Drinks For the Last Days of Summer | by afrobella | Sep, 2021


Days are getting shorter and the night breeze has taken on a chill. The trees across the street from my window are already beginning to change from vibrant green to yellow. Right now there are days in the 80 degree range in the upcoming week ahead, but I already know what time it is. Fourth quarter, with colder seasons on the immediate horizon.

Summer began on June 20 and officially ends this year on September 22nd, but Labor Day — September 6th — is always a turning point towards the end. This is prime time for back-to-school sales and then it’s a slippery slope to apple cider and pumpkin spice season. As this upside down, too much, crazy, cruel summer comes to an end, I’m trying to enjoy these last vestiges of sunny afternoons. Let’s get into some drinks for the last days of summer — the slushier, the better.

Let’s get into some drinks for the last days of summer — the slushier, the better.

First up, frosé. Frozen rosé wine has been having a moment for the past several summers. I don’t recall exactly when I first heard the term, but there’s no doubt that frosé has become THE drink of the summer for so many. Reportedly frosé was created in 2016 in NYC, when the folks at Bar Primi got a slushie machine. The rest is history. The drink is incredibly easy to make and here’s how I do it — choose your variety of rosé wine, add frozen strawberries, and blend well. Some folks add vodka to make it boozier, some add sugar or syrup for more sweetness, but I recommend you make it to taste your own way with a wine you enjoy and strengthen or sweeten to taste as you go and remember the frozen fruit will add quite a bit of sweetness as well.

Chicago’s popular and stylish Beatnik West Town and Beatnik on the River restaurants are known and celebrated for their Le Rose Three Way — three varieties of wine, rosado syrup and lavender bitters mixed and presented in a beautiful crystal pitcher as a cocktail for the table. Your at-home frosé can be stirred and served over ice, if that’s your preference.

I love the idea of taking frosé up a notch to make freeze pops or popsicles! The possibilities are endless and delicious.

If you’re looking for a blended drink with a nice slushy base, Jeni’s Ice Cream recommends using their non-alcoholic frosé sorbet as the beginning of your own frosé — brilliant! We love a timesaver. Their sorbet is made from rosé wine juice with pear, strawberry, and watermelon, but it’s non-alcoholic, so add your wine and/or vodka to taste.

Don’t sleep on sorbet as a possible cocktail ingredient for your end-of-summer drink! It can take the flavor and frostiness up another level. One of my late father-in-law’s favorite things to do in Vegas was go to this random bar in the Venetian to order a drink called the sorbetini, sorbet blended with your alcohol of choice — they offered lemon sorbet and vodka, watermelon and tequila, green apple with vodka, or my father-in-law’s favorite, pineapple sorbet and coconut rum. We have made this at home several times, and it’s such a treat on hot and steamy days.

A less elegant but more down-home approach to frozen wine and slushy drinks became popular earlier this summer thanks to an Aldi Facebook group. Have you heard about these “adult juice pouches” people have been making? It’s been a thing, apparently! These are being made with fruity wine found at Aldi, added to their frozen fruit bags. It doesn’t appear that these are necessarily blended drinks, and reports indicate it can be a chunky, sloppy experience. Knowing my personal clumsy factor, I think I’d prefer to pour out the wine and the fruit, blend it all together and serve my drinks in a festive non-breakable glass for outdoor enjoyment. More effort, but probably worth it IMO.

If you’re looking to try something frozen, sweet, and potent, New York based alcohol ice cream brand Tipsy Scoop is all about boozy desserts. For example, their boozy backyard BBQ pack includes a mango margarita sorbet, cake batter vodka martini ice cream, and a strawberry sangria sorbet that sounds delightful. This summer they partnered with California-based sparkling wine brand Mumm Napa on some special frosé popsicles that combined their sparkling wine with fruit-forward notes, with fresh strawberries and lemon. I love the idea of taking frosé up a notch to make freeze pops or popsicles! The possibilities are endless and delicious. Sounds like a winning plan for a hot day, closing out the season with an end-of-summer cool down. Cheers!

5 o’Clock Somewhere is ZORA’s celebration of food, drink and fun! Check back here for more recipes and recommendations. Cheers!

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