There’s nothing like that first G&T or dark-and-stormy of the summer. But by the time Independence Day rolls around, you’re tired of those warm-weather standards. It’s time to expand—blur?—your horizons with refreshing “hard” smoothies.
Booze-ifying your favorite blends is often as easy as adding a little rum or vodka, says Colleen Graham, cocktails expert at About.com. Just stay away from certain liquors. “Whiskey, brandy, and gin do not typically find their way into a blender, and there’s a good reason for that,” Graham says. “They simply don’t work in most instances.”
If you’re already an accomplished smoothie maker, you have a good idea of those fruits and vegetables that pair well. “Experiment,” Graham says. “Just avoid overloading the blender with ingredients or too many fruits.”
If you’re just starting out, she suggests keeping things simple with a few basic ingredients. Vodka tends to pair well with citrus fruits and berries, while rum is a good choice for banana- and dairy-based concoctions. Graham also recommends trying out flavored vodkas and rums. “There are some great varieties available if you just step away from the straight stuff for a drink or two.”
To get you started, here are two of her favorite summertime smoothie recipes:
THE FROZEN ROCK LOBSTER
Combine one cup ice, one ounce coconut rum, .5 ounce banana liquor, a dash of grenadine, half a banana, a little OJ and a little pineapple juice in a blender. Mix well, pour in a highball glass and float a little (or a lot) of dark rum on top. A refreshing, fruity blast.
Combine one cup ice, once ounce dark rum, one ounce Kahlua, one ounce dark crème de cacao, two ounces cream of coconut and two ounces milk. Blend and serve. Kind of like if The Dude made a White Russian-inspired version of a piña colada. -
Of course, to make any of these drinks you’ll need a blender. Here are three that’ll get the job done and then some. You could go with cheaper “bullet”-style mixers. But if you’re making cocktails, hopefully you’ll need enough to serve more than just yourself.
BREVILLE HEMISPHERE CONTROL
Not all blenders are powerful enough to crush ice—a must for many frozen smoothies and cocktails. This offering from Breville has the power to get the job done, and handsome looks you’d be proud to show off to your drinking buddies.
BLENDTEC DESIGNER 625
It’s not the flashiest blender on the market. But what it lacks in pizazz it makes up for in power. Strong enough to pull double-duty as a food processor, this blender offers a lot for an admittedly hefty price. Somewhat sweetening the deal: an eight-year warranty—a rarity in an age when most small appliances seem to break down after a year or two.
OSTER VERSA PERFORMANCE BLENDER
It doesn’t have the power of the other two blenders on this list. And it’s a slight step down in quality and esthetics. But it performs damn well for the price, and comes with attachments—some more cumbersome than others—that allow it to function as a traditional blender or single-serve smoothie maker.