As we enjoy the height of summer, and get back to outdoor gatherings, however socially distanced, consumers are still reaching for treats to cool down in the heat and bring some seasonal novelty. The classic ice cream vans are making their way around to picnickers in the parks, and ice cream shops have queues down the street; classic ice cream bars and traditional ice lollies will always provide that hit of sweetness and a cool-down on a hot day. But for those looking for a more adult frozen treat, there are plenty of options available helping to bring a bit of summertime playfulness and nostalgia to the grown-ups among us in the backyard paddling pools.

Increasingly, small and large brands are introducing alcohol-infused frozen treats in a wide range of flavours and choices of drink, from the more expected daiquiri, to gin & tonic ice cream, to “frosé” ice lollies. These ‘frozen cocktails’ deliver on many of the benefits you would want in an ice lolly or ice cream, but with a sophisticated twist. In particular, the packaging of many alcoholic ice lollies manages to deliver a hit of sweet nostalgia to consumers while remaining definitely grown-up and a little different from an ice-cream fuelled remembrance of childhood summers.

One example is Lic frozen cocktails, which has collaborated with Mirabeau wine to create a range of “frosé” ice lollies blending rosé wine and fruit flavours, packed in pastel hues with geometric zig-zag stripes, and featuring the St. Tropez-based winery’s elegant serif font logo, paying visual homage to the Côte d’Azur. The packages could be time-traveling souvenirs from a beachfront hotel, something to enjoy under a yellow and white striped sun umbrella. The imagery of Mediterranean mid-century upscale glamour transports consumers to a time and social context they likely have not experienced, but one that lives on in popular imagination through classic films and vintage advertisements. It allows consumers to imagine themselves in these warm beachside locales, when luxury travel and life in general appeared laid-back, uncomplicated, and glamorously carefree. And, crucially, the same association provides a temporary feeling of travel from the familiar surroundings we may be enjoying these treats in for the whole of summer.

POPS frozen cocktails similarly use bright graphic patterns across their range of alcohol-infused ice lollies. The POPS packaging also brings a summer scene to mind, with bright and primary coloured stripes recalling the fabrics and lawn furniture of an idealized 1950s barbeque, or the beaches, buildings, and nautical striped clothing of the Italian Riviera. Likewise, Aldi’s “Gianni’s” brand draws on the same graphic styles, with simple, colourful stripes running across packs, each related to a particular flavour, but in bold hues that could be Cinque Terre façades or pulled from an orderly row of beachside umbrellas. As with the Lic packages, these brightly coloured simple graphics reference a time and cultural context that we can imagine as simpler, comforting, playful, and optimistic. This kind of sunny outlook is just the thing to accompany a backyard or poolside refreshment, and is particularly relevant at a time when consumers are looking for simplicity and escapism in a summer filled with upheaval and uncertainty.

Ice cream often offers a dose of childhood nostalgia for adult consumers, but these boozy summer treats have put a twist on the backwards glance through communicating a more grown-up longing for the past. In doing so, something as accessible as a pre-packed frozen cocktail puts a little bit of retro glamour and beachside freedom into our hands, when and wherever we may actually be enjoying it.


Isobel Grad

Escape this summer: with the glamorous and carefree designs of adult lollies