Here's Why Your Frozen Drink Separated

Frozen drinks are a delightful way to cool off during the hot-weather months, but they're easier to enjoy than they are to make. Some foods blend better than others, there are some ingredients that can't be blended at all, and there are even special blending techniques that you should follow to get the best results. Then, after all that, your frozen drink still separates, leaving layers of liquid that are too thick or too watery. When this happens, know that it isn't your fault — it's just a matter of science. Separation occurs due to the variation in density between different parts of your drink.

When you blend a frozen drink, you are breaking down and combining many ingredients into one. Interspersed within the final liquid are all of the bits of the various food items — fruits, vegetables, milks or juices, and so on — each with its own density. If given enough time, the pieces of more dense items will sink toward the bottom, while less dense items will float to the top, creating an unpleasant separation. There is no way to prevent separation entirely; ice crystals in the drink act as a buffer to keep everything in place, but once they melt, all bets are off. You can, however, slow down the process by taking your time when blending your frozen drink to make sure all of the ingredients are as thoroughly integrated with one another as possible.

How to fix a separated drink

If you find that your frozen drink has separated before you've had the chance to enjoy it, there's no need to pour it down the drain. You can take one of several approaches to return it to its former glory. For thinner, more homogenous drinks, like a frozen margarita, giving the beverage a quick stir with a straw or a spoon can quickly recombine the stratified ingredients and create a smooth texture once more.

Some drinks, like smoothies and milkshakes, are too thick for the stirring approach. Doing so will simply create a lumpy mess; however, they are still salvageable. To fix these drinks, all you have to do is return them to the blender and blitz them on a moderate speed until they appear to be the proper consistency again. If you are still struggling to achieve the right texture, you can add in a little bit of whatever liquid you used as the base of your drink in order to loosen it.