Brain freeze may be the only surefire antidote to the swampy New Orleans heat. The best frozen cocktails aren’t the kind that are loaded with sugar and stain your lips cherry red or passion purple. We’re talking about slushy cocktails for grownups, powered by seasonal ingredients and good booze.
Although a bracing frozen libation is best slurped in a pool, most of us don’t have that option. But that doesn’t matter. One – or all – of these drinks are guaranteed to not only lower your body temperature but absolutely raise your spirits.
Raising the daiquiri bar
At The Anchor, situated right on the Tchefuncte River, chef Michael Gottlieb delivers elevated pub fare like roast beef debris and cheese potato skins and fried local seafood, all given the same careful attention he pays to Tchefuncte’s, the upstairs fine dining space that’s getting all kinds of buzz. The covered open-air Anchor, with its huge play area for the kiddos, is ideal for kicking back, a move encouraged by a rotating menu of house special daiquiris. Try the Ponchartrain pink lemonade, powered by hibiscus syrup, A place for citrus and TLC vodka or the passion fruit-driven rope swing sweetened with agave and powered Pueblo Viejo tequila.
Louisiana strawberry daiquiris are just one of many reasons to stop by Cane & Table, the swell cocktail bar on Decatur that offers a menu with a Spanish meets Louisiana accent – get the crawfish croquetas to start. There’s also a tropical frozen Piña Colada on tap – ask for a Miami Vice and you’ll get a combo of the two.
It’s so damn much fun hanging out at Trep’s, the former garage turned spacious climate-controlled outdoor eatery in Mid-City. Chef Jerry Mixon dishes uplifted bar food that’s fun to eat and the drinks menu zooms with engine-inspired categories like Lubrications and Frozen Stabilizers. The house froze’ is boosted with St. Germaine, Bacardi and passion fruit, the Paloma style margarita includes grapefruit soda and the Pimm’s Cup brings the fine Brazilian gin McQueen and the Violet Fog into the mix, along with Pimm’s, cucumber and ginger.
Flamingo A-Go-Go is all about a good time, typically drawing a young crowd of day drinkers and their pups. Figures their specialty drinks are anything but serious. The pineapple upside-down cake is a prime example, a slush of Amaretto, Baron Samedi spiced rum, pineapple juice, and vanilla Montecado, a popular type of Spanish shortbread cookies and ice cream.
Where to find the best frozen Daiquiris in New Orleans:
- The Anchor & Tchefucte’s | Northshore
- Cane & Table | French Quarter
- Trep’s | Mid-City
- Flamingo A-Go-Go | Warehouse District
Although boozy slushy drinks are meant to be fun, they can be elegant too. At Manolito, Chris Hannah’s most excellent Cuban bar on Dumaine, frozen daiquiris reach ethereal heights. Absolutely try the guava, described as dry but fruit forward, a popular drink in Havana made with Avua, a small batch, single-sourced cachaca, guava and lime – very popular in Havana. The frozen amaretto sour, the banana daiquiri with Don Q Cristal and the Jazz made with Appleton Reserve, creme de cacao and lime – one is better than the next so try them all. When you get hungry, try the perfect Cuban.
Summer Sangria at Auction House Market tastes as good as it looks, a refreshing remake of the classic Spanish cooler blended with fresh berries and red wine for the perfect chill. The sexy Bar Marilou offers the femme fatale, an elegant option offered as a single pour and in a batch. The fruit-forward – but not too sweet – cocktail is built with Lillet rose, Absolut juice strawberry, fermented strawberry juice. El Guapo Love Potion #9 bitters add subtle floral notes and the frozen delight is topped with bubbles.
Uptown at Cure on Freret, bartender Morgan Sullivan is crushing creative frozens, concocting a different one every day – recently there was an excellent whiskey sour with notes of green apple and chamomile. But daiquiris also abound in flavors like passion fruit coconut and green or mint tea. Bourree at Boucherie is known as much for its rotating menu of brilliant daquiri flavor combos as for its tasty wings. Their version of a frozen “Pimp’s” cup is outstanding, made with mint, strawberry passion fruit, lime, Pimm’s and ginger beer.
Where to find the best fruity frozen cocktails in New Orleans:
- Manolito | French Quarter
- Auction House Market | Warehouse District
- Bar Marilou | Warehouse District
- Cure | Freret
Bourre at Boucherie | Carrollton
Whiskey in the mix
Although many frozen drinks are powered by vodka or rum, Irish whiskey has its place at the chill bar. Try a Fulton Freeze at Ernst Café in the Warehouse District, a bracing- and rich – combination of Irish whiskey, brandy, java and cream. Enjoy it on the historic pub’s patio – the building dates back to 1902.
Compere Lapin has its own twist on a frozen coffee treat, the kick the tires & light the fires is layered from cold brew coffee, Hoodoo chicory liqueur, Banca Menta Amara and crushed almonds. The gold standard may just be the frozen Irish coffee at Erin Rose – make it a double for an extra jolt and it’s clear why this French Quarter bar is ground zero during Tales of the Cocktail.
Where to find the best whisky cocktails in New Orleans:
- Ernst Cafe | Warehouse District
- Compare Lapin | CBD
- Erin Rose | French Quarter
Salt or no salt?
Frozen margaritas, done right, are the absolute perfect mix of sweet and citrus-driven home by smooth tequila. Galaxie Tacos in Bywater has a great tequila and mescal program so the margaritas frozen and stirred are solid, served with a Tajin rim. Try their frozen Paloma too, made with fresh local grapefruit, Squirt and Lunazul tequila. Peche does a tasty frozen margarita too, the El Classico, made with Espolon Reposado, lime and Gran Gala orange liqueur, premium ingredients that prove, without a doubt, that just because that drink is frozen doesn’t mean there’s any excuse for the cheap stuff.
Where to find the best margaritas in New Orleans:
- Galaxie Tacos | Bywater
- Peche | Warehouse District