Photo by House of Sims/Flickr CC
A friend once joked to me that, when starting a bartending job, his first act would be to throw a jigger in to the blender. Then, standing before the last gasps of the convulsing machine, he would tell the owner, "I'm sorry, the blender appears to be broken."
Such is the extreme hatred most bartenders have for drinks made in a blender, a hatred I admit I used to share. Yet as the weather warms, I'm drawn more and more toward frappe-style drinks, which are drinks served with crushed ice. Crushed-ice drinks are typically colder and more diluted than drinks shaken with thicker cubes.
So why not toss the same thing in a blender with ice? It's not a far stretch. In fact, hearty spirits and viscous, sugary, or creamy beverages can all take the beating--consider them the spoiled brats of ingredients because they're ultimately better off for the heavy hand.
My change of heart happened when I took the blender for what it is: a different way to process ice. After all, some classic-styled bars boast seven different types of ice but wouldn't be caught dead with a blender. Constante Ribalagua, a former bartending legend at Havana's famous Floridita, pioneered flash blending during the heyday of the classic daiquiri. Flash blending is pulse-mixing drinks in a blender. So you needn't use the blender simply to pulverize everything.