Clover Club
Photograph: Courtesy of Clover Club

The 15 best frozen cocktails in NYC

The perennial drink of summer transcends trends

Amber Sutherland-Namako
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Trends come and go whether they illustrate a seemingly organic zeitgeist like 2022's influx of speakeasy-style barsor they’re the product of a carefully orchestrated marketing campaign like the Aperol spritz blitz of 2018. Summer is particularly conducive to the form: A season that somehow feels more ephemeral than the others, making abstract promises of love and holidays, all hazy with the patina of heat. 

Last year’s so-called drink of the summer was the frozen, as it was before, and is once more and will always be. It's the ideal icy canvas to spin anything into with unending possibilities limited only by the imagination (and occasional supply chain issues). They reached a saturation point even earlier, in 2021, when a proliferation of places newly making room for slushie machines or plugging blenders in behind the bar were suddenly serving more frozens than ever before.

“I think that frozen drinks are outstanding,” PDT owner Jeff Bell told us in an interview at the time. “I don’t think frozen drinks were received well ten years ago. I think everybody was still in this moral high ground, high horse of like, ‘Oh, that’s a trashy cocktail because it’s frozen.”

But as more and more restaurants and bars were able to create or expand their outdoor seating areas, attitudes changed, and soon new frozens were joining our old favorites all over town. And, while the occasional zag to something shiny and new can be cute, frozens are the drink of forever summer in NYC. 

RECOMMENDED: NYC's 50 best bars

Best frozen cocktails in NYC

  • Cocktail bars
  • Cobble Hill
  • price 2 of 4

Once you learn that Long Island Bar’s proprietor was one of the smattering of people credited with conceptualizing the cocktail that went on to be Sex and the City’s fifth lead, it follows that the corner spot would have a frozen cosmo. This one’s more opaque than its liquid BFF, with orangey-pink crystals packed tight like a real Miranda, though the subtly retro decor is a little more relaxed.

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  • Lounges
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

Clover Club executes each of its drinks in studied, refined fashion with polish and aplomb. Its Rogue Wave, which returns to the menu this frozen drink season, is no exception. Rum, blue Curaçao, orgeat, coconut, pineapple and lemon combine to create the vibrant turquoise head-turner. 

  • Lounges
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 2 of 4

Perennial ‘best bars’ honoree, Mace was ahead of 2021’s frozen drink avalanche with a photogenic Miami Vice cocktail before most other spots’ ice had set. It’s back at it again for 2023 with two frosty, rum-based options: the sorrel, with that plant, plus coconut, kiwi, lime, and cascara, and the fig leaf, with golden beet, tomato, Meadowsweet lactic syrup, lime and coconut water. 

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  • Cocktail bars
  • Boerum Hill
  • price 2 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Nautically-adorned Grand Army is always updating its menu with cheeky themes, and this season's topical twist is "summer camp." Its Truth or Dare conjures that old game with sloe gin, sparkling wine, cinnamon and stone fuit, with the option to add a mystery float if you . . . you know. 

  • Mexican
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 1 of 4

Although we drink frozen margaritas year round, they soar in popularity once the weather warms up. And Alma’s is best in class. A pale shade of lime, the icy libation is a mix of the tart citrus with tequila, triple sec and agave. It’s served in a short glass that minimizes melting before you can reach its end, which doesn’t take too long while you’re gazing at the skyline view, anyway. 

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  • Caribbean
  • Bushwick
  • price 2 of 4

Sally Roots has three frozen cocktails, including the popular Sundowner. It blends coconut, guava, orange juice, pineapple juice, lime and “All the Rums.” That final key ingredient is the bar’s proprietary house blend of dark, light and overproof rums. You can also get the Sundowner “fun sized,” which, counter to conventional candy wisdom, is a double. 

  • Lounges
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

This casual low-rise rooftop makes it easy to pick a tipple and stick with it. Though it's known to imbue its frozen margaritas with additional flavors, our favorite remains the classic lime. It’s served in a darling soda shoppe-style glass that might even inspire you to share a sip.

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  • Seafood
  • Harlem
  • price 1 of 4

The mango slushies at Lolo’s Seafood Shack are available with three types of spirits: coconut rum, tequila and vodka. Depending on your tolerance, you can collect ‘em all in one sitting, or keep coming back to find a favorite while you lounge on the back patio. Lolo’s has plenty of crab leg, shrimp and crawfish combos to keep you fortified in either case. 

  • Williamsburg

The new iteration of this long-running bar eschews a cocktail menu in favor bartenders who promise, “if you know it, we can make it.” It does, however, have a formal frozen on offer. We guess those are harder to whip up on the fly. The Cuj includes tequila, Aperol, Suze, passionfruit and lime, ideally enjoyed in Maracuja’s recently reopened secret garden. 

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  • Pubs
  • Rockaways
  • price 1 of 4

Drinks at the beach are a time-honored tradition pre-dating even this Rockaway staple, which has been operating in various iterations since the 1920s. It changed ownership last year, but Connolly’s still serves fan favorite piña coladas, now in paper cups instead of Styrofoam. If you’re planning on bringing those babies back to the beach, we won’t tell anyone what’s in the nondescript vessels. 

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