When the mercury is pushing past 90 and it’s muggy and gross outside, a semi-frozen cocktail can be like AC in a cup. This summer, the same folks who may or may not have crugged a few glasses of frosé would like to introduce you to your new patio pounder. Yes, it’s the beer slushie. While breweries and some bars are cranking out the frozen concoctions using the same giant, swirling machines usually spotted at convenience stores and gas stations, beer slushies are not difficult to pull off at home. We talked with bar pros for guidelines to build your ultimate DIY beer slushie, ideal for slurping while watching the Independence Day fireworks.
Choose a Beer
Lower-alcohol beers are best for freezing, says Kate Amos, general manager at New York City’s Cedric’s at the Shed and certified cicerone. In general, she recommends a fruity, mild sour, such as a Berliner Weiss, gose, or fruited sour. “What’s nice about those, is most cocktails need some citrus component,” she explains, and sour beer styles have a built-in citric note. Any type of light lager, blond beer or sour style should work. “Anything that’s low-abv and mild-flavored should work.”
Keep heavier styles like stouts out of the freezer, she notes. “They tend to not be so awesome because they have a lot of hops or bittering components from coffee or roasted grains that can turn volatile if they’re frozen.”
I’m not mad at a paper umbrella either.”
Add Some Sweet and Some Sour
Technically, this step is optional, because a good beer may provide all the flavor you want. But the building blocks of a good cocktail are a sour component (like lemon or lime juice), a sweet component (like agave nectar or honey), as well as a modifier for extra flavor or color (such as fruit juice or a liqueur). In her Berliner Weisse slushie, for example, Amos uses raspberry liqueur and raspberry puree to add a purple hue and sweetness to the mix, plus a dose of lemon juice to balance it out.
Mix It, Freeze it
Break out your blender‚—or a Vitamix, if you have one. “This is the easiest and quickest way for that instant gratification beer slushie,” says Kyle Harlan, beverage director for Mission Taco Joint, a chain of six restaurants in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. However, he urges caution in adding carbonated beverages to the blender. “That can get messy,” he warns. His solution is to let the beer sit out and “go flat” before blending it with ice, stopping when the consistency is still a bit thicker than desired. He then adds a fresh can or bottle of beer at the very end, so “you get a little frozen carbonation action going in the slushy.”
Alternatively, Amos freezes the drink in an ice cube tray without additional water, then blends the cubes to a smooth, slurp-able consistency.
No blender? Harlan offers another method, which works particularly well with larger quantities: mix the drink thoroughly to blend, then place it in the freezer, stirring every 30 minutes until you reach the desired slushie consistency (usually about two hours total. “I would use this method for parties, or small gatherings of friends,” he says.
Although a garnish isn’t necessary, a colorful paper straw adds a visual appeal and a means for efficiently sucking up that slushie. “I’m not mad at a paper umbrella either,” Amos adds.
Berliner Weisse Beer Slush
Kate Amos, Cedric’s at the Shed
“This is a fun play on the traditional serving of Berliner Weisse in Berlin, where beers are served with a shot of raspberry syrup in them or on the side for blending,” Amos says. “The framboise boosts the ABV just a hair since Berliner Weisses are usually only about 4% ABV.”
10 ounces Berliner Weisse (Amos recommends Professor Fritz Briem 1809 or Freigeist Abraxxxas)
1 ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce Combier Framboise liqueur
¼ ounce raspberry puree (Perfect Puree concentrate)
Stir together all ingredients to mix thoroughly, then portion into ice cube tray. Place tray in freezer for at least an hour. When frozen, release the cubes into a blender, then blend to a smooth consistency. Pour into a 13-ounce tulip glass and serve with a straw.
Kyle Harlan, Mission Taco Joint
This recipe conveniently uses a six-pack of beer, and is ideal for serving a group of friends. If you don’t have a vessel large enough to hold the entire recipe (or if there isn’t sufficient room in your freezer), portion into two or more smaller vessels.
6 Bottles Negra Modelo
3 cups tequila
3 cups lime juice
3 cups agave nectar
6 cups water
In a large pitcher or other vessel, stir together all ingredients to mix thoroughly. Place pitcher in the freezer for two hours or until desired consistency is reached, stirring the mixture every 30 minutes. Divide among six glasses and serve with a straw.