As a child, the start of summer always meant one thing: frozen ice pops! Now that I’m an adult, my love for sweet chilly treats hasn’t changed much, save for one small detail… alcohol. Whether on the beach or in your own backyard, I’ve found that the best way to beat the summer swelter are frozen cocktails melting in your hand. That first whir of the blender is the classic sound of laid-back days in the sun and fun-filled nights with friends and family.
But, we didn’t always have ice and blenders, you know. Prior to the 1800s, liquor was typically served tepid. Europeans believed that the warmth of the drink would draw the heat from our bodies and make us cool. However, in 1806, Boston businessman Frederic ‘The Ice King’ Tudor had his own ideas. He concocted the brilliant plan to ship the ice from Massachusetts lakes and rivers to warmer climates, like the Caribbean. Thus, the frozen drink was born.
The first slushy drink was called “The Smash”. A simpler take on the Mint Julep, it incorporates sugar, water, bourbon, and fresh mint served over crushed ice. After making its appearance in the mid-1830s, it peaked in popularity between the 1840s and 1860s. That’s when America’s obsession with frozen cocktails really took off.