If you're slogging through a Florida summer and you like to drink and it's really, really hot out (as if that could happen), there's no better medicine than something fruit-like pulverized in a blender with lots of ice and alcohol. Open wide and say aaahhhhhh.
FROZEN MARGARITA at HABLO TACO Who says you need to head to the beach for a good frozen cocktail? The Channel District's Hablo Taco serves up a frozen margarita, the best-selling drink on the menu, that's sure to transport you to your ideal waterfront paradise. If it's not uncommon for your friends to find you, like me, losing yourself in a huge marg and a bowl of queso on Taco Tuesday, this one's for you. A lot of places offer frozen margaritas, but this 2-year-old Mexican restaurant and cantina does it right. 615 Channelside Drive #127, Tampa, 813-405-8226, hablotaco.com.
THE GREEN FLASH at BONGOS BEACH BAR AND GRILLE Does a bar's locale add a special kind of tastiness to its cocktails? Well, it does in the case of Bongos. The Grand Plaza Hotel gathering place, located directly on the beach, is everything you could ask for in a beachfront bar, and the sun, sand and gulf breeze make the temptation of ordering a frozen drink difficult to pass up. The hardest decision, however, comes down to which flavor to choose. There are 12 icy options, but go Green Flash for coconut rum, melon liqueur, pineapple juice, sour mix, blue Curaçao and grenadine. The cocktail basically looks like what happens when you mix three different kinds of 7-Eleven Slurpees together, and we're OK with it. 5250 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-360-1811, grandplazaflorida.com.
MANOR FROSÉ at FRANKLIN MANOR No matter how much you want to avoid the "basic" or "white-girl wasted" condemnation that may follow (what's up with you dinguses who do that anyway?), you have to order a Manor Frosé the next time you're at Franklin Manor — hell, go there specifically for this drink. A signature cocktail that the restaurant, bar and live music venue has perfected, the frosé — whose name translates to exactly what you think: a rosé slushie — needs no description other than puppies, rainbows and sunshine on a cloudy day. 360 Vodka, rosé, and peach and prickly pear purées make up the down-right irresistible Manor Frosé (and don't get me started on that gummy bear-like garnish), which sports a lovely pale pink hue. Say fuck the haters while sipping away on the downtown Tampa hotspot's outdoor patio. 912 N Franklin St, Tampa, 813-487-9990, thefranklinmanor.com. —MH
RUN-A-GROUND RUM RUNNER at SANDBAR BILL'S Without a doubt, my go-to drink at any bar on a hot day is a Rum Runner. Sandbar Bill's, part of the charming Florida-style Bon-Aire Resort, has upped the ante with its frozen (and seriously strong) version of the beloved recipe, spotlighting light rum, blackberry brandy, banana liqueur and tropical juices. Still on the beach but with a slightly older crowd, the bar and grill serves its Run-A-Ground Rum Runner with a straw full of liquor in a sweat-proof Styrofoam cup — something you'd think more beachside hangouts would do. One of these goes perfect with the sunset. 4350 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-360-5596, bonaireresort.com.
WINE FREEZE at THE FLORIDA WINERY Perhaps the biggest surprise on this list. I was apprehensive about stopping into the Florida Winery's home base — at first glance it looks more like another John's Pass tourist shop than a winery with a generous tasting bar (you can sample the whole portfolio) — but I'm so glad I did. Behind the bar are several frozen drink machines spinning TFW's signature wine freeze mixes, including piña colada, strawberry and orange creme. Have your wine-tender combine rum runner and key lime margarita for an umbrella-topped match made in beach heaven. Oh, and don't forget to add a shot of rum for $1. It's a must. 12945 Village Blvd., Madeira Beach, 727-362-0008, thefloridawinery.com.