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Blended Drink

Blended Drink Masterpieces



The Back Story of Blended
Drink Masterpieces

It is perhaps the most important innovation to hit the bar since the bottle opener. It’s the electric blender, a machine that has single-handedly added another dimension to drink making. In the hands of a skilled practitioner, an electric blender is capable of marvelous things. Where would civilization be without such tempting libations as swirls, meltdowns and adult milkshakes, the likes of which include everything from ice cream Brandy Alexanders, Grasshoppers and Toasted Almonds to blended Mudslides, Cappuccinos and Banana Daiquiris?

The arrival of “frozen” concoctions revolutionized drink making. Once the only options you had on most cocktails was preparing them straight up or on the rocks. Now blended drinks are more popular than ever.

Blended or frozen concoctions are about the most advantageous type of drink. They’re bigger than most drinks, and presented with a high-perceived value. The mechanics of preparing frozen drinks allows you a fuller range of ingredient options. As a result, most are bursting with flavor. The glassware in which they’re served further enhances their great looking appearance. When you consider that they’re usually lower in alcohol than most other types of mixed drinks, you’re left with the unmistakable conclusion that blended drinks make a lot of sense in this day and age.


Blender technology has advanced such that today’s machines are powerful and capable of thoroughly crushing ice into miniscule particles, thereby homogenizing the ice with the drink ingredients. The result is a cocktail that won’t separate as often happens with drinks made in underpowered, or poorly maintained blenders. Separating is an all too common occurrence where the crushed ice rises to the top of the drink and the other ingredients sink to the bottom.


How to Make the Best Blended Drinks

A well-prepared blended drink is a thing of beauty. This begs the question, however, how can you tell if a blended drink has been prepared well? The first indicator is a slushy, smooth consistency, one in which all of the ice seems crushed into minute pieces. Also, the ingredients should be thoroughly homogenized. This is especially important in drinks calling for the use of fresh fruit. A well-made blended drink will have a uniform appearance and the ingredients and ice will remain fully integrated.

Preparing consistently blended drinks requires some specific guidelines. Among the factors that affect consistency none are more crucial than the ratio of liquid ingredients to the amount of ice used. Roughly speaking, you should use about equal amounts of liquid and ice in a drink. If you use too much ice the resulting drink will be too thick, use too little and the drink will be watery and thin. Therefore, to make blended drinks consistently, care must be taken to use the same amount of ice each time. Specifying the amount of ice is typically measured in scoops and ounces.

How long drinks are blended will differ depending on the type of blender being used. Many high-end blenders are equipped with a timer for that very reason.

The blender has the remarkable capacity of transforming any combination of ingredients into a frozen work of art. To that end, here are the best kept secrets behind America’s greatest blended drinks.

  • Blended Espresso Shakes and Frozen Cappuccinos — If it seems as if an espresso machine and a blender have nothing in common other than a power cord, it’s time to give the matter some more thought. They both are essential drink making equipment and the opportunity to use espresso coffee in blended drinks is an opportunity too rich to pass up.
       Frozen cappuccinos are an excellent vehicle around which to build a noteworthy signature drink. So go ahead, add a few shots of espresso to your next vanilla milkshake, or blended Brandy Alexander. The world will be better off for it.
  • Ice Cream Drinks — Even in this day and age of health awareness, chefs still prepare trays of tempting desserts. Few people go out to dinner with the intent to calorie-bulk on a dessert. Yet, when faced with devilishly irresistible treats, their heads nod yes as they make their selections.
       Ice cream is an ideal vehicle for liqueurs and distilled spirits. Its sweet, creamy consistency accepts a wide variety of flavors, so being extremely creative is easy.
       Vanilla ice cream is most frequently used in specialty drinks because it provides a somewhat neutral base upon which a wide array of flavors can be added. There is, however, no reason to work exclusively with vanilla ice cream. In addition to ice cream, there’s also frozen yogurt, sherbet and sorbet to consider. Each will lend a different taste and texture to the concoction.
       There are few creative limitations when choosing flavorings for ice cream drinks. In addition to using
    fresh fruit, options include chocolate, caramel, and butterscotch syrup, peanut butter, iced coffee or espresso, crushed cookies and candy bars.
       The backbar is also rich with possibilities. Nothing could be more ideally suited to creating world-class ice cream libations than coffee liqueurs such as Kahlúa and Tia Maria. Yet, why stop there? Midori is marvelous when paired with fresh kiwis and lime sherbet, or papayas with lemon sorbet. Consider pairing coconut rum with chocolate ice cream and Mandarin oranges, or making a specialty float using Malibu, cola and ice cream.
       In many respects, ice cream drinks are about exceeding expectations and indulging your guests’ desires. Thoroughly decadent and loaded with pleasure, ice cream libations are guaranteed to do just that.
  • Adult Smoothies — These aren’t the smoothies that your momma used to make for you. If smoothies can be customized with one or more nutritious additives, why can’t you doctor them with a little Kahlúa, Midori or a bracer of Maker’s Mark?
       The results are in. Smoothies do taste considerably better with an additional shot or two from the bar. Now some people might feel somewhat guilty drinking a smoothie that just plain tastes great with no overriding health claims. There’s no reason that you can’t add antioxidants, such as vitamins A, E and beta-carotene, or fiber, such as wheat germ and oat bran, or sources of protein, such as bee pollen, brewers yeast and soy. Also falling into the beneficial range are flaxseed oil, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, lecithin, protein powder, wheat grass, echinacea, calcium, folic acid and vitamins B, C, D and K.
       Then there are smoothie modifiers that just plain taste great. They may be intended to add flavor or provide a welcome touch of sweetness. Either way, these are ingredients that are bound to satisfy the kid in all of us. This tasty category includes, but is not limited to chocolate or caramel sauce, coffee, agave nectar, espresso coffee, Reese’s peanut butter cups, candy bars, walnuts, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, grenadine, chai tea, coconut cream, coconut milk, peanut butter, raspberry or strawberry preserves, honey, malted milk powder, maple syrup, cookies, unsweetened coconut and brown sugar.
       While drinking adult smoothies might not make you healthier, they will certainly make you feel better.
  • Blended Classics Cocktails — While blended Margaritas, Daiquiris and Piña Coladas get most of the attention, innovators are also promoting blended variations of other well-established specialties. A frozen Long Island Iced Tea is fast becoming a popular favorite. The Rum Runner is also excellent served frozen, so too are tropical classics such as the Mai Tai, Zombie, and Scorpion. Blending with ice lowers their potency, while their broad range of flavors completely fills the glass. In the summer, take your favorite Sangria recipe and try serving it blended. For an effervescent twist, add a splash of Champagne to these classics.
  • Swirls — Swirling does to a frozen drink what layering Kahlúa, Baileys and Grand Mariner does for the B-52. It adds pizzazz and enhances the drink’s eye appeal. Swirling involves preparing two different drinks simultaneously in two different blenders, and then pouring them together in the same specialty glass. The effect is dramatic and greatly enhances the resulting drink’s presentation. Among the original swirled recipes is the Pain in the Butt, a sensational blend of a Rum Runner and a Strawberry Daiquiri. The key to a great swirl is marrying together two different colored drinks with complementary tastes.
  • Frozen Lemonade — One of America’s favorite potables, lemonade is an exceptionally versatile mixer and perfectly suited for blending. Blending lemonade with ice and a spirit or two is ideal for the summer months. Bourbon and frozen lemonade makes an interesting variation on a whiskey sour. Consider blending lemonade with Midori or Amaretto. Lemonade also marries well with tequila, light rum, and dark rums, such as Myers’s and Appleton Estate.