Smile Politely

Boozy slushies to keep you cool this summer

This summer, I am living up the warm days. Too soon, it will be cold, and jackets will be the norm with mittens and hats — and possibly a polar vortex, so I’m appreciating what I have right now: hot temperatures. Cheers to summer. Cheers to July and August. Cheers to the hot days when I’m thristy for something icy cold.

I’m a grown adult who has a liking for adult beverages, and I am quite a fan of alcoholic slushies. A little note before the the list: I wanted to include one of Black Dog’s slush in this list, but sadly, their slushie machine is broken and currently out for repair.

This list highlights five alcoholic slushies from $5.75 to $8 that you can currently find in Champaign-Urbana, and perhaps you’ll find a new one to try before summer ends.

On a butcher block counter, there is a pink Aperol spritz slush from Art Mart in a plastic to go cup with a plastic straw. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Aperol Spritz Slush | Art Mart

The flavors rotate constantly in the slushie machines at Art Mart. A few weeks ago, I enjoyed a sangria slush that was awesome, and a few months ago, I wrote about the bourbon peach punch slush I tried. This week, you can find an Aperol Spritz slushie in one of Art Mart’s two machines. I took one to go, but you can enjoy it in the Art Mart cafe or on one of the two tables on the front porch of the shop. The drink was tart, boozy, and deliciously Aperol forward. If you’ve never had an Aperol spritz before, you must. It is my favorite apertif, and the spritz is made with Aperol, prosecco, and club soda (though I prefer to leave out the soda). Aperol is a citrusy liqueur similar to Campari (the liqueur used in the negroni) but sweeter, and in this slush, it’s delightful. The bitter orange liqueur was the strongest flavor, and since I love the taste of Aperol, I loved this spritz. It was icy smooth with no chunks, just a consistent, homogenous texture. You can get this for $7 by the cheeses and beside the wine department. 

Art Mart
1705 S Prospect Ave
M-Sa 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Su 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On a black patio table at Baxter's American Grill in Champaign, there is a wine glass filled with a strawberry iced drink with a full strawberry as a garnish on the right side. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Strawberry Mango Frosé | Baxter’s American Grill

Made with blended strawberries, ice, Cruzan mango rum, rosé wine, sugar, and lemonade, this strawberry mango frosé ($7) was pretty good. I will say the blending could be improved as it was a pretty crunchy, icy drink. The crushed ice floated atop a really yummy strawberry drink. There wasn’t much mango flavor that I could taste, but the strawberry came through strong. The frosé was sweet and reminded me of something I could get poolside on a tropical vacation. It was a nice drink to have on a warm day.

Baxter’s American Grill
100 Trade Center Drive
M-F 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sa 3 to 9 p.m.
Su 3 to 8 p.m.

On a concrete ledge at Esquire's patio in Downtown Champaign, there is a wine glass filled with a yellow frozen pineapple margarita with a slice of pineapple as a garnish on the left side. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Frozen Pineapple Margarita | Esquire Lounge

I’m not sure if there’s anything more iconic on Esquire’s menu than the pineapple margarita. This frozen version ($5.75) was just perfection on a summer afternoon on Esquire’s outdoor patio. Sweet and with a strong pineapple taste, this slush was made with Esquire’s pineapple infused tequila, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly alcoholic tasting. I enjoyed the fruity drink — and the slight boozy buzz it gave me. I also liked the large chunk of pineapple for a garnish; I ate it as a little appetizer before the food came out.

Esquire Lounge
106 N Walnut St
11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., daily

On a white marbled table at Farren's in Downtown Champaign, there is a white frozen colada slush with a striped straw. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Captain Colada | Farren’s 

Made with Captain Morgan spiced rum, pineapple juice, and coconut, this slush ($8) was a great drink that tasted like a piña colada. I happen to really like piña coladas, and so I super enjoyed the sweet pineapple flavor and the subtle rum taste. The drink was garnished with an orange slice and a thick, striped paper straw. The bigger straw let me sip bigger sips — which made for easy brain-freeze because it was so tasty that I couldn’t stop drinking those big sips. The slush was freezing cold with a very smooth texture, and the boozy pineapple flavor was downright addicting. This one is a must the next time you’re at Farren’s.

Farren’s Pub and Eatery
117 N Walnut
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fr-Sa 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

On a black outdoor table with a tape white piece of paper with a rooster, there is a mason jar filled with Watson's orange Protect Ya Nectar slush. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Protect Ya Nectar | Watson’s Shack & Rail

The slushie that started it all for me: Protect Ya Nectar ($7) from Watson’s was my first boozy slush. I’d never heard of it back in 2016, so I tried Watson’s flight of slushies. Ever since, Protect Ya Nectar is what I order with my fried chicken sammie when I’m at Watson’s because that combination of hot, fried chicken and icy, boozy slush is too damn good. This rum slushie was made with guava and strawberry banana nectars, triple sec, and lime juice and had a colorful, thick straw for big sipping. The slush was well-blended and a super tasty, sippable drink. It’s sweet and fruity. There are no chunks of ice at the bottom; just a super smooth texture the whole way through. You can enjoy this at Watson’s in Downtown Champaign, or you can order one to go.

Watson’s Shack & Rail
211 N Neil St
T- Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Su 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. + 4 to 9 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

Food + Drink Editor

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