The Key To Better Blended Frozen Cocktails Is Using Dry Sugar

Even those of us who generally prefer our cocktails shaken and served straight up have to admit that there is a certain decadent pleasure in sipping an icy cold frozen drink outside on a hot summer day. Or, admittedly, even inside on a wintry day to evoke a sunshiny mood. But, as visually appealing as frozen drinks are and as nicely as they play with spicy foods, it can be tricky to achieve the perfect balance of sour and sweet in a blended frozen cocktail. The colder a drink is, the harder our taste buds have to work to discern sweetness. The extreme cold of a frozen drink will dull your taste buds a bit, so the proportions of ingredients used in the drink may need to be adjusted. 

A typical margarita recipe, for example, calls for equal parts sour (lime juice) and sweet. But, to optimize the balance of sour and sweet when making that drink frozen, try increasing the amount of dry sugar by about 50%. And, instead of relying on standard simple syrup, which is a 50/50 blend of granulated sugar dissolved in water, try going with straight sugar.

Make the best sweet frozen drinks

Regular granulated sugar will work well enough in a frozen drink recipe, but you can also try demerara or turbinado sugars, which are less processed and have more complicated flavor profiles. If you're concerned about the sugar dissolving properly in the blender, you can dissolve it in the alcohol first. You can also try swapping out the simple syrup for agave syrup, which is slightly sweeter with subtle caramel flavors. A mixture of fruit juices and honey or maple syrup can also be substituted, as can molasses for a bolder taste.

And don't forget about the natural sweetness fruit adds to a frozen drink. If your recipe calls for fruit, always start with frozen fruit, whether you buy it in a bag at the grocery store or freeze fresh ingredients yourself. Adding frozen fruit rather than fruit at room temperature cuts down on the amount of ice you'll need to blend your drink, resulting in a frozen beverage with sweeter, more prominent flavors. As a bonus, you'll also end up with a thicker, more pleasing consistency.