What We’re Drinking:
Sardella's delectable frose.
Where We’re Drinking:
Sardella (7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 773-7755)
When We’re Drinking:
5 p.m., or literally anytime
There are certain firsts that just stick with you: your first job, your first kiss, and for me, the first time I sipped the frozen drink perfection of frosé. The icy pink concoction is served in a berry-topped glass, and frosé (aka frozen rosé) is undoubtedly the official drink of summer.
The wine slushie is made with frozen rosé wine, strawberries, an optional splash of vodka and lemon juice. Just add ice and blend. Upon my first sip, I didn’t know what to expect. I love rosé, but most frozen drinks are super sugary, so my expectations were not particularly high.
Flash forward two years later: I have spent my summers since that day lobbying chefs and bartenders to add this new seasonal staple to menus in St. Louis. It’s that good. My dreams were finally
answered when Gerard Craft, the James Beard award-winning chef and owner of the Niche Food group, added frosé to the offerings at his Clayton hotspot Sardella. Both frosé and frozen negronis went on Sardella’s menu in late June, and the restaurant has seen high demand for the slushy cocktails ever since. “When I first started making slushies, I knew it was something we had to master,” says Craft. “Everyone loves frosé.” After purchasing a slushie machine, the team spent the past few months perfecting the sugar-to-alcohol ratio of the drink.
The popularity of rosé has risen dramatically in the last decade, with demand worldwide surging since 2014. It can be enjoyed still, semi-sparkling, or sparkling. The beauty of rosé is that it has a wide range of sweetness levels, so don’t be assume it all tastes like the Franzia white zin that was popular with suburban moms in the '80s.
The slushie version called frosé wasn’t invented until 2016 at Bar Primi in New York City after the fateful purchase of a slushie machine. Since that time, frosé has taken over bars and restaurants (and even high-end ice cream parlors) across America, and most recently here in St. Louis. The recipe that Craft and his mixologists came up with has its own spin, but retains the classic flavor. “Michael Petres, our corporate chef, developed the recipe using elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice, Peychaud's bitters, and of course, rosé,” says Craft. The result is an extremely refreshing and drinkable cocktail, just in time for the muggy dog days of summer.
Normally, frozen drinks come with an unspoken warning to not have more than one or two because of the sugar content and hangover implications, but frosé has a lower ABV, meaning you can imbibe more freely. The frosé will be on the drink menu at Sardella until the weather turns cooler, which in St. Louis means it could be a mainstay well throughout September. This allows plenty of time to have your first sip of frosé, or to be reunited with a favorite summer staple.
Ellen Prinzi is our bar columnist. She likes strong drinks and has strong opinions. You can catch more of her writing via Olio City, a city guide app she started in 2017.