Yes, I wrote a book about everything you can make in a blender. It’s a very practical, useful book, and has a whole chapter on making blended cocktails, along with every other course, even body care.
So It may be surprising that I want to talk about using an ice cream maker to make a cocktail. But when I heard that using the ice cream maker for boozy drinks was a thing, I wanted to try it. So, if you have an ice cream maker and like really smooth and thick boozy slushies, read on.
If you have a Vitamix, please check out my post about making this drink in the blender. It’s great.
The first time I had a boozy slush was in New Orleans. It was 1984 and croissants were the rage. My friends and I went looking for lunch and found a place that made all their sandwiches on croissants, and had an entire wall of rotating slushy drums, each one filled with a popular cocktail. I could hardly believe the boldness of the Crescent City, offering up devastating drinks all day long. They even had a drive through window, so you could get a slushie Pina Colada or Zombie to drink in the car.
Things were different then.
We went there every day, for our sandwiches and crazy sweet, boozy drinks. We were young and on vacation. What can I say. I got a slushy pina colada every time. The slushies planted a seed in my mind, and when I got home, I get a blender and experimented with making fresh fruit and real ingredients into blended drinks. It would be years before I got my Vitamix and the cocktail revival would remind me of all those pina colada experiments.
How to Make Boozy Slushes in the Ice Cream Maker
Any blender drink recipe can be switched over to be a slushy in the ice cream maker. If you are wondering what the difference is, just think about those store-bought slushies. The texture is velvety smooth, and the flavors are intense. That’s because churning makes the particle size in the mix a little smaller, and you aren’t grinding up ice cubes. In this recipe, you will use water, but you can always use a more flavorful liquid, like apple of white grape juice, for a stronger flavor punch.
If you want to make another blender recipe into an ice cream machine slushie, use these guidelines:
- if the recipe calls for 2 cups ice cubes, use 1 cup water or other liquid.
- Either make a syrup by melting sugar into the water or liquid, or use agave syrup in place of sugar, for a smooth texture.
- Go ahead and use the blender to puree fruit for your cocktail, and season it with a little sweetener and lemon, to taste. Use the same proportions of fruit puree as water.
- Use about 1 1/2 tablespoons of vodka or high proof booze with each cup of liquid, for roughly 7.5 % alcohol content overall. You need that much alcohol to keep it from freezing solid.
Lemon-Thyme Slushy in an Ice Cream Maker
This makes 8 servings, but your ice cream make will probably only hold half of it at a time. You can churn up four cups at a time, and since it only takes 20 minutes to freeze, you can always make the rest if your guests want seconds. It can also be churned and stored in the freezer in mason jars, ready to be spooned into glasses.
Makes 8 servings
- Fine-mesh sieve
- 4 margarita glasses
Lemon Thyme Syrup
4 cups water 750 mL
1 cup granulated sugar 250 mL
Strips of zest from 1⁄2 large lemon (see tip)
35 sprigs fresh thyme 35
11⁄4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice 300 mL
4 oz vodka 120 mL
4 oz limoncello 120 mL
4 sprigs fresh thyme 4
- For the syrup, place the water and sugar in a 2 quart pot and bring to a boil, stirring, over medium-high heat. When the sugar is dissolved, take off the heat.
- Place the lemon zest and thyme in an 8-cup heatproof container and pour in the hot syrup. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, pressing the zest and thyme up against the sides of the cup to release the flavors into the hot syrup. Cover and let steep at room temperature overnight.
- Strain the syrup through the sieve into another measuring cup or bowl, pressing on the zest and thyme; discard solids. Stir lemon juice, vodka and limoncello into syrup.
- Refrigerate until completely chilled.
- Slushy: Place the desired about of slushy mix in the ice cream freezer and churn for about 20 minutes, until it looks like a slushy.
- Turn the machine off. Spoon into margarita glasses and garnish each with a sprig of thyme. Serve immediately.
For the strips of lemon zest, use a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife to pare off the yellow zest in wide strips, avoiding the white pith.
There’s no need to remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs in the syrup; both the stems and leaves will infuse flavor into the syrup.