If you haven’t noticed, it’s hot out there. Really hot. What better way to escape the heat than with a frozen cocktail? Thankfully, the great bartenders and chefs of New York have found a way to elevate the standard, icy and oft saccharine sweet drinks to a whole new level. Gone are the days of simple mojitos, margaritas, and daiquiris. Instead, there’s a plethora of inventive libations, like the playful “Bourbon Street Milkshake” at Brooklyn Bowl and the colorful “Tequila Snow Cones” at Zengo. If an ice-cold beer is more your style, there’s the “Frozen Corona” at Reunion Surf Bar. No matter what drink you’re craving this summer, we’ve found a frozen one with your name on it. We’ve rounded up the best frozen cocktails in New York City for summer 2012…
The Bourbon Street Milkshake at Brooklyn Bowl
Address: 61 Wythe Ave., btwn. 11th & 12th Sts. (Brooklyn)
Phone: (718) 963-3369
How many bowling alleys have bragging rights to one of the best fried chicken dishes in New York? Leave it to the Bromberg Brothers (of Blue Ribbon fame) to spread the love to a Brooklyn bowling alley with 16 lanes and live music. As for their fried chicken, it’s a crispy-skinned thing of beauty. But if there’s one thing on the menu that just might upstage the fried chicken, it’s the “Bourbon Street Milkshake.” It’s got all the comfort of a creamy milkshake with some adult-friendly alterations to keep things exciting. There’s the shot of bourbon and a sizable dollop of Nutella, injecting a rich, praline flavor to the drink. And then, there’s the homemade ice cream made with real vanilla. They mix it all together and serve it in a chilled sundae glass. The result is one killer spiked shake, easily good enough to make you forget the bowling you came to do. At the very least, it’ll make you forget how hot it is outside.
The Strawberry Daiquiri at the MET’s Roof Garden
Address: 1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
Phone: (212) 535-7710
If there were an official drink of summer, the daiquiri would probably be it. They’re fruity and refreshing with a vibrant pop of color. We’ll be the first to admit they taste best on a beach, but a rooftop’s not a bad second choice at all when you can’t make it to the Caribbean. Especially The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roof Garden Café. This gem is a relaxed, yet elegant place to enjoy a drink outdoors with majestic views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. Lest we not forget all of the art just below. But we digress, so let’s get back to the strawberry daiquiri, which happens to be an impressively stiff drink, thanks to a generous shot of rum, and it’s just sweet enough without being cloying, given the mix of crushed ice and pureed strawberries. You can thank us later (with a daiquiri, of course).
The Oaxacan Nutcracker at Huckleberry Bar
Address: 588 Grand St., btwn. Leonard & Lorimer Sts. (Brooklyn)
Phone: (718) 218-8555
This Williamsburg bar is serious about their cocktailing. From the classics, like the “Hemingway Daiquiri,” made with white rum, maraschino liqueur, fresh lime and grapefruit juice, to the in-house originals, like the vodka-based “Tiny Dancer,” made with fresh lime and grapefruit juices and orange flower water, Huckleberry Bar is not messing around. They’re devoted to what’s in season. Their “Royal Fortune” is a tempting summer refreshment, made with tequila, fresh watermelon, and lemon juice. But on a balmy summer day, we hit up Huckleberry for a “Oaxacan Nutcracker.” A cousin of the traditional margarita, it’s so much more thanks to a mix of mezcal, a slightly sweet apricot liqueur, and freshly squeezed orange and lime juices. And of course, lots of crushed ice. Go on Mondays for drinks and movie night. Or better yet, head out back to their garden patio, a hidden sanctuary outfitted with wooden tables, lush greenery, and romantic string lighting. This just might be the perfect place to escape to when you can’t actually get away.
The Tequila Snow Cones at Zengo
Address: 622 3rd Ave., btwn. 40th & 41st Sts.
