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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Handheld blenders
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Handheld blenders
Shaun of theTiki
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Joined: Aug 25, 2008
Posts: 109
Posted: 2011-06-04 2:20 pm   Permalink

I was shopping for a new blender when I came across the Cusinart handheld blender. Are they good mixers and easy to clean, or should I settle for the usual enclosed blender?

http://www.crateandbarrel.com/kitchen-and-food/blenders/cuisinart-smartstick-hand-blender/s458317

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jokeiii
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Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 334
From: Miami
Posted: 2011-06-04 4:45 pm   Permalink

I have both types and, frankly, you're better off with a "regular" blender for drinks.
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Cincy_Tiki_Craig
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Joined: Sep 29, 2008
Posts: 8
Posted: 2011-06-05 03:10 am   Permalink

With all due respect, you are not better off with a 'regular' blender. A handheld immersion blender is much more similar in style to the Hamilton-Beach type blender that Don Beach used, is easier to clean, and can be used right in your cocktail shakers. It's no contest really.

 
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Brandomoai
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Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 321
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Posted: 2011-06-06 12:47 pm   Permalink

I prefer a top mixer for the ol' 5 second blend. I think the hand helds are a little too choppy for cocktails, but work great with milk shakes and punch bowls. They won't crush ice, but they may work well with shaved ice. I haven't tried this yet. Anyone? I have all 3 (regular blender, immersion blender, and top mixer) and the one that gets the least use (in the bar) is the hand held immersion blender. Great for mixing pancake batter, though!

 
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jokeiii
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Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 334
From: Miami
Posted: 2011-06-07 02:15 am   Permalink

Craig,

Hate to disagree with you, but here's why I do: An immersion blender is good for two sorts of things, puree-ing soft items and stirring/frothing up liquids.

It simply will not break down ice the way a regular blender does, nor will it handle the same volume of fruit/liquids in the same amount of time. It also will not deal with fibers in the same way. (Think pineapple, tamarind and coconut, for example.)

Can an immersion blender serve as a top-down mixer? I definitely think so. But a top-down mixer doesn't perform the same functions an enclosed blender would. If you look up the Don the Beachcomber recipes, you will note that FAR more call for a blender (by which we mean an enclosed blender) than do a top-down mixer. Yes, an immersion blender works in the tin of a shaker, but that's one drink at a time (two, tops). If you want to make, say, four of something you have to start breaking the process down into batches.

Mind you, I have and regularly use both kinds. I first bought my immersion blender thinking I could dispense with the enclosed blender, but two weeks of futzing around trying to get "enclosed blender results" out of an immersion blender quickly disabused me of that notion. (For the record, not that anyone asked, a food processor cannot replace the enclosed blender, either.)

The immersion blender works better when we're talking about stuff in big pots (soups, sauces, etc.) especially large volumes of hot stuff that has to be "smoothed" because an enclosed blender can only handle these in small batches. Hot liquid, a vortex and a small, enclosed space inevitably lead to mopping the ceiling.

As re. immersion blenders, look up Cook's Illustrated's review of these from last year. (Their favorite is the Kalorik; conveniently also the cheapest @ $20 on Amazon.)
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jokeiii
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Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 334
From: Miami
Posted: 2011-06-08 01:47 am   Permalink

P.S. Oster blenders can now be fitted with a "milkshake" blade which approximates (pretty well, although not perfectly) the effect of a top-down mixer.
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happy buddha
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Joined: Sep 13, 2008
Posts: 187
Posted: 2011-06-08 11:03 am   Permalink

I'm a little bit confused by the top-down mixers.. It seems most agree that the difference is worth having one; but I'm hearing that some drinks require a blender. How do you know which drinks have to be blended & which should be mixed?

 
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jokeiii
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Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 334
From: Miami
Posted: 2011-06-08 5:57 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2011-06-08 11:03, happy buddha wrote:
I'm a little bit confused by the top-down mixers.. It seems most agree that the difference is worth having one; but I'm hearing that some drinks require a blender. How do you know which drinks have to be blended & which should be mixed?


My rule of thumb is that anything with ingredients (or ice) which need to be broken down/liquefied should be in a blender, a Boo Loo, say. You can get away w. a blender in lieu of a top-down mixer, but your tolerance for error is SO.MUCH.NARROWER.
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happy buddha
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Joined: Sep 13, 2008
Posts: 187
Posted: 2011-06-08 9:15 pm   Permalink

I seeeee... So if I'm reading you right, the drinks w/ ingredients that need broken down, like chunked pineapple or lopez coconut, or mint (downfall)- or drinks that need to be slushy (gimlet), need a blender. But all other non-shaken drinks should be prepared in a mixer (for optimum results)?

Are there any recommendations on mixer brands? Am I totally hijacking this thread? I will start a new one if so. Definitely intrigued by the top-down mixers..



