14 Refreshing Frozen Cocktails Perfect For A Hot Summer Day
When the temperatures start to rise, there's nothing quite like an icy cold cocktail to cool you down. And why just settle for ordinary ice cubes in your glass, when you can enjoy a deep freeze from some of L.A.'s finest, frozen boozy beverages? Unfortunately, too many bars miss the mark when it comes to the art of the frozen drink. They're often either watered down, overly sweet or nearly knock you down with the taste of jet fuel. That's why we've brought you
14 of the best frozen cocktails from around town, which strike that refreshing balance of frost, booze and flavor.
Updated 8/4: Since the summer shows no sign of cooling off, we've added more of our favorite frozen drinks below. Enjoy!
The Banana Hammock at The Upstairs bar (Photo courtesy of The Ace Hotel)
Upstairs at The Ace Hotel
Head to the swanky rooftop bar of The Ace Hotel for one of downtown's best views and a rotating frozen cocktail that pairs perfectly with high altitudes. Proudly and simply listed on the menu as the "Amazing Frozen Drink," the bar's singular frozen beverage changes periodically depending on the whims and inspiration behind the bar, and always clocks in at $13. Take for example the "Banana Hammock"—no, not that kind—which is a spicy banana colada that features Diplomatico anejo rum, Bacardi Black, Giffard Banane, Ancho Reyes and coconut cream. It's kind of like taking a peppery Caribbean cruise in the middle of downtown LA.
Upstairs at The Ace Hotel is located at 929 S Broadway, Downtown Los Angeles, (213) 623-3233
The piña colada at Tiki No (Photo courtesy of Tiki No)
Many tiki bars sling strong, icy blends of rum and juice, but not many of them do so as freshly and conveniently as Tiki No. At this new-school tiki bar, the potent piña coladas stay true to the original 1954 recipe of the drink from Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar, and feature fresh pineapple juice, cream of coconut, ice, and plenty of Silver Rum of St. Croix. New batches are blended every other day and are poured directly from the slurpie-like tap into an awaiting ceramic coconut mug, then garnished with a huge slice of pineapple. All this for a mere $6, which is less then most tiki drinks. As soon as you take a sip, consider yourself on vacation.
Tiki-No is located at 4657 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood, (818) 766-0116
Grab a snow cone at Good Times at Davey Wayne's (Photo courtesy of Good Times at Davey Wayne's)
Good Times at Davey Wayne’s
Travel back in time through the hidden entrance to Good Times at Davey Wayne’s and a very adult-version of the snow cones you slurped in the summertime as a kid. Make your way to the airstream trailer in the backyard patio and order up a thoughtfully-concocted, alcohol-infused snow cone. Perched atop an old-school-style paper cone, you'll find a shaved ice ball that comes in five different, refreshing and inventive flavors, which you more than likely didn't encounter as a kid. From blackberry ginger with bourbon and lemon to watermelon with vodka and lime or raspberry, tequila, Campari and lime to the pineapple, rum and lime combo, or even the strawberry, Pisco and lemon blend: you can't really go too wrong here.
Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is located at 1611 N El Centro Ave, Hollywood, (323) 962-3804
Pick your poison (Photo courtesy of Preux & Proper)
Preux & Proper
One of the pioneers of L.A.'s current obsession with New Orleans, Preux & Proper brings the frozen daiquiris of Bourbon Street to DTLA. Perpetually spinning slushy dispensers promise an eclectic selection of boozy frozen drinks that go for $10 a pop, which includes the mint julep, Irish coffee, strawberry margarita, piña colada, the bright orange and powerful Rocket Fuel, or the appropriately-named-hooch-bath known as Call A Cab. These well-balanced—yet not-surprisingly strong—alcoholic slurries are perfect for cooling off after a feverish game of table shuffleboard by the bar or for lazily sipping on the breezy downstairs patio. The same great selection of daiquiris are also available on tap for outdoor drinking at the newly opened Royal in Hollywood, another bastion of New Orleans fare run by the same team.
The Blood and Sand is so money at The Dresden, baby (via Facebook)
Not much has changed at this Los Feliz institution over the decades. Marty and Elaine still deliver a not-to-be-missed lounge act, the vested bartenders still ring you up on a register from the 1940s and the icy chill of a classic Blood and Sand cocktail still packs a punch. The Blood and Sand features Scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry liquor and orange juice, and as the signature drink of The Dresden is shaken and served with crushed ice for an appropriately, and surprisingly welcome, sandy texture. The cocktail is named for the Rudolph Valentino's 1922 bullfighter film, and delivers a great blend of smoky, sweet and bitter. Though, as much as we enjoy the Blood and Sand, we can't say for certain if they ordered the cocktail in Swingers when Trent and the boys passed through The Dresden.
The Dresden is located at 1760 N Vermont Ave, Los Feliz, (323) 665-4294.
The frosty beer float at Playa Provisions (Photo by Ryan Tanaka/Playa Provisions)
There's nothing quite like sipping an ice-cold beverage under the hot sun—especially when there is booze and an ocean breeze involved. Head to the outdoor patio of Playa Provisions to cool off on a blistering hot day with their Beer Float, a grown-up version of the root beer floats you loved as a kid (and still love). This frothy float is made with the Maui Brewing Company’s delicious Coconut Porter and generous scoops of Playa's own coffee ice cream, handmade inside at their Small Batch shop.
