So on the one hand the whole country seems preoccupied with the approach of the holiday season – fall, fall, fall; changing leaves, comfy sweaters, flannel sheets – and on the other, you've got sweat trickling behind your ears every time you're outside for more than 30 seconds. How is one to find a comfortable balance within this cognitive dissonance?
My approach has been to stick with reality (it's freaking 90 degrees out, and that means lemon slushies) as opposed to desire ("hot chocolate sounds nice"). So two of these alco-treats are purely summery – piña colada popsicles and a Thai-flavored slush – but the milk punch milkshake manages to embody both winter holiday cheer and the truth of a Southern existence in one frosty glass. Bottoms up!
MILK PUNCH MILKSHAKE
Our version of the brandy-based New Orleans holiday favorite is spicier, more complex, and – oh yeah, it's a milkshake. So chill.
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 ounces Cruzan blackstrap rum
3 ounces Van Gogh espresso vodka
1 ounce simple syrup
2 teaspoons almond extract
Put everything but the cocoa powder in the blender and blend in pulses. Pour into a mug and dust with cocoa. Serve with a wide straw (boba straws are easy to find in Asian markets around Orlando).
PIÑA COLADA POPS
It's a sure bet you'll get caught in the rain at least once during an Orlando summer. Console yourself with one (or two) of these lightly boozy pops.
1 box coconut stovetop pudding mix (3.5 ounces)
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
3/4 cup golden rum
In a medium saucepan, slowly whisk the pudding mix into the coconut milk. While stirring constantly (not joking: constantly) with a heat-safe spoon, cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Take it off the heat, stir in the rum and the pineapple juice and chunks, and set aside to cool for 20 minutes or so, stirring every few minutes to prevent a skin from forming.
Spoon into popsicle molds and freeze overnight (or for at the very least six hours). The pops may be a bit soft, but they'll have an actual kick, not just a whiff-of-liquor placebo effect. Serve with limes for squeezing over.
This is a riff on the classic Prohibition-era Southside cocktail (gin, lemon, sugar, mint). Our version not only adds a Southeast Asian spin, but is also a slushy, so – clearly it's superior, or at least way more fun.
2 ounces Bombay Sapphire East gin
1/2 ounce Cynar amaro
1/4 teaspoon ginger paste
3 ounces lemon sorbet
4 ice cubes
2 mint leaves
Place everything in a blender, with the mint at the bottom – you want it in the closest contact with the blades. Pulse on high setting until you have a thick slush. Garnish with a lime wheel and mint leaves and serve with a straw.
Note: Cynar can be hard to find in Orlando. Try Averna Amaro or Fernet-Branca if you don't have Cynar, but use a touch less.