Adding alcohol to popsicles makes frozen treats perfect for adults
Dictated strictly by the earth’s rotation, summer is still a month away, but bright warm weather and semesters drawing to a close are a universally understood symbol of the start of the season. In my house, the other sign summer was approaching was the freezer filling with an assortment of frozen delights: Rocket Pops, Fudgesicles, and the plastic ice pops for which everyone has a different name.
When I was a child I ate like a child; now that I’ve grown I’ve put away childish things, partaking instead in the culinary equivalent of a rite of passage.
Imagine my joy when I learned my nostalgia could be combined with the same spirits signifying adulthood. That’s right; alcoholic popsicles exist and, with some time, patience, and a popsicle mould, can be made at home.
Several food blogs boast recipes for frozen versions of familiar cocktails, including mojitos, gin and tonics, and White Russians, while others are mature versions of childhood classics, like the red wine fudge pops found on A Beautiful Mess or Host the Toast’s orange creamsicles with Blue Moon Belgian White.
But don’t pour straight vodka into your moulds just yet. Because of alcohol’s low freezing point, alcoholic popsicles will need more time to solidify. Freezing times may vary from two to four to even eight hours, depending on your alcohol of choice. Some recipes even suggest letting them freeze overnight.
Something else to give some thought: your ratios within the recipe. Adding too much alcohol will leave you with nothing but a puddle of punch and a popsicle-mould-shaped shot glass. The best recipes will mix the alcohol with other liquids, like milk, frozen orange juice, or just water. So you might not get the same buzz you would expect from a cocktail, the alcohol is really only there to add flavor.
While a popsicle with the same alcohol content as your favorite cocktail is technically possible, it requires extra effort, as well as an unexpected ingredient: gelatin. Gelatin bonds the liquids together so that freezing is a) possible and b) done in less than an eternity. The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas shared their recipes for boozy pops, balancing the ratios between alcohol, simple syrup, water, modifiers and juice (1:1:1:1:5) to make a punch recipe that’s slightly sweeter than normal.
After that, Las Vegas mixologists will dissolve the gelatin in a pan, add ½ of punch to the gelatin pan and wait for it to dissolve into the punch, then add that mixture to the rest of the punch, and finally, freeze them, which may still take a couple hours. If you want to go to that much trouble for a summer buzz, then more power to you, I’m glad you have that kind of free time. Me, I’m impatient. The 8ish-hour wait is more than enough for me.
Speaking of impatient, spiked ice pops will melt faster than your average frozen treat, so eat fast.
Red Wine Fudgesicles
(recipe courtesy of A Beautiful Mess)
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 ½ cup dark chocolate
- 1 ½ cup milk
In a small pot simmer the wine over low/medium heat for 12-18 minutes, allowing it to reduce. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until completely melted. Stir in the milk. Pour into your popsicle tray and freeze over night. Makes 4-6 popsicles depending upon your tray size.
Blue Moon Orange Creamsicles
(recipe courtesy of Host the Toast)
- 1 cup frozen 100% orange concentrate, thawed
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
- 24 oz Blue Moon Belgian White Ale or other Witbier (2 average-sized bottles)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 clementines or tangerines
You will also need:
- 12 (3 oz) Dixie cups
- Small popsicle sticks or craft spoons
- A pitcher or large cocktail shaker
In a pitcher or large cocktail shaker, combine the orange concentrate, sweetened condensed milk, beer, and vanilla extract. It is important to combine the ingredients in a container that has a spout because it will make it much easier to pour the mix into cups.
Line out the Dixie cups on a baking sheet, so it will be easy to transport them to the freezer. Fill each Dixie cup 90 percent of the way with the orange-beer mixture.
Slice the clementines into ¼ inch thick rounds. Push a craft spoon through the center of each clementine round, so that half of the stick pokes out from each side. Top the mixture with the clementine sticks. Make sure the clementine is resting directly on top of the orange-beer mixture.
Freeze for at least four hours, or overnight. When ready to remove the popsicles from the Dixie cups, simply snip a small cut in the rim of each cup and peel them away from the popsicle. Place the popsicles onto a dish with crushed ice to keep them from melting too quickly. Serve and enjoy.