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Take One Last Sip of Summer — Try a Frozen Brancolada

The map points to South Williamsburg, but after walking through the doors of Donna (27 Broadway, Brooklyn; 646-568-6622), you will likely be reminded of a favorite tropical getaway. One big part of the experience here? A slushie machine that pumps out playful reinventions of classic cocktails. “No matter how serious your drinks are, you’re supposed to be having fun,” Donna’s bar manager Jeremy Oertel tells the Voice. Oertel, whose time at Dram helped him find the fun behind tiki-style cocktails, created a frozen brancolada that’s been on the menu since the beginning — and is available to cheer people up even during the most miserable of winters.

“It’s actually closer to a painkiller,” Oertel notes on the recipe, although its appearance and taste will certainly conjure images of a piña colada. With flavors like pineapple, orange, coconut, and mint, the drink is ideal for starting out any bar session, or serving as a dessert to cap off the evening. For Oertel, the key component — and a personal favorite — is the coconut cream, which adds a rich texture and color to the drink. Whether stirred, shaken, frozen, or on tap, Oertel supports the idea that classic cocktails can come in all shapes and sizes. The bar recently added a second flavor to their slushie lineup, a take on the Miami vice that channels the spirit of the negroni.

A slushie machine is the right fit for Donna’s motif, but Oertel notes that such an appliance might not be the right fit for every spot. If you’re looking for other reputable bars that pay homage to the genre, Oertel notes that Clover Club is a good choice.

Frozen Brancolada by Jeremy Oertel

4 ounces Appleton V/X rum
4 ounces Branca Menta
6 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce orange juice
3 ounces coconut cream (3 parts Coco Lopez to 1 part coconut milk)

Put all ingredients in a blender. Add ice and blend. Garnish with a mint sprig and orange wedge.

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The 10 Best Frozen Drinks in NYC

Break out the acid wash denim jorts — it’s downright summery outside. And no better way to celebrate a warm day (or pretend that it’s swimsuit season) than with a frozen drink. Here are our 10 favorites around town.

10. Kelvin Natural Slush, check website for locations

Alex Rein and Zack Silverman made an icy splash with this frozen drink company in 2010 and have since found love and thirsty admiration from food celebrities like Martha Stewart and Andrew Zimmern. The customizable beverages can be mixed with fruit purees, herbs, and booze — several versions of which can be found in the warm months at Madison Square Garden. Seasonal suggestions from Kelvin’s slush jerks always satisfy, but we’ve got a soft spot for their lightly floral citrus tea with bourbon.

9. Bushwick Country Club, 618 Grand Street, Brooklyn; 718-388-2114

This East Williamsburg wonderland for the tight-pantsed and snark-raving masses offers many of the hipster watering hole trappings that Brooklynites have come to know and love: kitschy decor, a photo booth, picklebacks, and a slushie machine that whirs nonstop, spewing forth frozen sweet tea vodkas and whiskey and Cokes whose mugs frost over with the promise of relief and inebriation. There’s a charming albeit dilapidated mini-golf course in the backyard patio. When the weather’s nice, there’s no better place for a brain freeze.

8. Nights and Weekends, 1 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-383-5349

With cocktail and food menus that play fast and loose with tropical influence, this sister establishment to beloved neighborhood restaurant Five Leaves plies revelers with plenty of rum and tequila, plates of mojo pork ribs, callaloo, and fish tacos served grilled or fried baja-style. Frozen margarita flavors change daily and use premium Combier triple sec, and a rotating “slushie del dia” keeps patrons well-lubricated with fruit flavors like watermelon and mango.

7. Otto’s Shrunken Head, 538 East 14th Street, 212-228-2240

Before Tiki took the city by storm a few years ago, this eccentric island-themed bar — replete with naugahyde booths, faux grass over the bar, and plenty of bamboo — found success among the city’s punk adherents, who perhaps ironically flocked to 14th Street to hear their favorite bands and slurp down sizeable carafes of Polynesian and frozen cocktails. Steer clear of inventions like the scurvy dog (cinnamon vodka with butterscotch) in favor of fruit daiquiris and a creamy chocolate slushy reminiscent of that most esteemed of Floridian tipples, the Bushwacker (basically, a chocolate pina colada).

6. Skinny Dennis, 152 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn; no phone

Don’t let the Williamsburg-Honkey tonk atmosphere deter you: This sibling to pooch-friendly bar Lucky Dog serves one of the city’s finest frozen drinks (in a borough that already shows plenty of love for slushies), an amalgam of Oslo coffee, milk, vanilla, sugar, bourbon, coffee liqueur, and brandy dubbed Willie’s Frozen Coffee. The icy mixture receives an extra slug of bourbon on top, and Skinny Dennis bartenders serve the concoction in the quintessential Greek-inflected coffee cups that have become synonymous with down and dirty NYC java.

