Blending In

4 steps to making the perfect blended drinks


The blender gets a bad rap. Many a mixologist won't allow the appliance behind their bar, thanks to its association with neon-colored slushes, dispensed en masse from Slurpee machines. Sadly, this blanket ban counts out plenty of delicious drinks, including some crowd pleasers (hello, pina colada) that don't deserve the cold shoulder.

If you're looking to make the perfect poolside drinks, or just to beat the brutal heat of late July, you'll do no better than to break out the ice and fruit. Watch out for watery concoctions, though -- just follow these four steps to achieve blended drink perfection.
1.) Pick fresh fruit

Alright, there's two schools of thought here. Those in the frozen camp argue that the taste difference is negligible, but pre-frozen fruit will give you better consistency. Fresh fruit fans say that it's all about taste, and fresh fruit always tastes better. We say consistency is usually king in this arena, but you can't beat fresh, perfectly ripe ingredients.

2.) Add the ice last

Great blender drinks are all about consistency. Unfortunately, every different kind of ice will lead to different results, so you just have to pay attention to the process. Begin by combining the liquid ingredients, then the fruit; after the mixture is well incorporated, slowly add ice (use chipped or cracked ice, not whole cubes, for better consistency). Watch closely as the drink blends to ensure that you don't add too much or too little.

3.) Blend slow

Even before you add the ice, keep the blender on a low setting so that you can mind the consistency, and so that you don't accidentally over-liquify.

4.) Use the straw test

The ultimate blended drink should be sippable through a straw, as one long, perfectly-combined, icy slurp. As you're adding your ice, try it yourself at least twice. It's the only proper way to gauge.

When you've mastered the daiquiri, here are some of our favorite signature blends:

Mango Batida

1 cup fresh mango chunks, plus 1 slice for garnish
2 ounces cachaca
2 ounces sweetened condensed milk
splash of coconut milk

Combine the mango chunks, cachaca, condensed milk, and coconut milk in a blender on high for 10 seconds. Add 1 cup crushed ice and blend for 3 seconds. Pour into a rocks glass and garnish with the mango slice.

Blackberry Bramblicious

5 blackberries
1 1/2 oz Gin
1 oz Simple syrup
3/4 oz Fresh lime juice
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis

Combine the blackberries, gin, simple syrup, lime juice, and creme de cassis in a blender and blend for about 5 seconds. Add about 1 cup of ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a cocktail glass.

Recipes reprinted from 101 Blender Drinks by Kim Haasarud. Wiley Publishing, 2010.

Mentioned in this article


  • This is a poorly written article. Fruit that ends up being frozen is actually the most ripe and will have the most flavor. In addition they tend to be sweeter which is what most people are looking for in a frozen drink. In addition the colder fruit will mean that you will need to use less ice to get the proper consistency.

    As far as adding ice goes, I disagree once again. Unless you are serving the drink with a milkshake tin to hold any additional drink, you are cheating either your guest or patron by making too much. If you are dumping the extras down the drain, you are wasting the fruit, the spirits and your efforts. The authority of any spirit blog that doesn't have a single recipe with Campari in its database, seriously needs to be questioned.

    Jul 30, 2010 at 3:36 PM

  • Snooth User: Carly Wray
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    196958 864

    It's a personal-taste thing, for sure ... We've certainly heard from both camps on the fruit issue -- some mixologists who give in to using a blender still require / recommend fresh fruit specifically to dial down the sweetness. We tried both fresh and frozen fruit in the recipes listed above -- and fresh fruit came out far more appealing in the end, for both.

    And as for dumping extras down the drain ... never! :) That would just be cruel. Adding ice last is simply a means of minding the consistency.

    Jul 30, 2010 at 4:03 PM

  • Well - frozen or fresh fruits depends: if you have fresh ripe fruits, which grown locally - just go for those - however it cannot hurt to freeze these fruits before making a frozen drink [like the alchemist stated, frozen fruits would decrease the need of ice=water => less water = tastier drink] - he was also right, when he said, that frozen fruits tend to get sweeter [if same ripeness...
    In my experience, there is little difference in putting the ice first or last. But the time, not the speed makes the drink over-liquified.
    If you blender can take ice cubes [and crush them] ice cubes are also better, as they have more chilling power = less ice is required = less water = more taste!
    A batida is also not necessary a slushy drink [more on the liquid side] nor is a Piña Colada!

    And - I have to say, that I am not a big Campari fan but I do understand the Alchemist, if he says that there should be recipes.

    Anyway - until now, the Spirit didn't gave me a lot of insight on new things or impressive high quality drinks... but maybe you can ask pros like us [I think, alchemist is one as well] to make these articles better.

    I think they are written nicely, but the research could be much better!

    Jul 30, 2010 at 7:32 PM

  • Snooth User: Can2isac
    333679 129

    Who cares if it's poorly written as long there's some booze in the drink it's all good!

    Aug 05, 2010 at 6:27 PM

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