Rosé-Colored Glasses

In Seattle, Frosé Is Here to Stay

Instagram-worthy, delightfully pink—frozen rosé has become the drink of summer. But are we breaking all the wine rules?

By Rosin Saez May 29, 2019 Published in the June/July 2019 issue of Seattle Met

The Belmont's Mark Brown has the goods.

When Seattle’s season of sun eventually arrives—a balmy 64-degree day will do!—city denizens emerge in search of something refreshing to drink. A crisp beer works just fine. Many a warm-weather cocktail was born for this very need. But neither option rivals a cooling, satisfactory slurp from a frosty goblet filled with…frosé?

The icy adult slushy, a portmanteau of frozen rosé, has steadily climbed in popularity over the last few years—even Taco Bell hopped on the frosé train and created one made with a Washington rosé last summer. For some drinkers, this beverage incites mockery, or at least some light eye-rolling. But for others, frosé is as beloved as the pink wine from which it’s made. We can’t quit the photo-ready drink. Is that so bad?

Henri Schock, who co-owns Bottlehouse in Madrona and Mr. West Cafe downtown (with another coming to the University Village this year) with his wife Soni, concedes to a bit of wine heresy. “We are purists in our delivery of wine,” he says, “so it’s one of those things like, Oh man, are we bastardizing this beautiful beverage which is so counterintuitive to our efforts promoting rosé?” The customers who clamor for the rosy versions served at both his bars clearly think not. Bring on the blasphemy!

Drinking frosé fuels Instagram posts, patio squatting that stretches well into the evening, and even wine snobs who set aside their aversion to froofy concoctions, if only for one round: Warm temps beget chilled-out drinkers. After all, says Schock, “That’s what summer is about, right?”

The Best Rosés to Frosé

“Southern Italy, Spain, or Portugal… Choose something that’s deeper in color and dry or off-dry in style, depending on your taste.” —Katie O’Kelly of Bottlehouse and Mr. West

Frosé Making 101

Mark Brown, owner of Capitol Hill cocktail lounge the Belmont, offers a crash course on concocting a frosty glass of your own.

1. Pour rosé into two ice trays. An inexpensive bottle of Provençal will do just fine, but something that lands somewhere on the dry to off-dry end of the spectrum will lend a stronger, flavor-forward backbone. Freeze for at least 24 hours.

2. Rosé (especially those versions from Provençal) plays well with raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, cherries, and even grapes. Puree your fruit of choice, strain, then dispense into ice trays, and, yes again, freeze until unequivocally solid.

3. When everything is firmed up, add 10 cubes of frozen rosé and four cubes of frozen fruit puree into a blender and blitz. Then add two ounces each of rosé (liquid, not frozen) and simple syrup (a one-to-one ratio of sugar and water). For complexity, incorporate two ounces of amaro, like Ramazzotti Rosato, or an aperitif wine like Lillet Blanc or Aperol, which will bump up the pink-orange hue.

4. Blend that summer elixir until it’s frothy and stands up on its own like a gymnast sticking the landing. You may need to add an extra cube of frozen fruit or wine if the texture is too loose. Alternatively, add splashes of rosé should the slushy seem overly stiff. Dispense rosy-pink frosé into wine glasses, insert an equally summery straw (optional, though a lot more fun), and quaff immediately.  

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