For a Better Frozen Cocktail, Try a Blended Blood and Sand

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I'm not much of a popsicle person; the idea of biting into a solid chunk of something frozen makes me shudder. But I do enjoy the gentle slurping up of a cool blended beverage when the weather's warm. I make a mean Frozen Margarita and a killer Frozen Negroni, and my Frozen Daiquiri game is unparalleled.

The key to success with all of these drinks, especially when your kitchen is hot as blazes, is to pre-batch the core of the cocktail and stash it in your freezer overnight. It won't freeze solid, thanks to the booze in the mix, but it will drop to a very cold temp. The benefit: it won't melt your ice the moment they meet in the blender, and it'll require less ice to get frosty and cool. Less ice = less dilution, which is a good thing when it comes to a frozen drink that you really want to pack with flavor. (Prepping the drink in advance also means less last-minute mixing, which is always wise.)

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Our flavorful frozen drink of the day? It's a twist on the classic Blood and Sand, a Scotch-laced classic that always struck me as a little bit, well, tropical, thanks to fruity additions like orange juice and cherry brandy. I've seen the original shaken drink served in one of LA's iconic tiki bars (with cries of Toro! Toro! Toro!—pros say the drink is named after Valentino's 1922 bullfighting movie.) And while Scotch might not seem like much of a tiki-appropriate spirit, the whisky adds a bit of smoke and spice that grounds the fruity flavors and helps them shine.

For this fruity, spicy, smoky frozen version of the classic, I've added a few extra ingredients to give the usually benign cocktail a bit more pep and prevent the blandness that can result from blending with ice. Instead of Cherry Heering, I call for the rich syrup from the Luxardo cherry jar (you'll use the cherries as a garnish, too.) Plain orange juice can be a little one-note in a cocktail, especially when blended with ice, so you'll mix it with Grand Marnier for a more potent orange flavor. I recommend seeking out a smoky, peaty Scotch as the drink's backbone. That smoky flavor helps offset the drink's sweeter elements, while a dash of Angostura focuses the blend with a little spice.