The (World's Greatest?) Frozen Banana Daiquiri

Something that may or may not surprise you: I'm one of those people who likes to scour the Internet for variousDIYtutorials and then implement them all over my house, oftentimes to the mild chagrin of the PhoBlograpHusband. (Two nights ago, our kitchen table was occupied for 12 hours by our crockpot, wrapped in a beach towel, 'cuz I was making yogurt.) If I were born fifty years earlier,  I would have been a devout Hints from Heloise kinda housewise. As it stands, since the start of summer my freezer has contained a big Ziploc full of banana peels and eggshells, so I can spend my weekends making nutritious, eggshell-and-banana peel fertilizer for my outdoor plants.

Also in my icebox are whole, way-overripe bananas whose peels have turned brown. The peels will inevitably see the inside of the aforementioned Ziploc; the bananas themselves are there because a few weeks ago I read online about making a soft-serve, ice cream-like dessert using nothing but frozen bananas and a blender. Given that pregnancy has kicked my ice cream addiction into disgusting overdrive, I thought this was worth a shot. I also thought, frozen banana daiquiris.

Frozen daiquiris -- a regular daiquiri (rum, lime juice, sugar) buttressed with pureed fruit and crushed ice -- get a bad rap, of course, because their crushed-ice component has allowed them to become conflated with Slurpees and slushies, and so now they are most commonly made from chemicals and food coloring, served out of a whirring machine at someplace like a Sandals resort. This is tragic, because how often do we get to enjoy the wholesome flavor of pureed fruit in our cocktails? Who wouldn't enjoy the foamy, frothy wonderfulness that an ice-blended cocktail provides? (Even I capitulate to the delectable siren call of a Frappuccino at least once per summer.) And when was the last time you got to freaking drink a banana?

A frozen banana daiquiri seems like it should be arduous to make, but it is not. It is surprisingly simple (dump stuff into blender, turn blender on) and it is surprisingly good: Smooth and creamy, with a nice, tangy, lime-y undertone, and not at all too sweet. What I found most surprising was how well its constitution held up. I figured this drink would start separating, rum and melted ice sloshing atop a swamp of banana mush, within minutes. It absolutely did not. All in all, this cocktail was so impressive and enjoyable that Sean took it upon himself to drink the whole thing (after my one, obligatory sip). He even stored it in the fridge while he went to play Frisbee for two hours, came back and drank the rest and it still held up.

So how do we make the World's Greatest Frozen Banana Daiquiri? I think I'm still working on that. What I know so far is, you definitely want to use at least a 50-50 ratio of light and dark rum. I suspect 100% dark rum would be most pleasurable (but we ran out). Yes, you can taste the alcohol in the recipe below, but it wouldn't hurt to be stronger still. My other suspicion is that this should be topped with a healthy sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg. The banana and lime flavors do play nicely against one another, but I think there's room in there for a third, outta-left-field flavor.

Of course, most frozen banana daiquiri recipes you're going to find online are going to tell you a) light rum only, and b) garnish with a Maraschino cherry. Take that shit to the Bahamas, yo!

The (World's Greatest) Frozen Banana Daiquiri

3/4 ounces Kraken Black Spiced Rum

3/4 ounces Bacardi Light Rum

1 tablespoon triple sec

1 1/2 ounces lime juice

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 banana, medium/large, preferably frozen and preferably overripe, sliced up into a handful of pieces

1 cup crushed ice (usually takes about 3-5 ice cubes depending on size)

Lime peel, to garnish

Combine all ingredients except peel in blender. Blend on a low speed for five seconds, then blend on a higher speed until drink is smooth. (Shouldn't take more than 10 seconds.)  Pour into chilled hurricane, martini or cocktail glass. Garnish.

Tasting Notes

OK, so what rums would kick this drink into World's Greatest territory? Honestly, name your poison. If I had more than a splash left of the Kraken, I would've gone whole-hog Kraken. Spiced Navy rums would be great, I'm guessing; I'm partial to Sailor Jerry.

You don't *have* to cut up the banana beforehand, or pre-crush the ice -- but I did both, the latter using my hand-cranked Ice-O-Mat. It'll just cut down on your blender time. This is important to someone like me who has a crappy blender as I'm always worried I'm going to kill the damn thing someday. And I really did only need to blend on high speed for like another 5-10 seconds.

