It’s a sweaty Saturday in New Orleans and from the air-conditioned safety of your couch, you hear the dreaded ice cream truck draw near . . . “Hello!” The kids magically appear before you, summoned from the depths of a video game stupor, begging for the cash to get a frozen treat from the truck before it rolls too far past your house. While digging out the crumpled dollars from your pocket, your eyes glaze over and you indulge in a little fantasy where another kind of ice cream truck cruises by, perhaps playing “Margaritaville” or “Escape,” offering cool, grown-up desserts with an extra kick guaranteed to smooth out the edges.
As of yet, no such truck has been seen rolling through town, but that doesn’t mean we can’t leave the kids with a sitter and go out in search of said spirited sweets. And though they may not yet be offered from a slow-rolling, tune-blaring truck, per se, you might even be able to get them delivered.
Last summer, Jesse Reilly launched Big O’s Pops, a bicycle-powered popsicle stand delivering frozen bliss to folks all over Bywater and Marigny. With a focus on locally-sourced ingredients, these gourmet ice pops come in a variety of flavors such as papaya, pineapple and yogurt; blackberries and cream with vanilla custard ice cream; and avocado and kiwi with coconut milk. But did you know they came in boozy flavors, too? His lemon basil iced tea is spiked with vodka, the bright green grasshopper is like Tujague’s cocktail on a stick, and the spicy Bloody Mary is perfect for any summer Sunday morning. Follow Reilly on Instagram @bigopops to see where he’s popping up next (pun certainly intended) or just ring his doorbell for an “ice-cold artisan” treat @popsicledoorbell on St. Roch Avenue.
Incredibly enough, there is another popsicle vendor out there who is devoted solely to liquor-laden creations. Late last year, Alexandra Lemay launched NOLA Tipsy Pops (follow her @nolatipsypops), another Instagram-based, local business focusing on sweet, cooling treats, but this one’s for adults-only. Each season brings a new selection of flavors such as the “Blue Lagoon” with vodka, blue curacao, apricot liqueur and maraschino cherries; “Easy as Pie” with house-infused apple pie vodka, sauvignon blanc, apple cider and Granny Smith apples; or a “Day Dream” with lavender-infused lemonade, lemon-infused gin and lavender syrup. NOLA Tipsy Pops proudly uses locally-sourced, organic ingredients, house-infused liquors, and handmade syrups. Porch pick-ups and deliveries can be arranged through Instagram, or you can sometimes grab a pop or three from Coffee Science’s vending table at Mid City Market.
A couple of months ago, the brand new Kimpton Hotel Fontenot opened in the Warehouse District, bringing along with it the new coffee shop dubbed Gospel Coffee & Boozy Treats. Along with specialty coffee drinks, pastries, salads and sandwiches, the new cafe offers treats like a Cointreau Praline and the “Holy Atole!” with Del Maguey Mezcal, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, chocolate, masa and cinnamon. You could simply swing up to the bar and order a cocktail in the Peacock Room, but “boozy treats” are a more casual option and, we think, much more fun.
If you’re seeking a cold, sweet with spirit that’s a touch more vintage, there’s absolutely nothing finer than the Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch from Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House. There’s plenty of places on Bourbon Street shilling fruity, frozen slushies that will knock you into next week, but few (if any) can compare to this cool, creamy concoction made oh-so simply with vanilla ice cream, bourbon, simple syrup and a dash of nutmeg. As if that wasn’t splendid enough, you can head a few blocks up Canal Street to the Palace Cafe where they’re offering a cool twist on a hot dessert, the Frozen Bananas Froster made with rum, brown sugar, banana-salted ice cream and a dash of cinnamon.
Finally there’s Debbie on the Levee, what could be described as the finest (and only) spirited confectionery shop in Kenner. Located just across the levee (hence the name) on Reverend Richard Wilson Drive, this sweet spot offers iced and hot coffee brewed with beans from local roaster Hey! Cafe, flavored milks and handcrafted sodas, and a dazzling array of cocktails. The sweets are signature doberge cake slices and “dobites” created by Debbie Does Doberge and instead of a cocktail, one can opt for a boozed up shake like their Cinnamon Toast Cake Shake made with cinnamon roll doberge, house made vanilla gelato and a shot of vanilla vodka. Feel free to double your pleasure with a “boozy slice” of Strawberry Daiquiri Doberge, a white cake layered with strawberry lime rum pudding and strawberry icing, or a Bourbon Hot Cocoa Doberge, a layered chocolate cake with cocoa marshmallow pudding and Smokey Longbranch Bourbon chocolate icing.
*Article originally published in the July 2021 Issue of Where Y’at Magazine
**Lead photo courtesy of Debbie on the Levee