Phone: (212) 808-8110
For most people, snow cones were a childhood staple of summertime bliss. Zengo has brought them back with an adult twist, so now you can relive the good ole’ days anytime you want. They puree fresh fruit, then pour it over a mountain of crushed ice… with a shot of tequila. Zengo offers five flavors to choose from: Tamarind, Hibiscus, Strawberry, Watermelon-Thai Basil, and Shiso-Yuzu. Can’t decide which flavor to try? Good news is they also come as a flight of three, so mix-and-match to create a refreshing trio. Look for these bad boys on the dessert menu instead of the cocktail menu and feel free to order dessert first here!
The Frozen Bourbon Berry Bramble at Tipsy Parson
Address: 165 9th Ave., btwn. 19th and 20th Sts.
Phone: (212) 620-4545
If you’re craving a little Southern Comfort this summer, you’ll want to hit up Tipsy Parson for their fried pickles, shrimp n’ grits, or hush puppies. Of course, you’ll need something to wash it down, which should be the “Frozen Bourbon Berry Bramble.” Reminiscent of a mint julep, it’s made with a mix of Senator’s Club Blended Whiskey, a puree of fresh berries, mint syrup, and fresh lemon juice. The berries change depending on what’s available and in season, but we’ve seen (and sampled) everything from blueberries to Concord grapes to peaches. No matter which berries they’re using, the end result is a colorful, sorbet-like cocktail that’s as fruity as it is boozy. Sounds like the perfect combination. Now all you need is a Scarlett O’Hara-style lace fan and you’re all set to spend the afternoon relaxing, like you’re down south.
The Bangkok Daiquiri at Booker & Dax
Address: 207 Second Ave., at 13th St.
Phone: (212) 254-3500
Hidden in the back of Momofuku Ssam Bar, Booker & Dax is part bar, part science lab. Here, classic mixology techniques give way to molecular gastronomy. Liquid nitrogen turns basil into powder in the “Bangkok Daiquiri” and a 1,500-degree poker sets a simple Jägermeister drink on fire. A centrifuge infuses rum with a banana flavor and CO2 is added to a glass using a special regulator hose, producing a bubbly beverage. While almost everything on the menu here is worth trying for the wow-factor alone, our favorite libation is the “BDX Marg.” Dave Arnold, the mastermind behind Booker & Dax, discovered a special ice machine in Tokyo that he makes brilliant use of to make a one-of-a-kind margarita. First, they shave a block of ice from the machine, then add a mixture of mezcal, yellow chartruse, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice. The result is part snow-cone, part slushie — a light, and herbaceous cocktail that’s a little too easy to drink.
The Frozen Mojito at The Commodore
Address: 366 Metropolitan Ave., at Havemeyer St. (Brooklyn)
Phone: (718) 218-7632
We’ve been known to enjoy a mojito to cool down after a lazy summer day and we’re mildly obsessed with the frozen version they’re serving up at The Commodore in Williamsburg. It’s refreshingly minty and green thanks to a handful of pulverized, fresh mint. They add a little rum, toss it in the blender and out comes a outrageously good slushie. While you’re there, we suggest you sample the “Commodore” as well. A take on the pina colada, it’s made with tropical fruits, a mixture of a few sweet, light rums, and a finishing shot of amaretto. And definitely get there early, so you can snag a spot on the patio and some fried chicken to soak up all that frozen, boozy goodness.
The Frozen Corona at Reunion Surf Bar
Address: 357 West 44th St., btwn. 8th and 9th Aves.
Phone: (212) 582-3200
During these hot summer months, sometimes the best way to stay cool is the simplest — with an ice-cold beer. For us, nothing beats a chilled Corona with a slice of fresh lime to accent the flavor of the beer. At Reunion Surf Bar, a basement lounge in midtown, they’ve taken that ice cold, refreshing taste to a whole new level, serving their Coronas frozen with a squirt of fresh lime juice and garnished with a lime wedge. It resembles a snow cone, but it tastes almost exactly like that quintessential summer beer. Pair it with some fish tacos or their crispy clams, and you might just feel like you’re sitting on the beach somewhere instead of sweating it out in Hell’s Kitchen.