7 September 2015

Blackberry, Cucumber & Gin Ice Lollies aka Cocktail on a stick

I know what you're thinking. Ice lollies in September? I felt that way too, in fact I wasn't going to write this post at all, then two things happened. Indian Summer in September has begun and they tasted way too refreshingly zingy not to share. Don't be so dramatic, it's not an Indian Summer you might say. In that case may I present you evidence A, the sunburn I got at my niece's baptism yesterday. Stupidly and because I was a little (and by a little I mean a lot) hungover after our impromptu dinner party on Saturday, I forgot to put sun cream on and after sitting outside all day you can tell. Two words: Lobster Red. On the plus side the gorgeous weather meant all the kids got to play outdoors and run free, while the adults (myself excluded) sipped on ice cold beers. I opted for 3 ice lollies (because one is never enough) instead and plenty of ice water.

The good news is that this sunny weather is supposed to last for the rest of the month, so although I was a no go alcohol zone yesterday, I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead when I'm up for licking one of these bad ice lollies (popsicles to our American cousins). I know they look all innocent, fruity and delicious, but inside that blackberry, cucumber and lime lolly lurks a dark gin-based secret. As I said in my last post (see here) I've been feeling super inspired to make some ice lollies this Summer after trying a couple of alcoholic versions, I thought I'd give my own alcopopsicle version a go. Hence these Zingy Blackberry, Cucumber & Gin Ice Lollies were born.

As we're right at the end of the season, I thought I'd flavour my alcopopsicles using the last of my foraged blackberries. We'd also been gifted a GIANT cucumber (we're talking 60cm) from my boyfriend's mum so that went into them as well. There's only so many times you can eat cucumber salad (aka once). For me, there was only one choice in accompanying liquor and that was my cucumber gin from Gordon's. For obvious reasons really, one it has cucumber in and two I'm not a huge fan of vodka, tequila wouldn't go and there was no rum in the house (where has all the rum gone?). This turned out to be a good decision, as the gin really comes through in these lollies and nobody really likes the taste of vodka (do they? do you? does anyone?!). I mean don't get me wrong I'll drink it in a cocktail, but in this lolly there would be no where to hide.

Lime was added to make these beauties zing. While I opted to make them with soda water instead of tonic for similar reasons to my decision not to use vodka (tonic's my nemesis). Combined this led to a very refreshing lolly. Albeit maybe a bit too refreshing as I polished a few off in one sitting. Course after the first one I gave up with holding the stick and went to plopping it in a glass with some soda water poured on top for what I'm calling, Cocktail on a Stick. This year is the first time I've seen it done in the blogging domain, personally I've been a fan of the sticky hands free approach for a while mostly because I can be really lazy and without the stick, there's no sticky hands, which means no getting up, leaving the sofa and having to wash said hands. You get the picture.

Lollies are super easy to make and massively rewarding, making them a pretty perfect treat. If you want for kiddies or dry individuals you can leave out the gin and it'll still be excellent. Personally I'm not of the nature (rebel rebel). I'm hoping to knock up another batch perhaps pina colada ones with rum (when I repurchase it) before the end of our sunny spell. Although I'm looking forward to cozying up with hot chocolates and blankets, and eating all sorts of Winter warmers, I'm holding out for a longer Summer yet!

To show your solidarity in wanting Summer to remain here forever (bar Christmas) consider making your own alcopopsicles or ice cream. You could forage like me and put blackberries in everything (blackberry ripple ice cream anyone?) or you can go your own way (go your own way).You can change it up anyday (anydaayyy). Sorry I love a bit of Fleetwood Mac, Dan got to see them earlier this year, not envious but envious. Anyway make your own ice lollies, experiment and go wild. Put pineapple where no body wants it, stuff raspberries into everything you can and squeeze citrus fruit like you've never squeezed before. There'll be plenty of time for experimenting, for now on to the recipe. 

Blackberry, Cucumber & Gin Ice Lollies
(makes 10)

125g blackberries
100g cucumber
100ml Gin (I used Gordon's Cucumber Gin)
80g caster sugar
1L soda water
2 limes

Step 1. In a saucepan, cook down the blackberries with a tbsp or two of water and the sugar to make a jam. Once made pass the jam through a sieve and set it aside. 

Step 2. Skin on, cut the cucumber into manageable chunks and blend to a puree. The pass the cucumber through a sieve.

Step 3. In a measuring jug, mix together the gin, blackberry jam, cucumber puree and the juice from the two limes. Fill the jug up to 900ml with soda water and stir again thoroughly (otherwise you'll get one really alcoholic ice lolly and no one wants that, unless you do and you want to play lolly roulette) then fill each mold.

Step 4. Place the molds in the freezer and leave to freeze for at least 3 hours. Owing to alcohol being  in these lollies it may take a little longer for the lollies to freeze, and I would not recommend eating all of them in one sitting. Unless you've had a particularly bad day, then go for it. Eat them straight up or to avoid sticky hands place in a glass and pour soda water on top. Whatever you do, enjoy these responsibly.   

I'm going to miss the natural light of Summer when we finally hit Autumn. Waking up in the dark and coming home in the dark is the one thing I hate about the UK. It's a strong word but it's true. Don't get me wrong some of the best things happen over the colder months, ahem my birthday (woo yay!), Christmas, Fondue, but I'd like it if Summer was a little longer, say 3 months. Then I could extend my ice based treats eating time, if you've got any ice cream or ice lolly recipes drop me a comment below I'd love to see them. Anyway I'm not going to be accepting that Summer is over until at least October, maybe when I get back from Iceland but not before, so expect more Summery based recipes from me, at the very least rainbow ice cream. Then it'll be time for Octoberfest Ice Cream, Halloween Ice Cream, Christmas Ice Cream and so on. Have a good week!


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