The Big Chill

Keep your cool this summer with frozen cocktail pops.

RumChata Rocket Pops

 Photography by Lincoln Barbour. Food styling by Diana Jeffra.

Summers in Virginia can be hot enough to fry eggs—and your bare feet—on the sidewalk, let alone melt the ice in your glass. Make your happy hour more chill with refreshing frozen pops filled with the flavors and spirits of classic cocktails. Whether you’re basking at the beach, relaxing by the river, or kicking up your feet in your own backyard, these ice pops are a perfect way to watch the sun set on another long summer day. For alcohol-free versions of these recipes, substitute a complementary juice in lieu of the booze. Taking out the spirits will shorten the freezing time, so you’ll be in pop town before you can say “cool.”

RumChata Rocket Pops

For the simple syrup:

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

For the red layer:

1 cup strawberries, chopped

¼ cup simple syrup

1 ounce RumChata

For the white layer:

1 ½ cups full-fat coconut milk, well stirred

1 ounce RumChata

For the blue layer:

1 cup blueberries

¼ cup simple syrup

1 ounce RumChata

Combine sugar and water in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes and allow to cool. Combine ingredients for the red layer in a blender and blend thoroughly. Fill molds one-third full with the strawberry mixture and freeze for at least two hours. Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk and RumChata in a small bowl. Once the red layer is frozen, pour the coconut mixture an additional third of the way up the mold. Freeze for another two hours. Combine the blue layer ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly. When the white layer is almost frozen, add the blue layer. Insert sticks through the blue and white layers, cover, and freeze for 24 hours.

Skill Level: Master Best Format: Plastic

Lychee Mojito

Lychee Mojito

6 sprigs mint, destemmed

¼ cup sugar

2 ounces white rum

1 cup club soda

½ cup lychee syrup

½ cup lime juice

12 canned lychees, chopped

6 paper-thin slices of lime

Set aside a few of the smallest mint leaves. Muddle the remaining mint with sugar using a mortar and pestle. Remove large pieces of mint from the sugar, and put sugar in a bowl with the rum, club soda, lychee syrup, and lime juice. Fill each mold with chopped lychees and a slice of lime, and then pour liquid into each mold to the fill line. Add sticks and freeze for 24 hours.

Skill Level: Intermediate Best Format: Plastic


1 ounce Campari

1 ounce gin

1 ounce sweet vermouth

2 cups blood orange juice

2 tablespoons orange zest

Combine all ingredients. Pour into pouches and freeze for 24 hours.

Skill level: Easy Best format: Pop pouches

Sangria Blanca

Sangria Blanca

1 cup white wine

1 cup white grape juice

½ cup assorted chopped fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, thinly sliced oranges)

Combine wine and grape juice. Fill molds loosely with fruit. Pour wine mixture over fruit to the fill line. Add sticks and freeze for 24 hours.

Skill level: Easy Best Format: Plastic or Metal


2 cups iced coffee

1 cup heavy cream

1 ounce Kahlua

1 ounce vodka

Combine all ingredients and pour into molds to the fill line. Add sticks and freeze for 24 hours.

Skill level: Easy Best format: Silicone

Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise

2 cups orange juice with pulp

¼ cup agave nectar

2 ounces tequila

2 ounces grenadine 

Combine orange juice, agave nectar, and tequila in a large measuring cup. Pour orange juice mixture into molds almost to the top. Carefully pour grenadine into the center of each pop until the liquid reaches the fill line. Add sticks and freeze for 24 hours.

Skill level: Intermediate Best format: Plastic or Metal

Piña Colada

1 cup fresh pineapple, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor

¼ cup white rum

1 cup coconut cream

2 packets Splenda No Calorie Sweetener

½ cup maraschino cherries, rinsed and chopped

Thoroughly the combine first four ingredients, and pour into molds. Add a few pieces of cherry to each pop and gently use a wooden stick to distribute them. Add sticks and freeze for 24 hours.

Skill Level: Intermediate Best Format: Plastic

Each recipe makes six pops. 

The Big Freeze

Find the right pop mold for the job.

Ideal for pops with floating ingredients or layers, these are available in a variety of fun shapes and sizes. Zoku’s Classic Pop Mold, which makes six pops per batch, cleans up easily and comes with reusable sticks and drip shields.


Pops release easily from these molds, which often come in fun shapes. This material is best for fruity pops that freeze solidly. These can be a bit tougher for the boozy pops, which tend to freeze softer than their alcohol-free counterparts. Lekue Stackable Popsicle Molds are filled from the side, rather than the top, so they’re great for pops with floating ingredients. And, as a bonus, they take up less freezer space thanks to the awesome power of stacking.


Stainless-steel products can offer a BPA-free alternative to plastic, but the price tag tends to be higher. Metal molds often have the classic shape, and their freezing ability is stellar, making them perfect for pop connoisseurs. 

Pouches and Push Pops

Zipicle Zip-Top Ice Pop Pouches are ideal for the booziest pops because there’s no worrying about getting the treat out of the mold. Plus, they’re fun to eat, reminiscent of summers slurping Fla-Vor-Ice with your neighborhood crew. Or, try HIC Flavor Blast Ice Pop Maker Popsicle Freezer Pop Molds for a smart, reusable option that cuts down on both waste and mess.

Paper Cups

Old-school, affordable, and fun, simple paper cups are great for layered pops that you don’t want to damage by pulling out of a mold. And, of course, they are perfect for making lots of pops at one time!

Tip: Pop Science

Want to riff on these recipes? Remember this rule of thumb: Keep the alcohol content at 20 percent or less of the total volume of liquid, or you’ll end up with a delicious but slushy mess. 

This article originally appeared in our June 2019 issue.

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