Dreamy popsicle cocktails are having a moment in the Bay Area – San Francisco Chronicle

A sunshine-yellow popsicle, infused with curry, chile and makrut lime, is lodged into a coupe glass at new Oakland bar Night Heron. In a soju drink at San Francisco izakaya Chome, a glowing green Melona is submerged alongside a garnish bouquet of fruits and herbs. At tiki spot Zombie Village in San Francisco, a dark periwinkle-colored pop floats atop a bed of ice and rum.

And more: Theres a fresa paleta inside a mezcal-chartreuse cocktail at Picobar in Calistoga. A grenadine popsicle in a michelada at Teleferic Barcelona in Walnut Creek. A Tajin-rimmed mango margarita at Walnut Creeks Lita also featured a popsicle during happy hour recently though, the restaurants management tells me, it may come off the menu soon.

These maximalist creations are aggressively colorful, as big in their visual impact as in their flavors. To Sequoya Lee, the general manager at Night Heron, the popsicle cocktail is an embodiment of the moment were in, cocktail-wise at least. Were in this world of Instagram now, Lee said. She wanted all her drinks at the bar to be visually stimulating, anything that can catch the eye. Many of her drinks, she added, are interactive.

You might be wondering: How do I drink a cocktail if theres a big blob of popsicle stuck inside it? Turns out, theres no wrong way to do it.

Its kind of a choose your own adventure, said Jayson Wilde, beverage director at Future Bars, which owns Zombie Village. You can pick up the popsicle and eat it on its own, you can let it melt into the drink or you can do a combination a little chomping, a little melty drinking.

In the case of Zombie Villages entry, called the Coco Pandan, the drink itself needs the popsicle. On its own, its quite strong: a blend of white rums with a little coconut milk and pandan, that deliciously grassy-flavored leaf. The popsicle, a housemade concoction of coconut cream, lychee puree, butterfly pea flower and guar gum (a stabilizer), adds a needed sweetness as it softens into the drink, mellowing out the assertiveness of the rum. The Coco Pandan isnt new; its been on the menu since Zombie Village opened, in 2018, and Wilde said its consistently one of the bars three top-selling drinks.

The Night Heron drink, the Girl Who Cried Champagne, almost has an ombre quality to it, and Lee said part of the fun is letting customers watch the drink change colors as its made in front of them. She starts with New Amsterdam vodka, inserts the popsicle hers comes from San Franciscos Pop Nation, in a coconut-curry flavor called Bangkok Night Market then drizzles butterfly pea flower syrup and lemon over it, which turns the drink a beautiful pinkish color. She tops it all up with cava.

Notably, both those drinks include butterfly pea flower tea, which is prized for its vibrant blue hue. Lee called the tea everybodys go-to right now. It doesnt impart much flavor the point is just that it adds a wild, dynamic color.

We could analyze this trend more, Im sure how it speaks to our penchant for childhood nostalgia, how its an expression of Gen Zs rejection of Millennial minimalism. Someone, Im confident, could argue that it foreshadows the way well be drinking in a future marked by climate change.

Whatever. Those are questions for another day and another newsletter. All I have to say is that drinking a cocktail with a popsicle is fun, and has brought me joy, and I recommend it.

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Dreamy popsicle cocktails are having a moment in the Bay Area - San Francisco Chronicle

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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