Summer has been a bit of cruel mistress this year. With blinding heat waves one minute, apocalyptic thunderstorms the next, and at least a few occasions when we’ve had to dig out a sweater from the back of the closet, it hasn’t all been partying poolside. But, with yet another frigid New England winter just around the corner, we're thinking we'd better make the most of these last few days of summer — and saddle up to the bar for a fruity frozen cocktail or three.
Nicole Lebedevitch — GM and former head bartender at Kenmore Square’s vivacious craft cocktail haunt The Hawthorne — is a passionate devotee of all things blended.
“Our message down here has always been saying ‘yes’ to anything,” she says. “If we have it and we can do it, we’re making it.”
Armed with a selection of drinks your inner "Copacabana" diehard needs to get familiar with (the bright blue Electric Boomerang Banana, for one), Lebedevitch and her team seek to rid the drinking world of the blended-drink-as-chain-restaurant-gimmick-or-beachfront-booze-of-choice stereotypes. These are serious drinks for not-so-serious drinkers.
“People see that drink go through the room, and they want it,” she says. “And it takes just as much thought and energy and decision-making to make a good cocktail in a blender. You want to think about what is going to make all of these flavors come together, and it comes down to using little tricks, like using frozen fruit and cream to bring that flavor and texture.”
So not only is it as complex and delicious as any cocktail on the block, it’s got plastic monkeys hanging off the rim and a straw the likes of which you coveted intensely as a kid. Win, win and win.
Bumps in the road to blended bliss have included everything from the type of ice (crushed ice reigns supreme over standard cold draft ice, which is too dense to break down correctly) to the mixing speed (high speed means smooth texture, low speed means slush), but the triumphs far outweigh the flops. The Miami Vice, for starters, is a stunning piña colada/strawberry daiquiri lovefest in one glass. “Two guilty pleasures in one!” Lebedevitch says with a grin.
“Frozen cocktails are not just a summer thing,” she adds. “All cocktails are cold anyway if you think about it, so why is frozen any different? I want to look into what you can do in the wintertime."
Where to drink
Citizen Public House
Currently running in their slushie machine and Chartreuse Strawberry Daiquiri (rum, green chartreuse, strawberry syrup and fresh lime juice) and Fernet Pina Colada (rum, Fernet Branca, cream of coconut, fresh lime and pineapple juice).
Belly Wine Bar
The Kendall Square mainstay has been serving up daiquiris on the patio every Wednesday and Thursday night this summer. Tonight, they’re having a closing party for the stand. From 7 to 11 p.m. you can score $15 all-you-can-eat food plus your first daiquiri. Reservations limited. To purchase tickets, visit daiquiristandclosing-eorg.eventbrite.com.
Lone Star Taco Bar
Even in Allston, land of the PBR, it’s always a good time for a frozen margarita. The offerings under the buffalo are in constant rotation, but last time we checked, it was a strawberry mint 'rita.