With record temperatures expected in the UK this weekend, it’s time to get serious about staying cool. If slushies are too lurid, here are some delicious frozen drinks to try
T his weekend is poised to be deeply unpleasant for everyone in the UK. The heat will be blistering and relentless, and we will all be looking to cool down in any way we can. Room temperature drinks will no longer cut it. We need to get serious, and that means cracking out the frozen variety. However, shop-bought slushies are often fluorescent, full of chemicals and wildly unpalatable. Instead, let’s make our own. Below you’ll find 10 grown-up, sophisticated and refreshing non-alcoholic frozen drinks to get you through the next few days. May God have mercy on our souls.
Four years ago, this newspaper rounded up six food writers and asked them for their favourite cooling drinks. They’re all worth a try, but for the purposes of this list I’m going to focus on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s strawberry snifter. You can make it in seconds: juice three oranges and one and a half lemons, and blend with three handfuls of strawberries and as many ice cubes as you can manage. The resulting drink is not only sweet but gorgeous to look at. Imagine looking at this in a jug beaded with condensation. How could you not?
A lot of slushy recipes will have you prepare the base of the drink before blending it with ice. Rachel Gurjar’s citrus slushy, on the other hand, does something slightly ingenious with the ingredients. The citrus components (oranges and lemons) are peeled, sliced into rounds and then frozen. And this is what’s blended. Admittedly you do need a few ice cubes to bulk it out, but the resulting drink – sweetened with maple syrup, but complicated with salt and cayenne pepper – is the exact opposite of a Tango Ice Blast.
While we’re talking about complicated drinks, let’s bring in Savor the Flavour’s frozen virgin jalapeño margarita. Without tequila, this drink is heavy on the lime – with whole limes, lime juice and limeade all used – but the fun part is in the jalapeño peppers that are sliced up and stirred through at the last moment. Should you eat chilli peppers on the hottest weekend of the year? Probably not? Will you? Hey, that’s up to you. I’m not your dad.
Then again, if you do want to try something simultaneously spicy and cold, Good Housekeeping’s frozen virgin mary might just be for you. Whiz up some ice cubes with vegetable juice (I’d go tomato, as is traditional), horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and hot sauce, and serve. In all honesty I’m too scared to try this, but surely one of you is brave enough to give it a go.
So far, these drinks have all required the addition of extra sugar. If that’s something you’d rather avoid, you should check out Fit As a Mama Bear’s recipe for fizzy watermelon slushies. This couldn’t be easier. Chunk up a watermelon however you want, hull a few strawberries then blend with ice and top up with sparkling water. No sugar. No syrup. Easy.
So far these drinks have all been fruit-based. If you’re craving dairy, here’s Somewhat Simple’s recipe for a non-alcoholic dirty monkey. Banana, milk and chocolate syrup, blended with ice and topped with whipped cream. Congratulations on having a much sterner constitution than me in a heatwave.
If that isn’t enough for you, try the virgin miami vice cocktail from The Spruce Eats. There’s milk in this, too, but also coconut cream, pineapple juice and strawberry puree. The addition of the fruit makes this a lot more refreshing than its other ingredients would have you believe. Plus – and I’m fully aware that this will repel a lot of you – the strawberry puree is poured over at the end, giving the drink a deeply Instagrammable two-tone look. Sorry.
While we’re here, let’s push this conceit to its logical conclusion with CKKitchen’s virgin mudslide. This sits right on the brink between drink and dessert; think cream, cherries, syrup, shaved chocolate, with the frozen component coming in the form of ice-cream. Drink it, eat it with a straw, it doesn’t matter. Honestly, whatever gets you through the weekend.
Because I am nothing but a traditionalist, let me remind you that the original frozen drink is a smoothie. BBC Good Food has a very classy version that uses frozen blackberries (they’re in season now! Go outside and fill a bucket!) along with stem ginger and pomegranate juice. If nothing else, it will make for a good, cooling breakfast when you arise after yet another night of boiling sleeplessness.
Finally, allow me to introduce you to the lowest effort slushy ever. It might not even technically qualify as a recipe – in truth it’s more of a technique – but here we are anyway. Nine years ago, Lifehacker published a post claiming that you can make a perfectly decent slushy by getting a bottle of any fizzy drink, shaking it as hard as you can, then immediately putting it in the freezer. When it’s almost frozen (and timing here is key), whip it out and pour it, and the drink will instantly become slush before your very eyes.