how to make boozy ice lollies

5 alcoholic ice lolly recipes to help you stay cool this summer

Posted by for Food and Drink

If you’ve exhausted your fan, already on your third cold shower of the day and an icy drink isn’t quite doing the job, it might be time to find a new way of responding to the heatwave. Try making these five iced takes on some of the most beloved cocktail recipes for a fun and refreshing way to help you cool down.

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Summer has well and truly arrived and we’re all looking for ways to stay cool, panic-ordering fans and buying what’s left of the ice at the local corner shop. But there’s actually a much chicer way to get by in the heat and it’s something you can easily do at home. That’s right – an alcoholic ice lolly, because what better way is there on a hot day to cool down than creating a frozen version of your favourite cocktail

Alcoholic ice lollies are trending at the moment – Aperol Spritz lollies are the crowd favourite on Instagram and TikTok – and they’re the perfect way to round off an evening entertaining at home.

Jassy Davis, the author of five cocktail recipe books including With Alcohol Anything Is Popsicle, has shared five of her favourite alcoholic ice lolly recipes with The Curiosity Academy, including a solid take on the piña colada and a crowd-pleasing iced gin treat.

Most of the recipes require simple syrup, which you can make easily at home. It’s a mixture of granulated sugar and water that will add extra sweetness to your ice lollies. Here’s Jassy’s recipe for making 500ml of simple syrup:

Ingredients

  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 250ml water

Method

  1. Tip the sugar into a pan and pour in the water.
  2. Set the pan on a medium-high heat and bring to the boil without stirring.
  3. Once the pan is boiling, set your timer for two minutes.
  4. After two minutes, take the pan off the heat and let the syrup cool.
  5. Transfer to a sterilised jar or tub, seal and store in the fridge for up to a month. 
  • Paloma Paletas

    Grapefruit alcoholic ice lollies on ice
    How to make alcoholic ice lollies with Jassy Davis

    “The Paloma is Mexico’s favourite cocktail – it’s even more popular than the margarita. A mix of sweet and sour with a salty tang from the tequila, it’s a thirst-quenching, moreish drink. It makes an elegant ice lolly that I think is especially good as a pre-dinner treat.” 

    Ingredients (makes 10)

    • 250ml fresh grapefruit juice
    • 1 lime
    • 60ml silver tequila
    • 250ml simple syrup
    • 250ml fresh ruby grapefruit juice

    Method

    1. Pour the regular grapefruit juice into a jug (keep the ruby grapefruit juice for later).
    2. Squeeze in the juice from half the lime (save the rest for later) and add 30ml of the tequila.
    3. Add 125ml simple syrup.
    4. Stir to mix then pour the mixture into moulds and freeze for two to three hours until slushy and semi-frozen.
    5. Pour the remaining simple syrup and tequila into the jug.
    6. Squeeze in the remaining lime juice.
    7. Stir in the ruby grapefruit juice.
    8. Take the semi-frozen lollies out of the freezer.
    9. Pour in the ruby grapefruit mixture, insert sticks and freeze overnight until solid. 
  • Piña Colada Ice Pops

    Alcoholic pina colada ice lollies on ice and pineapple
    How to make alcoholic ice lollies with Jassy Davis

    “If you like piña coladas, you’ll be making this ice pop again and again. They’re rich and fruity, thanks to the mix of coconut and pineapple, which also give them a soft, fluffy texture.”

    Ingredients (makes 10-12)

    • 430g can pineapple chunks in juice
    • 400ml can coconut milk
    • 100ml simple syrup
    • 60ml white rum
    • Juice of ½ lime
    • 25g coconut cream

    Method

    1. Tip the can of pineapple and its juice into a blender.
    2. Pour in the coconut milk, simple syrup, white rum and lime juice.
    3. Crumble in the coconut cream and blitz until combined.
    4. Pour the mixture into moulds and freeze for two to three hours until semi-frozen.
    5. Insert sticks and freeze overnight until solid. 
  • Cuba Libre Lollies

    Rum ice lollies with fruit on ice
    How to make alcoholic ice lollies with Jassy Davis

    “This icy version of the classic Cuban cocktail is one delicious way to stay cool when the nights are as hot as they are in Havana. Cola is great frozen. The sweetness becomes refreshing, and adding a sharp dash of lime brings out the aromatic spices. Adding the rum just makes the lollies fun.”

    Ingredients (makes 8-10)

    • 650ml cola
    • ½ lemon
    • ½ lime
    • 60ml white rum
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • A few dashes of Angostura bitters

    Method

    1. Pour the cola into a jug and let it sit for one to two hours to go slightly flat.
    2. Finely slice the lemon and lime halves, then drop a slice of each into each lolly mould.
    3. Add the white rum and lime juice to the cola with a few dashes of Angostura bitters (four or five good shakes should do it).
    4. Stir together, then pour into the moulds and freeze for two to three hours until slushy and semi-frozen.
    5. Insert sticks and freeze overnight until solid.  
  • Cold Fashioneds

    Orange ice lollies
    How to make alcoholic ice lollies with Jassy Davis

    “This orange-juice-based version of the Old Fashioned keeps the bourbon upfront and adds a dash of brown sugar sweetness to the intense, crisp citrus.”

