modifying liqueur" can be anything from a citrus liqueur like Cointreau, to a bitter digestivo like Campari, to a sweeter liqueur like Midori.

  • 750 ml wine of choice
  • 6 3/4 oz. modifying liqueur
  • 6 oz. citrus juice
  • 6 oz. simple syrup
  • 6 oz. modifying juice
  • 6 oz. chopped up produce to complement flavor profile

Blend, pour into popsicle bags, and freeze.

Macon Bistro & Larder

General manager and beverage director AJ Johnson’s Sangria meets Slushie starts with a deeply-hued Spanish dry rosé that finishes with good grip. “The idea was to be refreshing yet still flavorful, because once you add ice to anything it can get a bit watery,” she says. The berries add just the right amount of natural sweetness, and honey softens the acidity once the lemon juice is added. “Anything that can be consumed over and over again without succumbing to the heat beating down on you in these months is always a winner in my book.”

Catalonian Freeze
Recipe courtesy of AJ Johnson, general manager and beverage director, Macon Bistro & Larder (4 servings)

  • 16 oz. Spanish rosé wine
  • 16 strawberries, quartered
  • 12 raspberries, whole
  • 4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 16 mint leaves
  • 3 oz. honey
  • 3 oz. Bauchant Orange Liqueur (or another orange liqueur like Cointreau)
  • 6 scoops ice
  • Mint leaves, for garnish

Add all ingredients except the garnish to a blender (Johnson uses a 60 oz. Vitamix.) Blend on variable speed 6 for 15 seconds, then switch to high speed and blend for 20 seconds. (Add more if if it’s too thin, or more wine if it’s too choppy or thick, and blend again if need be.) Pour into 4 Mason jars, and garnish each with a mint leaf.

The Salt Line

At the Capitol Riverfront New England-inspired oyster and ale house, beverage director Donato Alvarez has a frozen Shandy and a Mudslide on the menu--perfect to suck down on the covered patio. The former is pretty easy to whip up at home--though adapting it for a blender may take a little trial and error. “Start small with the amount of ice you're adding, and add more until you reach the desired texture.” Alvarez also suggests using seasonal berries or tropical fruit, and adding a splash of Cava for a little effervescence. “Definitely treat a frozen drink the same way you would a fun homemade cocktail. Play around with your favorite spirits, make interesting house-made syrups, and check out your local farmer’s market for fresh produce.”

Del’s Frozen Shandy
Recipe courtesy of Donato Alvarez, beverage director, The Salt Line

  • 4 oz. Stoli Vodka
  • 4 oz. lemon juice
  • 4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cans Narragansett Del’s Shandy
  • Rothman & Winter Cherry Liqueur, for topping

Put the first four ingredients in a blender, add ice and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, and top with the cherry liqueur.