Frozen drinks get the craft treatment
Whether it feels like late May or not, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to warm, good times and the gateway to summer.
Burgers on the grill, sunny patio dining and tank top weather are all just around the corner. Rush it along by grabbing a frosty frozen drink at one of the city's hip bars.
Think beyond the classic frozen margarita or piña colada, though. Some craft cocktail bars and tiki lounges are putting loud blenders away and investing in commercial frozen drink makers (slushie machines, basically). It’s not just for mixed drinks, either, some serve frozen beer and wine, too.
Here's a quick guide:
The Skip: Located in the Belt, an art-filled alleyway between Library and Broadway in Downtown Detroit, the Skip has gone full tropical this season. The open-air cocktail lounge has four frozen drinks, including Irish coffee, a cucumber margarita, an aromatic French 75 and a rotating bartender's special. There's also a small menu of food including tacos, empanadas, a burrito and green salad developed by chef Jesse Knott. This Sunday the Skip hosts an Adidas-sponsored hip-hop party with DJs. 1260 Library, Detroit. theskipdetroit.com.
The Brakeman: Part of the Shinola Hotel, this new beer hall is home to craft suds and a cocktail bar featuring two frozen libations: the paloma, a tequila-based drink with fresh-squeezed juice and a frozen Pimm's Cup, a British summertime cocktail. 22 John R, Detroit. thebrakemandetroit.com.
Gold Cash Gold: The elder statesman of this list, Gold Cash Gold's slushie-like drink machine is up and running. The current feature is the pisquiña, the chef-driven restaurant's take on a Brazilian caipirinha. It's made with pisco, a high-proof brandy popular in South America, plus lime, mint and yerba mate tea. 2100 Michigan, Detroit. goldcashgolddetroit.com.
Batch Brewing Company: Not all frozen drinks are booze cocktails. This Corktown brewery has a rotating beer slushie on tap. This week's concoction is the White Lizard made with Anton's Animal Berliner Weisse beer. They also sell their beer to-go by the 40-ounce (complete with paper bag) and have a full beer-friendly menu featuring pub grub, but also fresh and healthy options, gluten-free dishes and a vegan menu. 1400 Porter, Detroit. batchbrewingcompany.com.
Mutiny Bar: The Jungle Bird has all the elements of a classic tiki cocktail: rum, pineapple and frozen. The $8 drink served at this Southwest Detroit tiki bar is made with Sailor Jerry Spice Rum, bitter Campari, pineapple juice, sugar and lime. 4654 Vernor, Detroit. mutinybar.com.
Lost River: A whole menu of frozen drinks for summer will include lots of rum. plus ice cream from Julie's Creamery. If you don't drink alcohol, no worries. this east side tiki bar specializes in mocktails, too. Sunday 4 p.m.-midnight they'll get spooky with a Vincent Price birthday celebration including an all night happy hour and food from vegan pop-up the Grim Feeder. 15421 Mack, Detroit. lostrivertiki.com.