Cool off with liquor on a stick

Posted Sept. 06, 2011, at 11:47 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 06, 2011, at 12:08 p.m.
Courtesy Leigh Beisch, Perfect Pops/MCT
Courtesy Leigh Beisch, Perfect Pops/MCT
Courtesy Leigh Beisch, Perfect Pops/MCT
Courtesy Leigh Beisch, Perfect Pops/MCT

Some sommeliers and food writers have started taking kid-friendly, icy sweet popsicles in new and adult directions.

Hello, Sauvignonblancsicles and Prosecco pops!

Salutations, frozen sangria.

And is that bourbon we taste in that peach popsicle?

It seemed like an anomaly when word first trickled westward that sommeliers at the Fairmont Chicago-Millennium Park hotel were freezing wine onto sticks, but it has quickly became a trend. While the Chicago crowd made Sauvignon Blancsicles from white wine, pineapple juice and St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, their mixology colleagues at the Fairmont Pittsburgh introduced Peach Sangria Sorbet Push-Ups and Berry Lemonade Vodka Popsicles.

Now, it’s spreading. Even respectable Betty Crocker is touting beer snow cones — a recipe for beer granita, drizzled with fruit syrup, can be found at bettycrocker.com. And two new books up the ante.

Matt Armendariz’s “On a Stick!” (Quirk Books, 184 pages, $16.95) features mint-flecked, rum-soaked honeydew melon wedges and frozen sangria — both on sticks. And Oakland, Calif., author Charity Ferreira’s new “Perfect Pops: The 50 Best Classic&Cool Treats” (Chronicle Books, 96 pages, $16.95) includes eight booze-infused popsicles, including Campari-laced Negroni Pops, Bourbon-Peach Pops and frozen chocolate milkshakes made with Guinness beer.

Ferreira dabbles in frozen sangria too, because, she writes, “You know how easy sangria is to drink on a hot summer day? These pops go down even easier.”

Depending upon the popsicle molds and garnishes, some of these colorful creations aren’t just backyard party-ready. Ferreira’s Prosecco Pops, for example, laced with rose water and frozen with layers of multihued rose petals, are perfect for swankier affairs.

The trick for any alcoholic popsicle is to include enough nonalcoholic ingredients — fruit juice, for example — so it will freeze properly. As anyone who stashes vodka in his freezer knows, spirits don’t freeze at the same temperature as water. They just get syrupy, which is a problem in the popsicle world. Wine doesn’t require truly glacial temperatures, but an 84-proof liquor needs to reach minus-30 degrees Fahrenheit in order to freeze and a 64-proof booze won’t popsicle-ize until it hits minus-10.

But dilute the bourbon with pureed peaches, or add orange juice to the Campari, and even a normal home freezer can churn out cocktail-sicles.

Bourbon peach pops

Makes 6-8 popsicles

1/2 pounds very ripe yellow peaches

6 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 ½ tablespoons bourbon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut an x on the bottom of each peach. Blanch peaches 1-2 minutes, rinse under cold water and slip off skins. Cut peaches in chunks and place in a large bowl.

2. Add 5 tablespoons sugar, the bourbon and lemon juice. Mash, then whisk until well combined. Add sugar to taste.

3. Pour mixture into ice pop molds and insert sticks. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.

— Charity Ferreira, “Perfect Pops” (Chronicle Books, 96 pp., $16.95)

Sauvignon Blancsicles

Makes 8-10 popsicles

24 ounces pineapple juice

1 bottle sauvignon blanc, preferably New Zealand

3 ounces St. Germain elderflower liqueur

Combine ingredients in a pitcher. Pour into popsicle molds, insert sticks and freeze overnight or until solid.

— Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park

Prosecco-rose petal pops

Makes 6 popsicles

1 cup white grape juice

1 cup cold, flat Prosecco

1/3 cup rose water

1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeeze lemon juice

About 30 red rosebud petals, rinsed

1. Combine the grape juice, Prosecco, rose water and lemon juice. Fill ice pop molds about a third full. Drop 2 or 3 rose petals in each and freeze until set, about 30 minutes.

2. Fill the molds another third of the way full and drop 2 or 3 more petals in. Insert sticks. Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.

3. Fill all the way with remaining mixture, and drop 2 or 3 more petals into each mold. Freeze until set, at least 8 hours or up to 1 week.

— Charity Ferreira, “Perfect Pops” (Chronicle Books, 96 pp., $16.95)

 

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