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What Is A Frappé Cocktail And How Do You Make One?

Frappé Cocktails

The word frappé has become commonplace across the world due to the ubiquity of coffee shops and bars. Frappé is generally used to mean a drink served chilled or with ice. But, in the world of mixology, there is more to this term than simply meaning 'served cold'. As we have seen in mixology history, the story of the word frappé too is a little complex with interesting twists and turns! Here's the story of frappé and the evolution of its meaning.

Frappé comes from the French word Frapper which means to hit or strike, referring to smashing of ice using an ice mallet and Lewis bag. However, in mixology vocabulary, as per historian David Wondrich's The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, frappé 'is a somewhat slippery term'. Let's break down the complicated history of this term.

In earlier bar books, frappé referred to refrigeration and ice equipment rather than a style of serving. But in the 1884 The Modern Bartender's Guide written by OH Byron, the term was used to refer to drinks served over cracked (crushed) or shaved ice.

Here's a recipe from Byron's book:

Vermouth Frappee

A large bar glass
1½ pony French vermouth
½ glass filled with Shaved ice
Fill up with cold Seltzer water

frappe cocktails


As per Harry Johnson's 1888 New And Improved Bartenders Manual, champagne frappé is a bottle of champagne that has been chilled in an ice bucket filled with 'broken ice and rock salt'. In the 1900 edition of his same book, Johnson added Absinthe Frappé and Crème de Menthe Frappé. But he makes an important distinction between Crème de Menthe and Crème de Menthe Frappé. The former is simply crème de menthe poured over shaved ice, whereas the latter is shaken and stirred into 'a fancy glass'.

As per the 1940 book, The Official Mixer's Manual by Patrick Gavin Duffy, the blender has influenced what actually is meant by a frappé. He says, "Frappés may be made in three ways and of any liquor or liqueur – or combination – you desire."

Below is how he categorised what a frappé is.

1. Pouring the liquor or liqueur into a glass filled with shaved ice and serving with a straw.
2. Shaking the drink with shaved ice and then straining into the glass.
3. Blending the liquor or liqueur with shaved ice and pouring it unstrained into glass

As per Difford, the correct definition of a Frappé Cocktail is the second one, where the drink is shaken with shaved ice and then strained into the glass. The third definition where the spirit is blended with ice and served is a Frozen cocktail. Whereas the first definition, where the alcohol or cocktail is simply poured into a glass filled with shaved ice and with a straw popped in is actually termed as 'served frappé.


Frappe cocktail

Here are some Frappé recipes for you!

Absinthe Frappé (Frappé Cocktail)


30 ml Absinthe
10 ml Anisette liqueur
30 ml Chilled water
5 ml Rich sugar syrup (65.0°Brix)


Shake all the ingredients with ice and fine strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Stir and serve in an Old Fashioned glass with a straw.

Daiquiri Frappé (Frozen Cocktail)


50 ml Captain Morgan's White Rum
15 ml Lime juice (freshly squeezed)
10 ml Rich sugar syrup ( 65.0°Brix)
Lime wedge, for garnish


Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Chocolate Bourbon Stinger (served frappé)


60 ml Bourbon
8 ml White crème de cacao
10 ml White crème de menthe            
8 drops Chocolate Bitters
Square of 70% cacao chocolate
Mint sprigs bouquet


Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with the chocolate and mint sprigs.