Fun in the sun

Playful cocktails in retro formats are just what we’re craving right now

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This summer we plan to party like it’s, well, not pandemic times. In fact, we’re going to have some fun playing with retro cocktails in different formats, like jelly shots and boozy popsicles. I mean, who says a cocktail actually has to be liquid? Here are the nostalgic patio crushers we plan to enjoy all summer long.

Negroni Gelée Shot. Joanne Sasvari photo

Jell-O shots

Not just an ill-considered hangover from your frat party days, these jiggly little cocktails can be a sophisticated make-ahead addition to any social gathering. No, really.

The basic process is simple: Follow the directions on the Jell-O package, but replace half the cold water with cold spirit of some sort.

Alternatively, you can use unflavoured gelatin instead of Jell-O, which opens up a world of classic cocktail flavours. A French 75 shot, perhaps? Or a Negroni?

To do this, you will need one packet of powdered gelatin (0.25 oz) for every cup of liquid. That liquid has to contain some sugar or starch, and it can’t be too boozy. A cup of 40% ABV spirit to 1 cup of non-alcoholic liquid is ideal.

Make Joanne’s Negroni Gelée Shots

Frozen Strawberry Lime Daiquiri. Joanne Sasvari photo


Frozen cocktails were the height of cool sophistication, once upon a time. Then they became the thing we’d drink ironically when we were on tropical vacations. Now they’re cool again, and we couldn’t be happier.

The nice thing about a slushy is that you just need to throw everything into a blender with ice, let ’er rip and you’ve got a nice big batch of icy delight.

The thing to remember is that you need plenty of ice to make this work but (a) alcohol won’t freeze in your home freezer and (b) if you use too much plain ice, you’ll get watery drinks.

The trick for your Margaritas and Daiquiris is to use frozen fruit or fruit juice, making it into both ice cube and flavouring agent. To make a frosé or other wine slushy, pour wine into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. It won’t freeze solid, but it will be well on its way. Alternatively, you can make a punch with tea, fruit juice and spirits, freeze that in ice cube trays, and whirr it in the blender when you’re ready to enjoy.

Make Joanne’s Frozen Strawberry Lime Daiquiri

Margarita Popsicle. Joanne Sasvari photo

Boozy popsicles

Talk about your perfect walk-tail. We think this might be a good year for the boozy popsicle to make a comeback.

Again, the challenge with this is that alcohol has a much lower freezing point than our home freezers can handle. Even a little alcohol will just get you a slab of slush.

The trick is to keep the amount of alcohol below 20% ABV, which works out to about 1.5 oz of spirit per cup of juice, tea or water. The texture will still be soft, but solid.

This is a great application for lower-proof cocktails like G&Ts or Dark ’n’ Stormys, as well as fruity drinks like Margaritas. Plus you can double the fun by dunking the boozy popsicles into another cocktail as a sort of flavoured ice cube.

Make Joanne’s Margarita Popsicles

Summer is short. Make the most of it while you can.

—by Joanne Sasvari

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