If there’s any one tool behind the bar that is unfairly maligned on a daily basis, other than myself, it’s the blender. Most modern cocktail bars eschew the blender, often citing—rightfully so—the disruptive nature of the noise. And while slushy machines are making a huge comeback in cocktail bars these days, it’s difficult to find a bartender who doesn’t have an irrational hatred of the poor blender.
Blenders are so much more useful than for just cranking out slushy drinks. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are few things I love more than a good Piña Colada or blended Margarita. But if that’s all you’re doing with your blender you’re not getting the most out of it.
Here’s something else that your blender is good for: hosting a party and making a large batch of cocktails quickly and easily. I like to think of a blender as a really large cocktail shaker, a tool, like myself, capable of making a bunch of delicious drinks at once.
The trick to using a blender to mix cocktails is that you need to account for dilution. So I like to add just enough ice to melt and chill the drink, without actually turning it into a slushy. When friends come over and I want to whip up some quick cocktails for the group without spending the whole evening huddled over the sink shaking drinks, I can crank them out four to six at a time and serve everyone at once. And the beauty is, it works with just about any shaken cocktail you can think of, but I’ll do you a solid and give you a recipe for my batched Tom Collins recipe.
Tom Collins for Four
• 1 c. gin (I love using Hayman’s Old Tom for this)
• ½ c. fresh lemon juice
• 3 oz. 2:1 simple syrup
• 1 c. chilled sparkling water
Combine all ingredients but the sparkling water in a blender with ½ cup cracked ice cubes. Blend on high speed until all of the ice has melted (you’ll be able to tell by the sound the blender makes). While the drink is mixing, pour 2 oz. of the chilled mineral water into each of four chilled Collins glasses and garnish with a lime wedge. Once drink is finished mixing, divide into each of the glasses and fill with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon peel or wedge and serve with a straw.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the bar manager at Pépé le Moko and Clyde Common, the acclaimed gastropub at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon. He is also author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.
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