After dominating American culture for decades, blender cocktails are back. Follow a few simple rules, and capitalize on the Polynesian craze by throwing a tiki party for your friends.
“People have an enormous comfort zone with these drinks,” says Mark Spivak, author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History. “For many of us, they never really went out of style.” He offers some fail-safe tips for taking advantage of the popularity of blender cocktails:
- Purchase a reliable, sturdy blender. If you don’t already have one, Hamilton Beach, Kitchen Aid or Cuisinart are the best; Oster and Waring will also do the job.
- Limit your guest list. If you have a standard-size kitchen blender and you invite 50 people over, you’ll spend the entire evening making cocktails without a break. Less is more, and more enjoyable.
- Invest in some plastic tumblers. Anyone who has spent the better part of an evening cleaning up broken glass will tell you that the practicality of plastic outweighs any aesthetic considerations. Brightly-colored tumblers will be festive, and a better match for the drinks.
- Develop a house cocktail. Specialize in one drink, and do it well. You’ll save a fortune on ingredients, and you won’t be cleaning the blender every five minutes when you get a different drink request.
- Don’t use mixes! This is one of the key rules in making great cocktails: Squeeze your own lime juice, make your own simple syrup and the rewards will be out of proportion to the effort expended.
Use 1-2 cups of ice per drink, depending on the amount of liquid and size of the blender. Avoid filling the blender more than half full. The ideal consistency (smooth and creamy) can only be attained by observation and practice. When the drink it ready, serve at once; this will prevent the ice from melting and ensure that those nifty paper umbrellas stand straight up.
Mark Spivak has been the food and wine editor of Palm Beach Illustrated since 2001, educating our readers on the finer points of wine and spirits as well as reviewing the top culinary spots of South Florida. Visiting wine regions, distilleries and culinary meccas around the globe, Mark’s voice, an authoritative pen of the epicurean scene, can also be read on his blog, Global Gourmet, where he writes about his experiences and insights, exclusively on palmbeachillustrated.com.
Mark is also the author of The Affordable Wine Guide to California and the Pacific Northwest (also available as an e-book). His newest tome, Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History [Lyons Press], hit bookstands November 2012.
Iconic Spirits is a must read for any and all interested in the world of the high-proofed. The book chronicles 12 unique spirits and categories that helped forge the cocktail culture of today, telling the untold stories and the hidden tales. Each is followed with cocktail recipes, many of which are classics and genre originators.