Cool Cocktails

Why should the kids have all the fun? Sam Wylie-Harris preps ice lollies with alcohol for a grown-up twist…

To make the perfect poptail, all you need to do is exchange your cocktail shaker for a mould, your jigger for a jug, and your bar spoon for a wooden stick. The garnish remains the same as a cocktail, but the preparation could inspire the most talented mixologist to raise the bar.
NOTE TO SELF: Turn your freezer to the coldest setting and be careful not to exceed the amount of alcohol stated in the recipe or it will remain slushy.

NAPOLEON’S RETREAT [MAKES 8-10] Champagne, strawberries, cream
This delicate blend was invented by Napoleon’s chief steward and tastemaker, the Marquis de Cussy, at the time when champagne was drunk in secret by nobles who were afraid of the guillotine. It became Napoleon’s favourite dessert cocktail, and we’ve frozen it into a poptail. Enjoy the pops on their own or pour out glasses of champagne, prosecco or white wine, and swirl them as you get ready to ‘retreat’ into bliss.

INGREDIENTS: 450g strawberries, hulled and chopped, 100g caster or granulated sugar, plus 3tbsp, 200ml champagne, 120ml double (heavy) cream.

METHOD: Put the strawberries in a bowl, sprinkle them with sugar and stir, then pour in the champagne. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes so the flavours develop, then blend to a puree in a food processor. Stir the three tablespoons of sugar into the cream. Pour the strawberry mixture into the moulds, leaving enough space to drizzle a little cream on top of each. Freeze until slushy, 60-90 minutes, then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, at least five hours or overnight.

TANGO BRAVO WHISKY (MAKES 12-15) Whisky, tangerine, basil, lemon
In this tangerine dream, the basil brings out the sweet and tangy citrus flavours, and is a perfect match for the warm chocolate and vanilla notes from the whisky. Great on its own, but for kicks, dip it in a shot glass of whisky.

INGREDIENTS: 160ml water, 140g granulated sugar, 1tsp finely grated tangerine zest, 15g fresh, torn basil leaves, 700ml freshly squeezed tangerine juice (from about 15 tangerines), 3tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3tbsp whisky, plus extra for dipping. For the garnish (optional), sliver of tangerine and a basil leaf for each.

METHOD: Put the water, sugar, tangerine zest and basil leaves in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Strain the syrup through a sieve, squeezing the leaves with your fingers to extract all the precious basil juice. Mix the syrup with the tangerine and lemon juices, and the whisky. Pour the mixture into the moulds, leaving a little space at the top. If you like, drop in a sliver of tangerine and a basil leaf.
Freeze until slushy, 60-90 minutes, then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, at least five hours or overnight.

PIMM’S ON A STICK (MAKES 8-10) Pimm’s No. 1, mint, apple, orange, strawberries, cucumber, lemon
Pimm’s is still going strong after nearly 200 years. The chopped garnishes mingled with the lemonade and submerged in Pimm’s are a true expression of an English summer garden party. Re-dip into Pimm’s as you go.

INGREDIENTS: 250ml water, 100g granulated sugar , 15g torn mint leaves, 150g sliced strawberries , 60g thinly sliced apple, 60g orange, peeled and thinly sliced, 60g thinly sliced cucumber, 60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1-2 lemons), 120ml Pimm’s. For the garnish (optional), mint leaf for each.

METHOD: Put the water and half the sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat, drop in the mint leaves and steep for an hour, or longer. Meanwhile, put the strawberries, and apple, orange and cucumber slices in a bowl and stir in the rest of the sugar, the lemon juice and Pimm’s. Leave to macerate for 30 minutes or more.
Strain the syrup into the fruit and Pimm’s mixture, squeezing the mint leaves with your hands to extract their juices. Pour the mixture into the moulds, making sure you divide the fruit pieces evenly and leave a little space at the top. If you like, drop in a mint leaf. Freeze until slushy, 60-90 minutes, then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, at least five hours or overnight.

ROASTED BANANA RUMSICLES (MAKES 8-10) Rum, banana, cream, lime
You can laugh at the name, but these aren’t just for banana lovers. Roasting the bananas intensifies the flavour and creates a melting texture and, of course, roasted bananas cry out for rum.

INGREDIENTS: 3 large, ripe bananas, 90g muscovado sugar, 175ml whole milk, 175ml double (heavy) cream, 1tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, 1tsp vanilla extract, 90ml rum

METHOD: Preheat your oven to 200oC/Gas 6. Place the bananas whole on a baking sheet (do not peel them) and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until soft and their skins turn black. Remove and allow them to cool, then peel. Put the banana flesh in a food processor with all the other ingredients and whizz until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the moulds, leaving a little space at the top. Freeze until slushy, 60-90 minutes, then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, at least five hours or overnight.

Extracted from Ice Kitchen Poptails: 50 Sensationally Intoxicating Cocktail Lollies by Cesar & Nadia Roden, Photography: Louise Hagger, Published by Quadrille, £12.99, Amazon.