What is it about being bad that tastes so good?
Well, it could be the sugar. Or the booze. Or the bright colors and colorful flair. But no matter which way you pour it, we love to drink slushy cocktails from coast to coast—whether you're chugging down a red, white, and blue Phrostie in Brooklyn or a sour-candy-garnished Summer Cooler in Oakland. Did we mention that both of these drinks were largely purchased illegally through social media? (Or perhaps still are, in more discreet circles ...)
See, getting tanked off potent, icy potions is pretty up there when it comes to beloved summer activities. And the element of danger that comes with ordering drinks from internet strangers who could easily spike them with rat poison or bleach or Codeine is perhaps a hint of the appeal as well. But we figured that if you can already get the sketchy seasonal drinks off the internet, maybe it would be neat to ask legit bartenders with serious creativity to take a spin at making their own versions of this stuff.
First, there's the almighty Phrostie, a kind of layered slushie that combines county fair vibes with ambiguous alcohol content. New York City lived it, we loved it, and then it was gone. But if there's another city in America that truly embraces the delightfully trashy, it's Las Vegas.
Which is why we were delighted when Downtown Cocktail Room agreed to take the Phrostie to the next level for us, combining rum, mezcal, sweet date simple syrup, rich buttermilk, and a dash of hefeweizen to the drink to create a creamy, crazy booze Slurpee that will gladly stand in for the classic when you're feeling fancy.
Then, Sam Anderson of Mission Chinese Food took on the Summer Cooler with totally psychedelic results. Rock candy, gummy chicken feet, and green Chartreuse all make for a mad scientist's favorite saccharine dream.
Dubbed The Secret Garden, it starts with a piña colada base of lime, coconut, and pineapple, then swirls around with green Chartreuse and white rum to take you on an excellent journey through a tropical Candyland. The garnishes are crucial. Hit your local old-school candy store or Asian snack shop and pile them on high.
And if you miss the high from ordering these drinks online, jaywalk home with the ingredients in hand. Just to feel a little bad to the bone before you feel good.