Your Summer Needs These Cocktail Pops

Finally, brands can stop shoving new seltzer flavors down our throats.

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Photo: Angela L. Pagán

The seltzer segment of the alcohol industry has seen major growth over the past few years. So much so, that it feels like you cannot find a single alcohol brand that hasn’t released its own seltzer. At this point the market is oversaturated and so is my desire to ever pick up a fizzy alcoholic beverage again.

But what will I fill my cooler with instead this summer? Two words: cocktail pops.

What are cocktail pops?

Cocktail pops are essentially the same little freezer tubes of ice you used to enjoy as a kid, except now they’re filled with booze. Yay!

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Booze-filled freezer pops have been around for a little while now but they’ve mostly gone unnoticed. The first cocktail pop I ever tried came from Daily’s Cocktails, a brand known for its ready-to-drink slushy pouches. The “Poptails” Daily’s offers come in basic fruity flavors like watermelon, strawberry, and green apple. The low alcohol content mixed with a strong fruity flavor was a refreshing change of pace from other ready-to-drink cocktails I had found at the liquor store.

Even the hard seltzer brands must recognize there could be some competition headed their way in the form of frozen cocktail pops, as brands like Cutwater and Truly have come out with their own cocktail pops.

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Cocktail pops are easier on your stomach

“If you want hard alcohol, drink hard alcohol,” said Yehuda Tomor, CEO of Cooloo, a frozen cocktail pops brand. “But if you want to enjoy your alcohol in a light and fun way then we stick with 5% to give you a nice buzz.”

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Tomor says many in the industry suspect that part of the lure of seltzers is that they give the appearance of being a “healthier,” lower calorie way to drink. However, Tomor adds that his company’s own study groups have found that people who choose to drink alcoholic beverages don’t care much about the health side of it all. He has a point. While it’s great that seltzers can boast these low-calorie counts, usually when I’m out with friends enjoying these hard seltzers, calories aren’t my main concern.

The thing I hate most about seltzers (beers too) is the feeling of being full from all the carbonation. After just one can, my stomach is instantly bloated and I’m holding back burps. It’s just not comfortable and definitely not how I want to feel when soaking up the few moments of summer sun we get in Chicago.

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An ice-cold refreshing popsicle, on the other hand, does not leave me with this feeling in my stomach. Not only does it go down easy, but a frozen cocktail pop provides the nostalgia of slushies and ice pop treats I enjoyed as a kid in a more adult package.

Cocktail pops are more convenient (and fun)

“What’s really cool is there’s so many different ways of enjoying the pops,” explains Tomor. “It definitely hits the spot by the pool or by the beach…we also have people just sitting home watching TV.” One of the many upsides to a cocktail pop is that they can be enjoyed completely frozen and as they thaw.

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These would be great for an outdoor concert or a backyard barbecue with friends. The summertime options for enjoying cocktail pops are extensive and much easier than lugging around a full case of seltzers. Also, the clean up will be a lot smoother than collecting half-empty cans.

Tomor cites “suburban moms” as the Cooloo’s current target audience because they connect most with the product in that they want to be able to have fun and drink without going overboard and while enjoying the actual taste of the alcohol. The sorbet-like texture of Cooloo’s cocktail pops and the flavors offered like Palomas, Mai Tai’s, Cosmopolitan, and Piña Colada, all solve that problem.

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Though I’m sure suburban moms will appreciate the shoutout, I think frozen cocktail pops serve the needs of many more. For example, the 25-year-old childless writer speaking to you through this article can absolutely picture herself on a beach or poolside slurping back multiple Piña Colada pops without a care in the world.

Being the person that shows up to the party with frozen, dessert-like boozy options sounds so much better than hauling heavy cans around. This summer, I’ll be retiring the claw and filling my freezer with ready-to-drink frozen cocktail pops.