 
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jokeiii
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Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 334
From: Miami
Posted: 2011-06-09 11:59 pm   Permalink

That's the rule of thumb, yes. If you're getting a top-down mixer, you pretty much have to get a vintage model as (unless something has happened recently which I haven't been told) modern models aren't as powerful. Hamilton-Beach seems to be the brand of choice.

You can get away w/o one IF -- an important if -- you put a "milkshake blade" (
http://cgi.ebay.com/Oster-6670-milkshake-blade-Oster-Osterizer-blenders-/160599931775?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2564807b7f ) on your blender which will mix everything 99% as well as a top-down mixer up IF (again with the "if") you are careful. So, don't leave the blender running and then walk away. If you already have an Oster blender, at $12 + s/h, this is EASILY the choice that leaves the most room in your wallet for rum and other essentials. This is my personal choice, given that flexibility and especially countertop real-estate are at a premium at my home bar.

I'm not sure if other blender makers offer a similar blade. (Oster has an impressive array of blade and jar choices...I just wish their excellent blenders also featured a variable speed control.)

An immersion blender can also work well, especially if it has a separate attachment with a rippled blade.

HTH!


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[ This Message was edited by: jokeiii 2011-06-10 00:00 ]


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Brandomoai
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Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 321
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Posted: 2011-06-10 09:39 am   Permalink

As I understand it, when the old DTBC recipes say "blend for 5 seconds", they mean a top mixer. When you compare them side-by-side, there's a big difference between the vintage and reproduction Hamilton Beach top mixers. However, the last time I saw a vintage one in these here parts, they were asking $85 for it at an antique mall, whereas I paid $5.99 for the newer, vintage-looking mint green one at a thrift store and I really think it works fine for now. I would love to invest in a vintage one, but I really don't think it's necessary for the home bartender. Every blender I've ever used was useless at crushing ice, so I use a hand-cranked ice crusher or electric ice shaver with the top mixer way more often than I ever pull out the blender. However, the blender is still necessary for solid ingredients like pineapple or frozen fruit in slushy, pina colada/daiquiri/margarita-type drinks. I would still use pre-shaved ice instead of whole cubes for a better texture. So, the crux of my argument is blender and top mixer are must-haves, immersion blender is more handy in the kitchen than in the bar. And you'll need an ice shaver and ice crusher, or something that does both. Hope you have a lot of room behind your bar! I'm running out of space...

 
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thePorpoise
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Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1079
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2011-06-10 12:38 pm   Permalink

If using a blender, do you guys think the 5 seconds is optimal for those recipes, or should it be longer (or shorter)?

 
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jokeiii
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Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 334
From: Miami
Posted: 2011-06-10 4:25 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2011-06-10 12:38, thePorpoise wrote:
If using a blender, do you guys think the 5 seconds is optimal for those recipes, or should it be longer (or shorter)?



If you use the milkshake blade, 5 sec. is fine. If using the regular blade, I'd give it 3 1-sec. pulses.


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Cincy_Tiki_Craig
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Joined: Sep 29, 2008
Posts: 8
Posted: 2011-06-10 9:35 pm   Permalink

Hi Jokeiii,

I think that you made a capital point about ingredients such as fruit (think pineapple) that needs to be broken down, such as for a Boo Loo or a Pina Colada. An immersion blender is simply not up to the task of breaking fruit down. Nor is an immersion blender up to the task of crushing ice, as you correctly pointed out.

When I recommended an immersion blender, I guess that I was thinking more about classic DTB-type drinks that call for ice that has already been crushed, such as a Navy Grog, Scorpion Bowl, etc, which call for "the 5 second blend". In drinks such as these, I think that an immersion blender is still the way to go (aside from an old fashioned top-down mixer, which is the best choice of course). A regular blender's blades will over-process the ice, crushing it into too small fragments which will melt too quickly in your drink. Your suggestion of the Oster "milkshake blade" is perhaps the perfect compromise between the top-down, immersion & traditional blenders for these types of drinks (the types that call for already crushed ice). Better still, if you can get the metal pitcher for your Oster blender, which chills just perfectly, plus the "milkshake blade", that's the real "Mai Tai - Roa Ae"!

Cheers,

Craig


 
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jokeiii
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 334
From: Miami
Posted: 2011-06-11 2:13 pm   Permalink

Craig,

That sounds about right. If I had to choose just one over the other, I'd say an immersion blender is preferable to the top-down mixer, because it's far more of a multitasker (especially with the various attachments) that can be used in the kitchen, etc., than the top-down mixer, which is usually a bar-only thing. Also usually cheaper, too.

That said, the top-down mixer will probably perform best in those DTB drinks.

Good call on the steel jar for the Oster! I'm heading over to eBay right now...

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[ This Message was edited by: jokeiii 2011-06-11 22:30 ]


 
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