Absinthe Ice Blocks: The Frozen Treat That Will Melt Your Face

Here’s how to transform one deliciously intoxicating cocktail into the best ice block ever. It’s like a Slip ‘n Slide for your mind. Wheeeee!

It’s Sunday, you’ve made it through the long week, and it’s time for Happy Hour, Gizmodo’s weekly booze column. A cocktail shaker full of innovation, science, and alcohol. Toulouse-Lautrec knew what was up.

For this one I got a little help from my good friend Anne-Louise Marquis who works with Pernod Absinthe and helped us determine The Five Most Mathematically Essential Bottles of Booze. Pernod’s hallmark cocktail is called the Green Beast.

The Green Beast is a punch that’s really simple and holy-crap-how-have-I-never-tried-this delicious. Build it in a punch bowl with ice, pour into cups, and voila. Super delicious, very refreshing, and rather potent. But here’s the kicker: Anne-Louise noticed that that exact formula happens to be scientifically perfect to make a frozen treat on a stick. It goes a little something like this:

Ingredients:

• 1 part Pernod Absinthe
• 1 part fresh lime juice
• 1 part simple syrup
• 4 parts water
• Fresh cucumber slices, thin (roughly one or two for each drink)

Alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water, as you may recall from our post on how to make Drunken Boyscout freezer ice blocks.

In order to get the pops to freeze in a standard freezer, you want to keep the alcohol percentage at right about 10 per cent. A solution that’s 10 per cent alcohol should freeze in a -3°C freezer. If you go up to 12 per cent you’ll need it to get down to -6°C, which not all freezers are capable of achieving.

Pernod Absinthe is 68 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV). Pernod makes up one-seventh of the Green Beast, or 14.3 per cent. If 68 per cent of that 14.3 per cent is pure alcohol, that means that alcohol is 9.7 per cent of the total solution, which makes it perfect for freezing. It’s like it was all part of a divine plan.

Directions:

• 1. Figure out how much punch you need to make. Anne-Louise had the Progressive International Freezer Pop Maker which holds 10 74mL ice blocks, for a total of 740mL of liquid. Divide that by seven, and that means each part should be just over 100mL. But screw that, just make extra. The punch is delicious and it keeps nicely in the fridge for a day or two. Plus, you’ll get impatient and thirsty waiting for the ice blocks to freeze, so you can just drink the leftovers (highly recommended).
• 2. Pre-soak the Paddle Pop sticks in water. You don’t haaaave to do this, but it’s recommended. They’ll absorb less of the drink and they’ll be less buoyant, which will help keep them from floating out of the ice pop mould.
• 3. Make simple syrup. It’s just equal parts water and sugar, stirred until completely dissolved. Raw sugar is excellent for this, but plain white sugar is fine too.
• 4. Juice some limes. Either halve them and squeeze them over a strainer or use a hand juicer.
• 5. Mix all of the liquid ingredients in a pitcher. Pour it into the moulds, leaving a little bit of room at the top.
• 6. Thinly slice some cucumber and add two slices into each ice block’s cup. This makes it look good, and it cuts some of the sweetness to make the delicacy even more refreshing.
• 7. Insert the sticks, then put the whole thing in the freezer. Overnight is ideal. But six-eight hours will probably do, depending on the temperature of your freezer. One batch froze for only four hours, and it was delish, but the pops weren’t as solid as they could be. When they’re ready, run a little warm water over the outside of the mould, which will help the pop slide out more easily.
• The results are so damn tasty. And because the alcohol makes them melt faster than normal ice blocks, you’re going to eat them faster. Fun! If you put two of these down in rapid succession, you will feel very nice and floaty.

Because the botanicals in absinthe are uppers, absinthe was traditionally consumed in the late afternoon. In fact, 6-7pm was once known as “the green hour” in the boulevard cafes of long-ago times. This is a nice evolution of that concept.

If you’re keen to try your own recipes, absinthe pairs nicely with blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, as well as coconut water, pomegranate juice and apple juice. If you come up with an amazing concoction, please share it in the comments. And tune in next week for another boozetastic Happy Hour.

Anne-Louise Marquis is a bartender, writer and brand ambassador for Pernod Absinthe. Check out her awesome booze blog, The Tendency. Thanks to her and to Pernod Absinthe for the drink!