Back to The Distiller

The Zero Proof Guide to Making Frozen Non-Alcoholic Cocktails

Before "no-gronis" and de-alcoholized rosé popped up on menus, a non-alcoholic cocktail with dinner meant a frozen drink.

While Virgin Margaritas, Piña Coladas, and Strawberry Daiquiris might be more interesting than yet another soda water, they're basically overpriced Slurpees. Made from sticky concentrates loaded with corn syrup and artificial coloring, these "cocktails" lack the complexity we want.

With non-alcoholic spirits, it is possible to make excellent blended drinks that are infinitely better than what you'd get from a spinning machine at a gas station. However, bartenders face unique challenges when making boozeless blender drinks. You can't just substitute a zero-proof rum in your Hemingway Daiquiri and call it a day.

But don't sweat it! We crushed buckets of ice, pulverized pounds of pineapple, and froséd our way through several bottles of dealcoholized wine to discover the secrets to delicious non-alcoholic frozen drinks. Below you'll find the rules for successful blender drinks, and three recipes demonstrating easily adaptable techniques to turn any booze-free cocktail into a frosty but sophisticated treat.

Keep it cool

Warm ingredients in a frozen drink, however, will cause it to melt too quickly, leaving you with a sad, watery drink. Cold ingredients are essential for the smooth, frosty texture we all crave. High-proof, alcoholic spirits like rum, vodka, tequila, and gin will stay liquid in the freezer. Water-based, non-alc spirits, will freeze solid, and might shatter glass bottles all over your freezer!

If it can't go in the freezer, make sure all of your ingredients are as cold as possible. Chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably for a full 24 hours.

Don't leave ingredients on the counter while you hunt for your blender at the back of the cabinet. Gather your machine and any tools you need first, and only remove your ingredients from the fridge when you will use them immediately.

Keep it crushed

This step may seem superfluous- after all, isn't the blender supposed to crush the ice?- but despite many sporting a "crush ice" button, most blenders suck at it. Two or three minutes of blending will heat up the liquids, while the ice remains in undrinkable chunks. Trust me. For good frozen drinks, pre-crushing your ice and frozen fruit is non-negotiable.

To crush ice and other frozen ingredients, place them in a plastic or silicon storage bag. Seal, leaving a little slit for air to escape, so the bag doesn't pop. Gently but firmly tap each cube with a mallet or hammer until it shatters into thin shards.

Keep it short

The longer the blender runs, the more the blades generate heat. Keep melt to a minimum by blending only until the drink is a uniform texture and not one second more! Err on the side of caution: a few stray pebbles of ice is better than a drink that melts before it even hits the glass.

For best results, liquids go in the blender first, then solids.

A good rule of thumb is to blend for 10 seconds on low to medium to pulverize any large chunks, then 5 seconds on high to make it smooth. Machines vary in strength and speed, though, so keep an eye on it! Frozen drinks can go from slushy to soupy in seconds.

Once blended, taste a spoonful off the top. If the flavor is too sweet, too concentrated, or the texture is too thick, add a cube or two of crushed ice and blend for 5 more seconds on low speed.


Now that you've got the basics, it's time to whip up some drinks!

These three recipes demonstrate our top techniques for making delicious, non-alcoholic, frozen cocktails:

  1. The Ramos Gin Float adds sugar to balance flavor

  2. The Zero Proof Frozen Negroni maximizes flavor while minimizing dilution

  3. The Frozen Piña Colada uses frozen fruit for a long-lasting, frosty texture

Ramos Gin Float

When our tongues get cold, sweet and bitter flavors are harder to taste, while sour flavors stay the same. To make a frozen version of a cocktail taste "right," you have to trick your tastebuds by adding extra sugar. An easy shortcut: replace unsweetened ingredients with sweetened ones. Try lime cordial instead of lime juice in a frozen Moscow Mule, or a mint syrup instead of the crushed leaves in a frozen Mint Julep.

For our twist on the Ramos Gin Fizz, we used vanilla ice cream in place of heavy cream for the sugar boost, and reduced the citrus juices to balance the flavor. While the original is a notorious bicep workout for bartenders, the blender does all the work to give this frozen version its characteristic, gravity-defying foam.

