Lollies have grown up. Boozy “pops” are appearing at smart parties and even Aldi has got on board with its own cut-price range. But ready-made versions can be sugar heavy and weird tasting, not to mention expensive – so you’re far better off making your own.
In principle, you can adapt any of your favourite cocktails to a lolly, as long as you bear in mind the ice science (adding alcohol lowers the temperature that the lollies freeze at).
Of course, like that bottle of white wine I stuck next to the ice cream and forgot about, even an alcohol content of 14 per cent will go solid in a domestic freezer – eventually.
It probably won’t, however, freeze hard – and while a friable texture is on the whole a good thing (unless you want to suck on an ice cube) you still need the lolly to be fairly solid to stay on the stick.
Then you’ll probably want to add a bit of sugar – it gives a nice sticky lickable quality, and improves what the professionals call the “length” of the flavour. But, alas, it also gets in the way of ice crystals forming. Combining too much sugar with a load of alcohol, and you have a recipe for a slush puppy, not a Solero.
The upshot is, save the full-strength cocktails for your glass, and settle for something considerably lighter for your lollies. You can always have two.
Make a small batch of sugar syrup for sweetening your lollies and you’ll speed up the process. This will keep in the fridge in a jar for months.
150 ml of syrup
- 100g caster sugar
- 100ml boiling water
- Put the sugar in a bowl and pour over the boiling water.
- Stir and leave to stand until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has cooled.
Negroni (with pomegranate)
This is a take on the classic Negroni mix of gin, Campari and red vermouth – but with some pomegranate and orange juice added. I think these are best made in small moulds – I use 60ml shot glasses.
about 6 60ml lollies
- 1 large orange
- 150ml of sugar syrup, as above
- 100ml pomegranate juice (from a carton is fine)
- 2 tsp Campari
- 1tsp gin
- 2tsp red vermouth
Take the zest off the orange with a vegetable peeler. Juice the orange.
- Mix the orange juice, sugar syrup, pomegranate juice, Campari, gin and vermouth, then pour in to lolly moulds.
- Cut the orange zest into long strips and wrap around the lolly sticks, and pop them in. Freeze.
Rum and coke float
About 4 100ml lollies
- 200ml Coca cola
- 4 tbsp Rum
- 1tbsp sugar syrup as above
- ½ tub vanilla ice cream (not soft scoop)
- Mix the rum, coke and sugar syrup. Pour about half into the bottom of six moulds – it should be about a third full. Freeze until set.
- Mix the rest of the rum and coke with 4tbsp of ice cream. Pour into the moulds until they are about two thirds full. Freeze until set.
- Top with ice cream until the moulds are just about full. Push in sticks and freeze.
Gin and elderflower
Gin and tonic makes a good ice lolly, especially if you add a good squeeze of lime. But as the elderflower is in full bloom right now, here’s a more seasonal cocktail.
about 4 100ml lollies
- 150ml elderflower cordial
- squeeze lemon
- 50ml gin
- 130ml water
- fresh elderflowers, to garnish
- Mix the cordial, lemon, gin and water. Pour into moulds and top with lots of elderflowers. Freeze.
Mezcal and cucumber margarita
Mezcal is a smoky Mexican spirit, made from the agave plant, which gives a fantastically exotic flavour to cocktails.
about 3 100ml lollies
- 1 medium cucumber
- 4 tbsp Mezcal
- 1 lime juiced
- 2tbsp triple sec
- 4tbsp sugar syrup as above
- Chopped chilli, or chilli sauce (optional)
- Sea salt flakes and smoked paprika (optional)
- Cut the cucumber into chunks and whizz to a puree. Rub through a sieve so you have a deep green cucumber juice.
- Mix the juice with the Mezcal, lime, triple sec and sugar syrup, plus a little chopped chilli or chilli sauce if you like.
- Pour into moulds. Push in a few slices of cucumber. Freeze.
- Serve scattered with a few flakes of sea salt and some smoked paprika, if you like.
Even if you aren’t usually a fan of sweet, rich Irish cream liqueurs, this is worth trying for the gently caramelly cream it makes. On a stick with a dribble of chocolate, it’s a really good thing.
If you want to make a regular soft scoop ice cream, then whisk the cream to soft peaks, then add the well chilled evaporated milk and sugar and whisk again until softly billowing. Pour into a plastic tub and freeze – there’s no need to stir it as it freezes.
4 100ml lollies
- 200ml evaporated milk
- 200ml double cream
- 50g icing sugar
- 50ml Baileys
- 100g plain chocolate, melted
- Mix the evaporated milk, cream, icing sugar and Baileys. Pour into moulds and freeze.
- Once frozen, unmould and drizzle with melted chocolate. Return to the freezer briefly to set the chocolate.
After a hot summer night of partying, these are the perfect pick me up. There’s no sugar in these, so they are icily refreshing rather than strictly lickable, but a dash of soy sauce boosts the tomato’s savoury flavour.
about 3 100ml lollies
- 250ml tomato juice
- A shake of Worcestershire sauce
- A dash of chilli sauce
- 2tbsp vodka
- A dash of soy sauce
- Celery stick
- Thinly sliced lemon
- Mix the tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, chilli sauce, vodka, soy sauce and lemon. Adjust the flavours to suit you and pour into moulds.
- Tuck in a slice of lemon and a stick of celery along with the stick. Freeze.
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