Brent Fogerty was writing for an advertising agency in Dallas for two years and was unhappy with the job. So, he jumped. Experienced in restaurant work, he’d been making ice cream on the side, but the gourmet ice cream market was saturated. So, in 2010, he stepped sideways into the gourmet ice pop business.
In 2012, he moved his business – Cold Ones — to his college town, Austin, for better access to ingredients and more consumers. There he sells his sophisticated flavors – many including herbal accents — from a pop-up cart.
And, because he has to make a living, he sells them in 30-plus locations in Central Texas. (That includes Tubby’s Icehouse, a Fredericksburg restaurant where I savored two top herbal flavors.) Brent has plans to expand to 100 stores this year and is looking national. But, I’m getting ahead of the story.
“We make organic, locally sourced popsicles,” he says. “We try to get as much farm-to-table as we can so this is a seasonal product. It changes all the time.” Spring might bring strawberry together with ginger, while midsummer pairs watermelon with mint and peaches with summer savory.
The herbal accents were just a natural for Brent. “It’s just an easy way to add an extra level of flavor to everything. I garden and it can be too hot for fruits and veggies, so I grow herbs. I’ve loved using them to add an extra layer. I use The Flavor Bible as a reference. You can look up ingredients like peaches and it will pull up all the things that will be complimentary for it.”
“I’m always looking for something new. I want it to taste better, and also I just get bored. I make different things as a challenge, to make the product better,” says the young entrepreneur. Peach with summer savory is a new flavor. He says it gives the ice pop an earthy, spiciness and adds a new mouthfeel. “You can’t identify the taste, but you like it.”
“Sometimes I’ll add whole basil or mint, but the way to really get the most flavor is to steep and stew the herbs, to reduce a simple syrup for hours and concentrate the flavors. Then, strain the syrup and compost the herbs. For cream bars, I’ll do a cold steep, for example, mint in milk.”
Go overboard with herbs when infusing. “When you’re working with frozen things you want it to taste sweeter and stronger when it’s in liquid form. Because the flavor will be lighter when frozen,” says Brent. “You really have to put enough in, then do more than you think you need. If you do too little, there’s a chance the flavor of the sugar will be overpowering.”
Brent’s favorite ice pop is coconut-lemon grass for its citrusy, woodsy note and floral character. Customers are voting for peach rosemary and peach summer savory. But, a challenger — Texas mint lemonade – has initiated a trend. Texans put them into a beer to melt into a new summer cocktail. And, that has inspired some other cocktail combos as well.
Cold Ones offers additional herbal combinations such as grapefruit tarragon, coconut cilantro, honeydew lemongrass, and pineapple chile.
What will you combine in your ice pop?