The secret is out. It’s the best thing you’ll drink this year.
Story by Fred Minnick
When it comes to what we drink, I’m a curmudgeon. I hate vodka with a passion so unhealthy that my doctor thinks I should seek therapy. Flavored whiskey is the devil with horns so big they poke the sun. And so-called new age, rapid-aging techniques seek to destroy the better-tasting methods of traditional bourbon making. These are my tenets, and I stand by them.
So, what I am about to reveal could greatly damage my reputation amongst the fellow curmudgeons. I actually fear another sitting-by-the-fireplace, reading-the-newspaper guy, with a stiff neat bourbon in hand, may read this and call up the society of “We Hate Vodka” and discontinue my membership. Here goes…
I love bourbon slushies!
That’s right. The cold and refreshing bourbon slushie is a godsend that quenches the thirst unlike any other drink on the planet.
When I was first introduced to a bourbon slushie almost 10 years ago, my hardened curmudgeon soul refused to put such against my lips. I was a straight bourbon drinker—hear me roar—and after all: I couldn’t dare dip so low.
Then, one day, when nobody was looking, I took a small paper cup, walked to a rotating bourbon slushie machine, and pulled the handle. What oozed out changed my life. And I started questioning my ways.
Had I gone soft? Was there a dent in my curmudgeon armor?
Oh, how I worried about the consequences. So, I didn’t order these in public. I only made them at home. And sometimes, in fear of my wife making fun of me, I hid this newfound hobby from my family. The shame I carried!
But I washed away that worry with more bourbon slushies, and I’m telling you that this will be the single greatest thing you’ll drink all summer. So, get your blender and some ice, and let’s go blending.
The Blender and Ice
The key to a good bourbon slushie is the blender. My household has a Ninja, and that thing would cut through a tank if given the opportunity. You want durable blades and a fast motor. If you use a 1985 standard blender, throw it away and get a new one. You’re about to abuse the heck out of that thing, and it’s not fair to the vintage blender.
Next, get your ice. The better you prepare your ice for the blender, the more slushie-like you’ll get it. Whether you get gas station ice or ice straight from the fridge, you want to break it down as much as possible. Get a rag or towel, put the ice in there, and pound it with a meat tenderizer. That will break up the ice really well, and also make it easier on your blender.
Selecting the bourbon for your bourbon slushie is no joke.You need proof of at least 100 or higher. Bourbons under 100 proof simply get lost in the ice. You need something powerful!
My go-to bourbon slushie whiskey is Old Grand-Dad 114, an inexpensive pour that packs a punch. I’m also fond of Four Roses Single Barrel, which is a 100-proof beauty with a cinnamon note that stands up to the melting ice.
You will also want to stay away from super-expensive bourbons. I love a George T. Stagg as much as the next fella, but you will lose its nuance in the blender.
The Other Ingredients
The key to making a good slushie is basically to follow a traditional cocktail recipe, add ice, and blend. I love a good Brown Derby: ice, grapefruit juice, honey, and bourbon.
I think it may make a better slushie than a cocktail. I also love a straight ice and bourbon slushie.
But the winner-winner, chicken dinner is brown sugar. I don’t know what it is about brown sugar, but it becomes magical in a slushie. You can turn it into a syrup or throw in a couple of teaspoons for a granular brown sugar fix, and it melds with the bourbon as if they are one.
Of course, if you’re not in the mood to make one, you can always go to 7-Eleven, grab a slushie, and pour in a shot or two of the good stuff. I’ve done that, too, but don’t tell anyone. I’m trying to keep my “bourbon curmudgeon cred.”
Sweet Bourbon Ginger Slushie (Makes 4 to 5 drinks)
1 cup 100-proof (or higher) bourbon
1 cup ice
1/4 cup black tea (non-pungent type)
1/4 cup Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
Place ingredients in blender and blend until it’s as smooth as you want.