    Ingredients (makes 8)

    • 450ml fresh orange juice
    • 200ml simple syrup
    • 60ml bourbon
    • A few dashes of Angostura bitters

    Method

    1. Pour the orange juice into a jug and add the simple syrup, bourbon and a few dashes of Angostura bitters (four or five good shakes should do it).
    2. Stir to mix, then pour the orange mixture into the moulds.
    3. Freeze for two to three hours, until semi-frozen.
    4. Insert the sticks into the slushy lollies and freeze for three to five hours until solid. 
  • Lime and Gin Gimlet Poptails

    Gin ice lollies with lime on ice
    How to make alcoholic ice lollies with Jassy Davis

    “A 50:50 mix of gin and lime cordial, the gimlet is a cocktail that made its way around the world with the English navy, when sailors drank it for its ‘medicinal’ benefits. Turned into an ice lolly, it’s sweet and sharp with a botanical twist, thanks to the gin.”

    Ingredients (makes 10)

    • 350ml simple syrup
    • 200ml fresh lime juice
    • 150ml cold water
    • 60ml London dry gin
    • 1 lime, to serve

    Method

    1. Pour the simple syrup, lime juice, water and gin into a jug and stir to mix.
    2. Pour the mixture into moulds.
    3. Freeze for two to three hours until semi-frozen.
    4. Slice the lime and push a slice into each semi-frozen lolly, then insert the sticks and freeze overnight till solid.  

Jassy’s expert advice for creating the best alcoholic ice lollies

Freeze your lollies as soon as possible

The faster you freeze your ice lollies, the smoother the texture will be. “When lollies freeze slowly, big ice crystals can form which clump together and form big, bland icy patches in your ice pops,” says Jassy. 

To make sure your lolly has a smooth, even texture, ensure the lolly mixture is cold when you pour it into the moulds and freeze it in the coldest part of your freezer – normally the bottom shelf or drawer. If your freezer has a blast free function, switch that on, and try not to open your freezer too often. 

The longer you can keep the temperature in your freezer stable, the faster the lollies will freeze.

Make your ice lollies sweeter than you’d think

Freezing dials up some flavours, and dials down others. “Sweetness is one of the flavours that is muted by the freezing process, which is why you need to make your lolly mix much sweeter than seems reasonable,” says Jassy.

As the mixture freezes, the sweetness will mellow out. Most lolly mixtures use simple syrup, but you can try swapping in all sorts of liquid sweeteners, such as honey, agave syrup or maple syrup. Just don’t stint on it.

You don’t need fancy ice lolly moulds

You don’t need to buy special lolly moulds to make ice pops. Small plastic cups are perfect for making lollies – just add your mix, freeze for a couple of hours till slushy, then insert wooden lolly sticks and freeze till solid.

Dip the cups in a little room temperature water to un-mould the lollies. You can rinse and reuse the cups or, if you don’t want to use plastic, you can use glasses. Ice cube trays are great for making mini ice lollies.

Don’t use too much alcohol in your ice lollies

A little alcohol goes a long way in an ice lolly. Firstly, because alcohol has a very low freezing point and your freezer at home probably won’t reach it. “This means boozy ice lollies will always have a softer texture than non-alcoholic ones, and if you put too much booze in your lolly mixture it will never freeze – you’ll just end up with slush,” says Jassy. 

Secondly, because the freezing process dials up the flavour of alcohol, you can end up with quite harsh tasting lollies if you add too much booze. “Generally, one or two tablespoons of a spirit like vodka, gin or tequila is enough for six to eight ice lollies,” says Jassy. 

Layer the flavours in your ice lollies

“One way to make your ice lollies extra impressive is to layer different flavours,” says Jassy. Start by pouring in your first layer and freezing it for two or three hours till slushy, then pour in the next layer and insert the lolly sticks – making sure they’re firmly anchored in the slushy layer. Freeze and continue till you’ve added all your layers. “It’s especially great if you want to pull out different flavours from a cocktail, like a negroni.” 

Start with a gin and simple syrup mix to make a clear layer, then add a sweet vermouth and orange juice layer, then a Campari and simple syrup layer to create three brightly coloured stripes with distinct but complementary flavours. 

“It’s a neat trick, and you can deconstruct all sorts of cocktails this way – mojitos, daiquiris, margaritas – they’d all be great pulled apart and put back together again in a lolly.”

  • Jassy Davis, author

    Woman in red dress in kitchen
    How to make alcoholic ice lollies with Jassy Davis

    Jassy Davis is the author of four cocktail-based books, including Gin Made Me Do It and With Alcohol Anything Is Popsicle. Sometimes she writes recipes that don’t include booze for companies including Abel & Cole, Evening Standard and lovefood.com. You can follow her @ginandcrumpets on Instagram.

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Images: Getty, Jassy Davis

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