Who doesn't love a boozy treat, especially a cold one when the weather is sweltering? I came of drinking age when frozen mudslides and super-sweet frozen strawberry daiquiris were all the rage at chain restaurants, but I prefer my frozen cocktails a little less sweet these days.

This week, I started playing around with frozen wine drinks, better known as wine slushies, so I can add them to my summer offerings when I'm entertaining. I read various recipes. A few said to simply throw the wine in the freezer and add nothing to it. Others mixed the frozen wine with frozen fruit. Some added sugar to the mix in various measurements, and a few of those were so sugar laden that they took me back to the early-'90s chain restaurant drinks.

For my first experiment, I froze one cup of red and cup of white one white wine separately — a garnacha and a pinot grigio. The next day I scraped them around a bit to make them slushie consistency and sampled. Yuck. These two wines frozen and by themselves were not palatable.

I next decided to try white wine and frozen fruit. I had a can of papaya chunks and froze 1/4 cup of the chunks with three tablespoons of the fruit juice from the can, hoping the juice would add enough sweetness. When I blended the frozen wine and fruit together, the result was better than the plain frozen pinot grigio, but it needed some added sweetness, so I decided to add some homemade simple syrup to the mix. (Here's a recipe.)

I've determined there are three basic key ingredients needed for a wine slushie: wine, fruit and sweetener. Just as everyone has different sweetness preferences for wine, so it will be for wine slushies. The type of wine used will also affect how much sugar to use. The pinot grigio I used is fruity, but dry. A fruity, sweet wine will probably require less sweetener. I don't think there's a one-recipe-fits-all wine for a wine slushie. You throw the three components in the blender and see how it comes out.

After several experiments, I came up with a papaya wine slushie made with pinot grigio that I enjoyed, and I'll be happy to serve it to friends this summer.


  • 3/4 cup pinot grigio (or other non-oaked, dry white wine)
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 cup canned papaya chunks, plus 3 tablespoons juice from can


  1. Freeze the wine and the simple syrup together overnight. It takes alcohol longer to freeze than nonalcoholic liquids.
  2. Place the the papaya chunks and juice in the freezer for several hours, until frozen.
  3. Combine both frozen mixtures in a blender and blend until smooth. (You can also use a stick blender.)

I think this wine slushie concept is worth experimenting with further. I'd like to come up with a red wine version, and a very citrus-y version of a white wine slushie.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.