Alcoholic popsicles are a great concept but, thanks to ethanol's low freezing point, it's not as simple as throwing some booze into an ice block mould and tossing it in the freezer. But don't let that deter you from making fabulous frozen, boozy treats. All you need to do is pay attention to the ABV.
Photos by Claire Lower.
Below you will find general guidelines for working with beer, wine, and liquor, as well as some tasty recipes that I made just for you. All measurements are in "parts," rather than units of volume, because I don't know the volume of your popsicle molds, and it's just easier to scale up this way. (And I know you're going to want to scale up.)
But First, Some Maths
To make an alcoholic ice pop that won't slush out the moment you remove it from the mould, you're going to want to aim for an overall ABV of 8%. Some beers fall under this threshold, so you are free to freeze those as is, but you'll need to do a bit of maths when working with the stronger stuff. Luckily, it is very easy maths. Using the basic dilution formula that you may have learned in chemistry class, we can quickly find how much booze we can add to our popsicles:
where "C" stands for "concentration" and "V" stands for volume.
Since we know what we want our final concentration to be, we can just write in "8%" for C2. Let's also go ahead and pick a final volume of 170g for a popsicle, and we'll say we're trying to make an ice block out of Hendrick's which has an ABV of 44%. (Note: It's very important that you keep the units of your concentrations consistent throughout your equation. Use either per cent or proof, not both.) So now our equation looks like this:
where V1 represents the volume of liquor we are going to add to our pop.
Rearranging to solve for V1, we get:
Now, obviously 31.18g is kind of annoying to measure out, so just round down to one millilitre of liquor for five millilitres of other liquid. Your pop will freeze just fine and there's a whole shot of gin in there, which is great news all around. Anyway. I think that's enough maths for one day. Let's make some freaking booze-sicles.
Unless you're working with imperial styles ("imperial" just means "look how much alcohol we were able to fit into this beer!) most beers fall under 8% ABV. This means you actually could just throw some beer in a mould and call it a day, but that's not a ton of fun. So I grabbed a bottle of New Belgium's Tart Lychee ale and went from there.
Sour Cherry Beer Pops
- Fresh cherries, pitted
- A good, tart sour beer with an ABV of no more than 8%
If you want to be fancy and make pretty lookin' pops, slice a few cherries and set the slices aside. (6-8 slices is a good amount for a single pop.) Grab a handful of pitted cherries and puree them using a food processor, blender, or stick blender. Combine 1 part cherry puree with 4 parts beer and stir to combine, letting the beer fizz off and settle down. Stick some cherry slices down in your molds, and gently pour in your cherry-beer situation. Insert sticks and freeze overnight.
Alcohol content in wine varies from bottle to bottle, but I usually grab one with an ABV of 13-15%, so I can use the super easy ratio of half wine:half all of the other things. You can, of course, buy wine with a higher ABV, just make sure you use the dilution calculation above to figure out the appropriate ratio.
Elderflower Rosé Pops
- A dry rosé with an ABV not exceeding 15%
- IKEA elderflower drink concentrate
Prepare the elderflower drink per the instructions on the bottle and mix with an equal amount of rosé. Pour mixture into pop molds, insert sticks, and freeze overnight.
Lick Your Liquor
The biggest benefit to freezing your cocktails is that you can consume them in a Jacuzzi, pool or spa worrying about spilling them all over your chest. The below recipe combines all of my favourite things: my bff gin, cool cucumber, and refreshing mint and lime.
Cucumber Mint Gin Pops
- 1 part gin (I use Hendrick's because of that cucumber goodness)
- 5 parts limeade
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- Fresh cucumber, de-seeded and sliced into sticks
Throw your mint leaves in a glass with some gin and muddle the heck out of them. Strain the gin into a your limeade and stir to combine. Place cucumber sticks down in your mould horizontally and gently pour your gin-limeade mixture into the mould. Freeze overnight.
Of course, you are not limited to my recipes. Using the equation above, you are free to go forth and make frozen alcoholic delights from any booze you see fit. So dream big and get crazy, and remember not to take it all too seriously. Sometimes things just don't freeze right, but that's ok. Then you have an alcoholic slushy, and alcoholic slushies are nothing to complain about.