Ramos Gin Float

Serves 1


  • 2 ounces GinISH

  • 1 ounces Lyre's Orange Sec

  • 1 egg white

  • ¼ oz lemon juice

  • ¼ oz lime juice

  • 3 dashes orange bitters

  • ¾ oz simple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons premium vanilla ice cream

  • 8 ounces crushed ice

  • soda water, to top


  1. In a blender, add GinISH, Lyre's Orange Sec, egg white, lemon juice, lime juice, bitters, simple syrup, and ice cream.

  2. Pulse until frothy and well combined.

  3. Add ice, and blend for 10 seconds on low speed, then 5 seconds on high.

  4. Fill a highball glass ¾ full.

  5. Slowly pour soda water over the mixture until the head froths above the top of the glass.

  6. Add a straw and serve immediately.

The Zero Proof Frozen Negroni

Another way to bump up the sugar is to add simple syrup, as in this frozen Negroni. For maximum flavor, we double the usual pour and add ¼ ounce of simple syrup. Not enough to make it sweet, but enough to trick your tastebuds. Freezing half overnight in ice cube trays to blend with the other half keeps the flavor consistent as the drink melts.

With this "half-frozen" method, you can turn just about any non-alcoholic cocktail into a frozen drink. Great for slushy spritzes, blended Margaritas, and phenomenal frosé. It's also a great way to use up any dealcoholized wine or ready-to-drink cocktail you thought was too sweet. Just skip the additional sugar and let the cold bring the balance.

When adapting a recipe that uses any kind of syrup, increase it by 50%. If it doesn't, add ¼ ounce of simple syrup per serving. I recommend scaling this one up and keeping frozen cocktail cubes on hand so you don't have to wait 8 hours between rounds. If you're not using them right away, store cubes in an airtight container to avoid freezer burn.

The Zero Proof Frozen Negroni

Serves: 1



  1. Mix the ingredients in a bar glass or pitcher.

  2. Using a measuring shot glass or jigger, pour one ounce of liquid into 3 cells of an ice cube tray.

  3. Put the ice cube tray in the freezer for at least 8 hours or until mixture freezes solid.

  4. Pour the remaining liquid into a tight fitting jar and store the refrigerator.

  5. Once the cubes are frozen solid, remove from freezer and crush into shards.

  6. Pour liquid ingredients into the blender, and top with frozen ingredients.

  7. Blend until smooth. Pour into an old-fashioned glass, garnish with an orange peel if desired, and serve immediately.

Non-Alcoholic Frozen Piña Colada

Traditionally, frozen Piña Coladas are made by blending ice with pineapple juice and coconut milk or cream. In this nonalcoholic version, whole and pureed fruit produce a cold, creamy texture that stays frozen longer. This technique will also keep mango Margaritas, blackberry Daiquiris, or any fruity, blended cocktail nice and frosty.

Don't let the two types of non-alcoholic rum deter you. Bartenders frequently blend multiple rums for specific flavors in tropical drinks, but it will be just as delicious with four ounces of whatever non-alcoholic rum you have on hand.

Non-Alcoholic Frozen Piña Colada

Serves: 1


  • 1 ounce coconut cream

  • 3 ounces coconut water

  • 2 ounces Ritual Zero Proof Rum

  • 2 ounces RumISH

  • ¼ ounce lime juice

  • ½ ounce simple syrup

  • ½ cup frozen pineapple


  1. Freeze coconut cream and coconut water in an ice tray until solid.

  2. Once coconut cream and coconut water cubes are frozen, crush into thin shards.

  3. Crush frozen pineapple.

  4. Pour RItual Zero Proof Rum, RumISH, lime juice, and simple syrup into blender.

  5. Add crushed coconut cream, coconut water, and pineapple to the blender.

  6. Blender for 5-10 seconds on low. Increase speed to high, and blend for 5 seconds until creamy.

  7. Pour into rocks glass or footed goblet, garnish with pineapple if desired, and serve immediately.

Once you've mastered the techniques in these recipes, don't stop there! The late summer heat is a great excuse to stay inside and experiment with your blender.

You can turn almost any non-alcoholic beverage into tasty, drinkable air conditioning by increasing the sugar content, freezing half of your cocktail, or replacing ice and liquid juice with frozen fruits and purees.

Just try not to drink these irresistible, non-alcoholic frozen cocktails too fast. We can tell you how to make the perfect blender drink, but we're still working on how to avoid those cold headaches!