We’ve talked a little bit about poptails before – you know, cocktails that you freeze and eat like popsicles – but we’ve never really given you a decent road map for making these babies. Some may think it’s pretty obvious, but there are definitely certain things you can do to really make your poptails come out extra special.

Less is more when it comes to the amount of alcohol you use. A good rule of thumb is to try and make your mixture about 20% alcohol – so about 1 part alcohol to about 4 parts of your mixer. Booze doesn’t freeze like other liquids, so when you have too much alcohol in your poptail, they won’t freeze properly (or at all). Sitting around waiting for alcohol to freeze is like watching grass grow, so go easy on the booze and you’ll be enjoying your poptails much sooner.

Don’t be afraid to add chunks of fruit, sprigs of mint, or other things you may typically use to garnish a drink. They make the poptails look extra fun and the burst of flavor is an added bonus.

Try to avoid carbonated beverages. It may seem fun to add some bubbles to your poptails, but these drinks just really don’t work in the freezer. Yes, the carbonated beverages do freeze, but when frozen they just end up tasting slightly sour.

If you’re able to plan ahead of time, we think buying your own popsicle molds ahead of time are a good investment. They’re usually fairly inexpensive and they are reusable, so they’re truly the gift that keeps on giving all summer long. However, there is still plenty of hope if you don’t have popsicle molds and you really want to make a few poptails. Just fill up a small Dixie cup with the cocktail mixture and add a popsicle stick, straw, or something else that’s sturdy enough to support the pop. When it’s frozen, you can just rip the cup (carefully) and pull it off the pop.

As for the recipe you use? That’s really up to you and what your taste buds like. Anything fruity usually turns out delicious, as well as anything that’s more dessert-like. Use your imagination and stay cool.