5. Debasaki, 3367 Farrington Street, Queens; 718-886-6878

Low-lit Flushing Korean joint Debasaki is known around the populated dining neighborhood for its ‘gyoza’ chicken wings – hollowed-out, boneless wings filled with vegetables, cheese, or shrimp – as much as for its pitchers of frozen soju (a clear Korean distilled beverage with a lower proof than vodka). Available in fruit flavors like frothy, pink strawberry and a thick, creamy plain yogurt variety, the drinks pack tons of flavor but little intoxicating punch, leaving you to sip away for hours with little fear of repercussion.

4. Uncle Boons, 7 Spring Street; 646-370-6650

Besides cooking one of the best versions of curry-based Thai noodle stew khao soi, this quirky Nolita restaurant from Per Se vets Matt Danzer and Ann Redding, which opened last April, serves infinitely appealing Chang and Singha beer slushies. The frosty suds are agitated in a motorized ice bucket, which helps create enough movement within the bottles that the beer maintains its slushy state. They’re innocuous compared with other beers, but there’s no better relief from Uncle Boons’ chili-spiked fare than these frozen brews.

3. Battery Harris, 64 Frost Street, Brooklyn; 718-384-8902

What was once expansive beer garden Loreley has been transformed into this Caribbean restaurant and bar, which sports the same large outdoor patio for partying when the weather’s nice. Head bartender Saul Ranella — formerly of La Mar Cebicheria — mixes a lineup of inventive cocktails with an island bent (while still occasionally utilizing Peruvian ingredients like Pisco, maize, and mint), including a slush-ified take on that ambassador of Anglo-Caribbean drinks, the Dark’n’Stormy, and a frozen version of the Peruvian purple corn drink called chicha morada mixed with passion fruit juice, Pisco, and traditional Peruvian Amargo Chuncho bitters.

2. Daily slushie from Mother’s Ruin, 18 Spring Street, 212-219-0942

Yes, this place is down the street from #4 pick Uncle Boons, but Richard Knapp and TJ Lynch have imbued this spacious Nolita watering hole with a ramshackle charm. Tin ceilings and large back tables encourage socializing in addition to drinking, and a slushy machine holds court up front, filled with whatever flavors strike the bartenders on that particular day. Sweet fruits are on heavy rotation (anything with bananas is a good bet), but the machine occasionally plays host to frozen bloody marys as well.

1. Frozen Horchata from El Quinto Pino, 401 West 24th Street, 212-206-6900

This gorgeous tapas bar from husband and wife team Alex Raij and Eder Montero expanded into an adjacent space last year, finally giving the restaurant a proper dining room dubbed “El Comedor.” Even with the ornate back room up and running, the U-shaped bar up front is still the place to be. True to its Spanish roots, El Quinto Pino’s bartenders serve a variety of sherry and gin-based tipples. Half-dessert, half-cocktail (which could be said for many of the picks on this list), the frozen horchata bears little resemblance to the Mexican cinnamon-and-rice-milk concoction most people associate with the name, basing this version instead on an icy scoop of frozen chufa tiger nut milk, which melts lusciously into a shot of brandy.

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Breweries Reduce Water Footprint; South African Wine Workers Mistreated

Small craft breweries and large ones alike are trying to reduce their water footprint by improving farming practices.
[Guardian]

Wine Bottle Renew, a start-up in Napa, wants to revive the practice of washing and refilling used glass wine bottles.
[Wall Street Journal]

A roundup of wine apps includes Daily Grape, which features video reviews; Cor.kz, the best all-purpose wine app for serious wine folk; and VintageChart+, by Wine Spectator.
[NY Times]

As more Asians discover wine, appropriate pairings are being found for everything from green Thai curry to spicy Korean stews.
[Reuters]

Scientists have unearthed the elusive species of yeast that originally led to the creation of German lager beer 600 years ago.
[LA Times]

A report has found that vineyard workers in South Africa’s Western Cape suffer shocking labor conditions and some of the lowest wages in the country.
[Mail & Guardian]

Madonna has partnered with Smirnoff vodka to launch an international contest to find a new dancer for her next tour.
[AdAge]

Meanwhile, Bruce Willis has teamed up with Sobieski vodka to raise money for Fisher House, a nonprofit that provides housing to vets and their families.
[Bradenton]

A roundup of frozen cocktails around the city includes the Frozen Margarita at Pier 9, 808 State at Lani Kai, and Frozen Mojito at the Commodore.
[Metromix]

 

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Time for a Sugar High: 7-Eleven Giving Out Free Slurpees Today, 7/11

Summer just isn’t summer unless you’re chugging on a big, frozen, sugary drink and staining your teeth electric red or blue. Fortunately, today is July 11, also known as 7-Eleven Day, the convenience retailer’s unofficial birthday. And to celebrate, participating stores throughout the city will be giving away free Slurpees!

In 1967, 7-Eleven licensed the product from the Icee Company and began selling it as the Slurpee. Since then, it’s been responsible for countless summer sugar highs, brain freezes, and a good deal of pop-culture awesomeness. Today, which marks the chain’s “84th birthday,” you can pick up a free 7.11-ounce (as if it could be in any other size) drink to celebrate. Drinking on the city sidewalk might not be quite the same as chugging one in the parking lot of your youth, but hey, a free Slurpee is a free Slurpee.