I have the worst blender this side of Lady Bird Lake.
Seriously, my low-end model could barely handle the salsas I was making a few weeks ago for a story, much less a decent smoothie or ice for a frozen adult beverage.
I was poking around on Instagram last week, looking for culinary inspiration through the #Austin360Cooks hashtag, and stumbled upon this beauty from Austin blogger Becca Davis (@twoplacesatonceblog), who writes about her cooking at twoplacesatonceblog.com.
When it comes to purees, I get by with a Cuisinart food processor, but some things, like ice for a frozen margarita or daiquiri, you just don’t blend in a food processor, and the last time I checked, you can’t make a frozen margarita or a daiquiri without ice. It turns out that Davis had a sub-par blender, too, and she recently upgraded. I’ve been on the market for a new blender for a while, and thought I should just pinch my pennies for a Vitamix, which is easily at the top of the line for consumer blenders.
After Davis wrote a gushing post about a new blender she recently purchased that just so happened to included a recipe for a gin-based frozen drink (insert heart-eyed emoji), I hopped over to her Instagram account to ask which blender she bought, fully expecting her to say a Vitamix.
Turns out, it wasn’t a $500 Vitamix. It was a $125 Ninja, a three-speed professional series with a 72-ounce pitcher, that’s powerful enough to turn a blender full of ice and frozen fruit into a slushy with smooth, even ice crystals. When I try to make these now, I get all kinds of uneven ice chunks, like I hacked a block of ice with a potato masher. That’s not what I want a slushy.
Now that we’re starting to see the sun a little more and the summer heat is creeping in, maybe it’s time to upgrade my own blender and frozen-drink-recipe catalog. Later this summer, we’re going to have a big rocks-versus-frozen story that will examine some of the science behind Austin’s signature summer cocktail. In the meantime, do you have any favorite margarita (or other frozen drink) recipes or tips? Have an affordable blender you think I should know about? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter or Instagram @broylesa.
Tropical Fruit and Gin Slushies
2 1/2 cups ice
1 can (1 1/2 cups) La Croix (any flavor, such as peach)
1/2 cup gin
5 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup lime juice
10 oz. frozen tropical fruit
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
— Becca Davis, Two Places At Once (twoplacesatonceblog.com)