How Do Alcoholic Popsicles Work?
As you may have gleaned from that bottle of still-liquid vodka in your freezer, alcohol doesn’t freeze. So even an expert like Harter had trouble with his first few batches of boozy pops. “I can't tell you how many errors were made before I started getting it right,” he says. Thankfully, Harter prevailed in his experiments so you don’t have to make any of the same mistakes when inventing your own signature spiked popsicle.
The first step was choosing a base that created a satisfying popsicle that held together. Through his trials, Harter found that fibrous fruits, like pineapple or mango, or fatty ingredients, like coconut, avocado or almonds, worked best. Then, Harter took a true cocktailian approach to the flavor profiles, thinking about adding acidity for brightness, herbs for intrigue, sweetness and, of course, a spirit that would blend well with all of those components.
But finding the perfect proportion of these ingredients wasn’t just important for the flavor. “Managing the water, alcohol and sugar contents was vital,” Harter says. “If any of these are out of balance, the pop didn’t freeze or had a poor texture.” One of his greatest achievements from his many experiments was a take on the classic creamsicle called the Orange Vanilla Cocosicle made with dark rum, fresh orange juice, vanilla and coconut milk. Not only is it extremely tasty, it is so well crafted that it can handle a hefty amount of liquor and still freeze. So, it’s pretty much the perfect summertime dessert and cocktail in one. Here’s how to make it: