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#FreshOnTheShelf: Gin-based popsicles launch in spring

JML Consulting, which created Pierre Jourdan Wine Popsicles (PJ Pops) in 2016, will launch two gin & tonic popsicles - a G&T Classic and G&T Berry - in September this year.
“We are 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 that,” says Jon-Marc De Carvalho, who co-founded JML Consulting with Natasha Alomia in 2012.

“The demand for alcohol-based popsicles is 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.”

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.

Local gin suppliers

“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 their philosophy of working with local producers, they turned to the Cape Town distillery Hope on Hopkins.

“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 four botanicals. It’s juniper-driven, with coriander, angelica root and liquorice 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. “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.”

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“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 product has 7% alcohol-by-volume, bringing out the refreshing bite of gin without overpowering the palate.

Recyclable packaging

While the fully recyclable popsicle tube will feel familiar to fans of PJ Pops, there is innovation on this front too. The G&T Popsicles are the first popsicle tubes worldwide to be made out of more robust Tetra Pak material. This improved tube packaging will also be used in the next batch of PJ Pops that go to market in September.

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 monochromatic packaging that reflects the urban energy of South Africa’s craft gin revolution.

The 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. Recommended retail price is R27.00 per Popsicle (inclusive of VAT). Frost Popsicles can also be ordered online by the box.