By Terry Trucco
What does summer taste like? Popsicles, if you’re 10 years old. And if you’re in double decades?
How about a cool goblet of Prosecco with a boozy, Day-Glo popsicle plopped inside like a swizzle stick?
Prosecco & Popsicles headlines the bar menu at the Conrad New York’s new rooftop bar, aptly named Loopy Doopy (the name comes from a towering mural by Sol LeWitt in the lobby, but never mind). The pops come in flavors like Strawberry Grey Goose Citron and Mango & Guava Malibu Coconut. And from the look of the hotel’s sun-drenched bar on a recent Saturday afternoon, they’re a hit – even at $16 a pop. Every third person was holding one, it seemed, including me (Watermelon 10 Cane Rum Mojito).
It was delectable, though half the fun was watching its creation. The Prosecco is on tap at the bar – just like Brooklyn Lager. The bartender pulls the lever and bubbly white wine cascades over a classic pop on a wooden stick – not that different – visually, at least — from the ones Peggy Olson wrote ad copy for on Mad Men a few seasons back.
The taste, of course, is nothing like Good Humor. Think frozen watermelon mojito.
Given the day’s heat, the pop melted into a spritzer before you could say summer cocktails, turning the wine bright coral and melding the flavors. Licking a grown-up popsicle on the roof felt like the Fourth of July (the Statue of Liberty is visible from the bar if you need a visual prompt).
“We wanted a summer treat that’s refreshing because it’s hot out there,” says Anthony Zamora, executive chef at the Conrad who dreamed up the drink with Gregory Polino, director of food and beverage.
The idea was to turn classic mixed drink flavors into popsicles on sticks – and lavish them with locally sourced ingredients, like Brooklyn Gin in the Blood Orange & Lycee popsicle and Hudson Baby Bourbon in the White Peach pop.
But the popsicles weren’t built in a day. “It was trial and error,” Zamora says. The alcohol in the popsicles doesn’t freeze at the same temperature as the other ingredients. The trick was to give the popsicles kick and keep them frozen, a bartending hurdle eventually conquered. “Each popsicle probably has as much alcohol as a mixed drink,” Zamora says.
As for the bubbly accompaniment, the Loopy Doopy bar is one of the first in town with Prosecco on tap. Pairing the two seemed a natural. Besides the obvious showmanship when the bartender whips up the drink, Prosecco on tap saves time (it’s a lot faster to pull a lever than open a wine bottle after four drinks, Zamora points out). And the bar has sold a lot of P & Ps – upwards of 1,500 since the weather improved in June.
The big sellers are Strawberry Grey Goose Citron and the Watermelon 10 Cane Rum Mojito. And when their creator wants a Prosecco Pop what does he choose? White Peach Hudson Baby Bourbon or the Blood Orange & Lychee Brooklyn Gin. “They’re not as sweet,” Zamora says.
Conrad New York, 102 North End Avenue; 212 945-0100. The Loopy Doopy Bar is open from May to October