Playa Provisions is located at 119 Culver Blvd, Playa Del Rey, (310) 683-5019
Frosty refreshment at Los Balcones (Photo courtesy of Los Balcones)
Hollywood's nearly decade-old Peruvian mainstay received a stunning overhaul last year and they've just launched a new Peruvian-inspired frozen cocktail, ideal for cooling off on a sweltering day. The Chicha Cremolada ($12) is a frosty tropical blend that includes Chicha Morada, Peru's essential purple corn drink flavored with pineapple and spices; Pisco, Peru's national liquor distilled from grapes; and Velvet Falernum, an almond liqueur commonly used in tiki drinks. The drink is balanced by the bright notes of lemon and garnished with a grilled pineapple, a solitary grape, and pineapple leaves (watch your eye!). Created by bar manager Josh Suchan of Black LAB Ventures, the Chicha Morada is a fine way to kick off a feast of lomo saltado, aji de gallina and other classic Peruvian dishes.
Los Balcones is located at 1360 Vine St, Hollywood, (323) 871-9600
This buddha is too Buddhalicious (Photo courtesy of Barton G.)
Never a restaurant to shy away from the decadent and dramatic, Barton G. makes no exception when it comes to frozen cocktails. In fact, they're not just frozen, but flash frozen at extremely low temperatures with liquid nitrogen popsicles that are dropped in the cocktail for an impressive, cascading cauldron-effect. From their signature Sabrinatini, which features orange vodka, watermelon liqueur, a nitrogenized-champagne swizzle stick and a dangling chocolate monkey, to the Buddhalicious with pear infused vodka, lychee and cranberry juices and a nitrogenized popsicle of pear vodka, you'll get plenty of spectacle with your buzz. And with pricier-than-your-average cocktails, you should expect nothing less.
Barton G. is located at 861 N. La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, (310) 388-1888
The Piña Colada at Sunny Spot (via Instagram)
As soon as you arrive at Roy Choi's Caribbean-inspired outpost in Venice, you already feel transported to a tropical local. And what better way to complement the soothing pastels and vacation vibes than their take on a frozen piña colada. A refreshing update of the classic beachside cocktail, the Sunny Spot's blend—crafted by beverage director Brian Butler—features quality Antigua rum, kalani coconut liquor, super fresh coconut milk and an angostura bitters float. Crested with a thick slice of delicious pineapple, this frozen rendition is perfect for wiling away a blazingly hot afternoon at the breezy bar or cooling your palate after noshing on the searingly hot diablo jumbo shrimp or jerk wings.
Sunny Spot is located at 822 W. Washington Blvd, Venice, (310) 448-8884.
The Swizzard of Oz (via Gracias Madre)
Not only does this WeHo destination have some killer vegan fare that even a meat-eater can enjoy, but they also have an amazing frozen drink that even a non-frozen-drink-drinker would love. Follow the yellow brick road to the bar for the Swizzard of Oz, a frozen tiki-style/swizzle cocktail that grants wishes. Okay, maybe it won't grant wishes, but it does offer an icy blend of the potent and herbaceous Centerba Toro liqueur, housemade mezcal falernum, pineapple and tiki bitters. After a couple of these, you'll swear there's no place like the beautiful back patio of Gracias Madre.
Gracias Madre is located at 8905 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, (323) 978-2170.
The Snowgroni (via Venice Whaler)
Last summer, this beachside institution received a stunning overhaul. Thankfully, they maintained the classic, nautical charm while at the same time upgrading the food and drink offerings. So, while the Whaler may no longer look exactly as it did when The Doors and The Beach Boys used to wet their whistles there, you'll find some fantastic new cocktails to wet yours. The standout frozen offering from bar director Anthony Settecase is the Snowgroni, a grownup version of the classic summer treat. Assembled with Bulldog gin, Campari, Antica Carpano and, of course, shaved ice, this frosty beverage is sure to cool you off after a few rounds of singing The Doors and The Beach Boys' hits at the Whaler's Monday night karaoke.
The Venice Whaler is located at 10 West Washington Boulevard, Venice, (310) 821-8737
Bellini Meenie Minie Moe (Photo by Aliza J. Sokolow/Love & Salt)
Love & Salt
If we didn't already convince you that Love & Salt is one of the best new restaurants to check out in the South Bay, you now have one more reason, and it's a delicious, frozen one. Part of the new brunch menu, the adorably-named Bellini Meenie Minie Mo is a refreshing way to chill out after a big night on the town. A balanced blend of vodka, fruit sorbet, mint, peach liqueur, and sparkling wine, this one treats you to a bit of dessert as you devour the open-face porchetta sandwich or any of the other spot-on brunch fare.
Love & Salt is located at 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, (310) 545-5252.
Prepare for the pineapple at Pink Taco (via Facebook)
There are plenty of strong frozen margaritas to be found around town, but rarely do you encounter one served quite as dramatically as this. Never a place to shy away from flash, Pink Taco brings the cruise ship vacation to you with their potent strawberry margarita served in a freshly hollowed-out pineapple. You can bet heads will turn as this playful presentation makes its way to your table, but you didn't come here for subtlety. Plus once you dive into this sweet frozen 'rita, there's not much that will trouble you.
Pink Taco is located at 8225 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, (323) 380-747 and 10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Century City, (310) 789-1000.
Melon Faraglioni at The Warwick (via Facebook)
Most clubs in Hollywood aren't known for their craft cocktail program, nor do most completely reinvent themselves every six months or so. Fortunately, The Warwick isn't like most Hollywood clubs. The previous dimly-lit noir decor has been replaced with bright whites and beach cabanas inspired by Capri. And with those new Mediterranean good-looks comes the deliciously clever Melon Faraglioni. A healthy pour of London dry gin, fresh lime juice and a coconut water are elevated to the frozen category with the playful addition of a frozen watermelon popsicle. The popsicle—inspired by the towering rocks of Capri's shoreline—slowly melts into the cocktail, allowing you to control the level of sweetness or eat the popsicle by itself if you please.
The Warwick is located at 6507 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, (323) 460-6667.