The two new Gin & Tonic Popsicles – a G&T Classic and G&T Berry Infusion – are the first products launched under the Frost Popsicles label, a consumer brand created by JML Consulting (Pty) Ltd who caused a stir in late-2016 with the launch of their eye-catching Pierre Jourdan Wine Popsicles.
“A year after we launched PJ Pops™, our company is at a point where we want to expand our range of popsicles, and the establishment of Frost Popsicles as a separate banner brand allows us the flexibility to do just that,” explains Jon-Marc De Carvalho, who co-founded JML Consulting with Natasha Alomia in 2012.
From the runaway success of the PJ Pops™ “the demand for alcohol-based popsicles is very much out there and we want to make sure we stay ahead of the curve,” adds Alomia, who says the decision to expand into gin-based popsicles was an obvious one. “It’s impossible to ignore the global dialogue around craft gin, both in South Africa and abroad.”
From early-September this year the G&T Popsicles will be available in two distinct flavours: G&T Classic, and G&T Berry Infusion.
The G&T Classic delivers all the subtle bitterness and juniper-driven notes of a classic gin-and-tonic, while the G&T Berry Infusion incorporates notes of blackberries, strawberries and blueberries to offer a rounded, slightly sweeter G&T experience.
“We wanted to appeal to different palates whilst staying true to what we love about a great G&T,” explains Alomia. “Even in the sweeter G&T Berry Infusion you’ll pick up those understated bitter notes of a great gin. Although it’s a frozen product, we wanted to create an authentic flavour that stays true to the original gin. It’s this approach that makes our PJ Pops™ so popular – the Popsicle retains all the flavours that make the bottled product so appealing.”
As with the original PJ Pops™, the new gin-based popsicles are the end-result of an exhaustive process of research, testing and sampling.
“We did extensive tasting of dozens of gins, both established international brands and the full local spectrum of craft gins, but none were quite right,” explains De Carvalho.
In keeping with the Frost Popsicles philosophy of working with local producers, they turned to acclaimed Cape Town distillery Hope on Hopkins. The brief? Create a bespoke gin exclusively for the G&T Popsicles.
“Because some flavours tend to become subdued when the gin is frozen, we went with a traditional London Dry for the G&T Classic popsicle,” explains Lucy Beard, co-owner of Hope on Hopkins. “We aimed to highlight very particular flavours by using just four botanicals. It’s juniper-driven, with coriander, angelica root and licorice just to round it off.”
The gin was distilled using the traditional London Dry ‘one-shot’ method, with juniper berries macerated in the still and the remaining botanicals suspended in a botanical basket.
“This method of vapour infusion gives a more gentle flavour profile to the final product,” explains Beard, who says the gin for the G&T Berry Infusion popsicle incorporated blueberries and blackberries into the distillation, “plus some orange peel to bring in a little sweetness.”
“We chose Hope on Hopkins because they are like-minded in their approach to innovation and quality, and we are thrilled with the bespoke gins they have created for the G&T Popsicles,” says Alomia. “It’s the power of the gin that makes this product come alive. This is also the first time, worldwide, that a bespoke gin-based Popsicle has been created in partnership with an established distillery.”
Frost Popsicles also worked with a leading locally produced brand of craft tonic to round out the flavour profiles of the G&T Popsicles. After blending, the end product clocks in at 7% alcohol-by-volume, bringing the refreshing bite of gin without overpowering the palate.
While the fully-recyclable popsicle tube will feel familiar to fans of PJ Pops™, there’s innovation on this front too: the G&T Popsicles are the first popsicle tubes worldwide to be made out of more robust Tetrapak material. This improved tube packaging will also be used in the next batch of PJ Pops™ that go to market in September. And while the elegant design of the PJ Pops™ reflected the history and romance of the Haute Cabrière estate in the Franschhoek valley, the new G&T Popsicles are presented in eye-catching monochromatic packaging that reflects the urban energy of South Africa’s craft gin revolution.
The G&T Popsicles are made on Frost Popsicles’ state-of-the-art production line, with flash freezing ensuring a delicate sorbet texture. Like the PJ Pops™, the G&T Popsicles are best enjoyed frozen.
The innovative new G&T Popsicles will be available in select Spar, Pick n Pay, Liquor City and independent liquor stores in the Western Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal from early September. Frost Popsicles can also be ordered online, by the box, at www.frostpopsicles.com