Growing up, one of my best friends was a counsellor at a every summer. He and his fellow counsellors were looking for non-obvious ways to get their buzz on. Their solution was genius in its simplicity. What's better in summer time than an ice block?
It's Saturday afternoon, 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.
Luckily, they had access to cases and cases of those long stickless ice blocks tubes. The super kind (we call them Otter Pops in the US). Frozen sweetness in a plastic tube that you squeeze directly into your mouth. The cold sugary teat of summer.
So now they had the booze and the delivery mechanism, but how to get the booze in there? The cooking tent. Bingo. We'll be using one of those oversized cooking syringes (aka flavour injectors) used to give your roasts more moisture and flavour. The steps are very simple.
1. Start with an unfrozen ice block — which is basically a packet of sugar water.
2. Use the syringe to make a hole a the top of the pop and pull out some of the fluid.
3. Use the syringe to inject vodka into the pop.
4. Cover the hole with a bit of duct tape, and shake vigorously (or you'll end up with a frozen end and a liquid end)
5. Toss into the freezer and leave it overnight.
Presto! Alcoholic ice blocks, ready to eat. You just cut the top off and squeeze 'em right into your mouth. They are surprisingly delicious.
Now let's talk ratios...
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 (or 20-proof). A solution that's 10 per cent alcohol should freeze in -3°C — so even crappy freezers. If you go up to 12 per cent (24-proof) you'll need it to get down to at least -6°C, which should be fine, but check your freezer. So let's go with 10 per cent. In the US, most Otter Pops are 29.5mL, so you will need to suck out 11mL of the sugary solution and replace it with vodka. That should give the solution a concentration of 10 percent ABV (alcohol by volume). If you don't feel like measuring precisely, it's close to two teaspoons. Do the maths look right to everyone?
The other thing I tried was using juice poppers instead of ice blocks. Why? Because they they're the size of a real drink. That and you can get them with 100-percent juice, which tastes better. (Also, I am a dirty Berkeley-born hippie with a thing against progress, or, "artificial flavours."). You get an extremely potent and thick slush that's perfect for eating with a spoon. The "Razzleberry" and vodka was very good, but the apple juice and whiskey was fantastic! Irish whiskey pairs quite nicely with apple juice, for the record. They're not as much fun as the ice block version, but you can pack 'em in an esky and take em to the park.
So, there you have it. It's easy to make and freeze a whole bunch of ice blocks all at once and then you've got a freezer full of them for your next house party. The ice blocks will remind everyone of childhood, and the alcohol will help erase those painful, awkward memories. Win-win!
Tune in next Saturday for another imbibeable Happy Hour. Special thanks to Dylan for the recipe and inspiration. Video by Michael Hessian. Music Credit: "Autumn Mvt 3 Allegro" by John Harrison (with the Wichita State University Chamber Players)