Beating the Myrtle Beach heat with portable frozen cocktails

For Weekly SurgeAugust 14, 2013 

We have reached the pinnacle of heat for the summer. The month of August is almost always the warmest in Myrtle Beach. Sometimes, a cold brew or iced drink just is not enough to quench our insatiable thirst for something chilly. We, then, retreat to the bartenders’ arch nemesis. The frozen cocktail.

So you aren’t at a bar. So you don’t have a blender. What do you do? You pick up some of the most recent frosty cocktail options out there. The frozen cocktail in a pouch.

I know what you are thinking. “Frozen cocktail in a pouch? That goes against everything we believe about a good drink.” Well, me too. However, there is no denying the convenience and refreshment from these innovations.

Let’s first start by explaining how they make this happen. The science behind freezing a cocktail, without using ample ice and a blender, is a virtual impossibility. The alcohol content is, generally, too high in most cocktails to allow it to freeze in our residential and commercial freezers. You would have to take straight 80 proof vodka to around -16 degrees Fahrenheit or add a food grade chemical to it in order to see any resemblance of slush. Of course, adding mixers certainly helps in the freezing process. So how does our freezer at home preserve frozen cocktails in a pouch?

The alcohol content of these pouched concoctions is listed at 5 percent alcohol by volume. Roughly, that of a domestic beer. This is a start because water and sugar freeze at a much higher temperature than alcohol. This allows for our freezers at home to do the job and create that slushy goodness that we have come to love so much.

The second, and most important, factor in creating these cocktails to-go is that they utilize wine instead of grain alcohol. If you have ever put a bottle of wine in your freezer to speed up the chilling process and forgotten about it, you know what I’m talking about. Wine does, in fact, freeze. Wine ranges anywhere from around 9 percent to 17 percent ABV, depending upon the type and producer. Much lower than the 40 percent ABV of your standard vodka. This is the real magic behind these drinks. Mixed with fruit juices and an assortment of words with a lot of consonants, you have a portable, freezable cocktail.

The best part of trying a new product is the taste test. I bought two pouches, brought them home and put them in the freezer. A few hours later, I had a frozen cocktail. It is that easy. They were sweet and refreshing. Like an adult popsicle in a glass. They also melt really quickly, which I didn’t mind all that much. Just don’t expect a restaurant quality type of blended drink. For 10 ounces at around $2 at your local grocery, that’s not too shabby either. That’s where using wine is also important. They can sell them at grocery stores in a variety of flavors without having a liquor license.

So the science works. The flavors work. It’s easy. It’s portable. It’s cheap.

But here’s the catch if you are looking to get a buzz from these drinks: The factors that create that massive hangover the next day seem to be readily available in these little sweet cocktails in a pouch. The sweetness may be used to mask an inferior wine product that contains congeners. Relax. The FDA knows about these little impurities and, aside from a headache, there is no danger in consuming them in alcohol. In fact, every low grade alcohol has them. Ever wonder why so-called “house vodka” made you feel like everything in your skull wanted to get out the next morning and the top shelf didn’t hit you quite as hard? Quality, purity and hangovers are, scientifically, related. While there is no scientific link between sugar content and hangovers, the sweetness and lower alcohol content will prompt you to drink more. That is the no-fail cause for a hangover, as we all know.

The caloric intake with these cocktails is not as bad as you would think. In the Peach Daquiri, there are approximately 280 calories per 10-ounce serving. To put into perspective, the same serving of wine would render roughly 200 calories and a cosmopolitan would yield a whopping 532.5 calories according to www.livestrong.com. This serving size would be equal to two glasses of wine and two cocktails in most restaurants. Plus, both the wine and cosmopolitan are significantly higher in alcohol content. You would drink less of them to notice the effects of the alcohol. Calories, depending upon your tolerance, may be a consideration in your choice for drinks.

All in all, these frozen pouches are pretty fun way to drink on the go. For an afternoon beach cocktail or the occasional imbiber, these are perfect. For us seasoned professionals, we may want to stick with the rum. Regardless of your drink of choice, always consume responsibly.

Cheers!

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