We are blessed with many truly exceptional friends in our world. Many of those friends love a good cocktail. One couple in particular loves a good cocktail so much that they often bring elaborate concoctions along to gatherings. We treasure this couple. Honestly, they are so much fun we often wonder why they like hanging out with us. (We’re not only lightweights but we like to go to bed early. To our credit, we do eat well.)
One recent sticky summer evening, our cocktail-loving couple showed up for a barbecue with a rather generous-sized igloo thermos and introduced us to the wonders of Bourbon Slushies. Have you ever contemplated creating a grown-up slurpie with iced tea, orange juice, lemonade, and a rather generous portion of bourbon? Apparently, a great deal of thought has been given to this in the great state of Kentucky, where these slushies originated. If you were a more elegant human than I, you would wait ’til they melted a bit, and perhaps use a straw to drink them, or wait a few minutes longer and sip them daintily. We just dug in with spoons. They were astonishingly perfect for a hot summer evening.
I did a bit of sleuthing to learn how to make these wonders, and found dozens of online recipes, like this classic version from the Tasting Table. Most used frozen orange juice and frozen lemonade concentrates, sugar, and ginger ale. That’s crazy sweet.
Forgive me dear Southerners, but my born-in-Michigan-self set about to create a slightly less sweet version of this Kentucky wonder. I swapped out the concentrates for a combination of orange, lemon, and pineapple juices, with just a hint of brown sugar simple syrup. Though purists would likely be horrified, I loved this version… it hit all the right refreshing citrus notes without reminding me of sweet tea. (I’m baffled by sweet tea… how is it even possible to make tea that sweet?! Yikes.)
Sadly, this is not a cocktail that can be thrown together on a whim, for the concoction needs to freeze four to six hours (though really, it’s better to freeze it overnight.)
But let me tell you, Bourbon Slushies are an excellent way to make your friends exceptionally happy.
Makes: 8 Slushies
- 2 cups strong iced tea
- 1 ½ cups bourbon
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar simple syrup (regular simple syrup would be fine here too)
- 1 ½ cups orange juice
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 6 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 2 cups water
- Orange slices and mint leaves, for garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir to combine.
- Pour roughly equal amounts of the mixture into two gallon freezer bags.
- Freeze four to six hours, or overnight.
- Scoop into glasses, and garnish with orange slices and mint, if you'd like.