You want to use an overripe banana because the riper it is, the more sugars it's got in it. You know how when you eat an underripe banana, it can sometimes have that unpleasantly bitter, "green" taste to it? I don't know why, but that taste tends to come out even more when you puree the banana, even if it's a just-ripe banana. I know this from trying to make the banana "ice cream" using a just-ripe banana. Stick with as-overripe-as-you-can bananas.

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The Ghetto Mai Tai

As I spent part of last week mewling about, there's nada mucho booze left up in this maison, and I'm trying to hold off replenishing the stock until after the holidays. (My liver may be titanium-grade, but my bank account contains only tumbling tumbleweeds.) However, that's not the reason I invented the Ghetto Mai Tai. Like the Ghetto Julep, the Ghetto Mai Tai speaks not to my neurotic frivolity (although there is that) nor my proclivity towards the fabulously trashy (oh, don't go there, Mizz Hmm!). It's just about how some nights I enjoy achieving a mild pickling via a fun, supermarket ingredient-friendly, easy peasy glass of silly.

And isn't it nice to know that a Mai Tai, despite its orgeat and crushed ice and other lovely, particular fixings, can be respectably faked with just dark rum, Tropicana and a couple shakes of bitters? That final ingredient is what makes all the difference. Left to mingle by themselves, dark rum (light, too, I believe) and OJ result in an oddly bifurcated flavor dichotomy of dark-rum-over-here, orange-syrupy-sweetness-over-there. It's always struck me as weird, because on paper, orange and rum, which grew up practically down the street from one another, seem totes MFEO. But together in a glass, they are about as appealing as a vodka and Coke.

(That's another one that needs to be studied. How can the world's two most lowest-common-denominator beverages taste so off-putting together? It's tantamount to the characters on "Friends" not liking Hootie and the Blowfish. Which I happen to know for a fact they do.)

The bitters add a lovely darkness to the flavors inside the glass. Insert funny end of blog post here. (Whoops, mild pickling has been achieved...)

The Ghetto Mai Tai

2 ounces Rhum Barbancourt

2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters and/or Angostura Bitters

Tropicana orange juice, "No Pulp" (unless you like "Some Pulp" or "Lots of Pulp," in which case, ick)

In true ghetto style, don't bother shaking this concoction in an ice-filled shaker before straining it into your glass. Just combine all ingredients in an ice-filled highball, stir with coffee swizzle, index finger, teaspoon, what have you, and slurp up.

Tasting Notes

I prefer this with two dashes of the Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters. The PhoBlograpHusband prefers Angostura. The former lends a whiff of cinnamon to the glass, while the latter imparts licorice-like grace notes. You can do one dash of each kind if you can't decide.

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The Holly Hills

As both a maker of cocktails and a plier of the written word, I am wholly offended by garish concoctions (cocktastrophes, perhaps?) that look like this and, insult on top of insult, co-opt the nomenclature of "daquiri":

And so, welcome to reason #I-lost-track of why I so thoroughly enjoyed pitching drinks at The Royale, where the Holly Hills daquiri looks like this:

The Holly Hills

(Adapted from The Royale)

2 ounces Rhum Barbancourt

1 ounce fresh lime juice

About a teaspoon of simple syrup

A dash or so of grenadine or maraschino cherry juice

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker, shake thoroughly, and strain into a (preferably chilled) cocktail or martini glass. Optional garnish with lime wedge.

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The Charlie Sheen Will Rock You Like a Hurricane

Happy Mardi Gras? This drink is Happy Mar-Winning!

If you drank this drink for five seconds, you'd be like, "Dude! Can't handle it! Unplug this bastard!" It fucks you up in a way that's maybe not from, uh... this terrestrial realm.

This drink has one speed, it has one gear: GO. It's got tiger blood, man! The rum I am on made Sinatra, Jagger, Richards look like droopy-eyed, armless children.

The Charlie Sheen Will Rock You Like A Hurricane exposes people to magic. It exposes them to something they're never going to see in their otherwise boring lives. They may forget about what happened to them tomorrow, but they'll live with that non-existent memory for the rest of their lives. And that's a gift, man.

The Charlie Sheen Will Rock You Like A Hurricane

1 1/2 ounces Rhum Barbancourt

1 ounce 10 Cane Rum

1 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice

1 ounce passion fruit juice

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Tiger's blood, optional

Adonis DNA, optional

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