Recently I’ve seen a few recipes for frozen strawberry cocktails (both daiquiris and margaritas) that somehow don’t call for syrup or sweetener of any kind. “Good strawberries are so sweet, you don’t need any sugar!” they say.
I don’t know what strawberries everyone else has been eating, but even the sweetest strawberries aren’t sweet enough to take the place of simple syrup — especially in a cocktail with added lime juice. It’s just too much acid. Out of each pint of Hood strawberries (the sweetest strawberry) I have consumed this year — and I have consumed many — only about a third of the berries were candy-sweet, and blending those little gems with booze honestly seems like a bit of a waste.
I can sort of understand the appeal of not adding “extra sugar” to a drink. Sugar is not very popular with the “healthy” crowd, but we’re making a cocktail, so who cares. On a more practical note, adding sugar lowers the freezing point of water, which can render your drink a little too slushy, but this can be overcome by adding more frozen water. Cocktails just don’t taste right without sugar, and frozen ones taste downright unpleasant without any extra sweetener.
So no, I will not omit sugar from my frozen cocktails — but I have been known to omit ice, as a whole bunch of ice can make the cocktail taste and feel a little watery. Rather than rely on a (kinda pricey) in-season strawberry’s natural sugar to sweeten my drink, I replace the ice with frozen strawberries, resulting in a denser, fruitier, super frosty alcoholic slush.
Sours, which follow a simple ratio of 60mL booze, 22mL citrus and 22mL liquid sweetener, are perfect candidates for frozen strawberry cocktails. I actually increase the sugar by adding a full ounce, which balances out some of the added acid from the berries. Margaritas, daiquiris and even the Bee’s Knees all taste pretty good when whirred together with frozen strawberries — provided you don’t omit the simple syrup, of course.
To make any sour into a blended frozen strawberry beverage, you will need:
- 60mL booze
- 30mL simple syrup
- 22mL lemon or lime
- 280g bag of frozen strawberries (or about 10-15 berries, depending on their size)
Add everything to a blender and blend until your drink becomes dense, icy and uniform in colour. Taste, add more simple syrup if needed — some berries are more tart than others — then blend for a few seconds more. Pour into a pretty glass and sip through a festive straw.