The Vice Lolly is the latest frozen treat created by controversial ice-cream shop, Icecreamists, in London. The gun-shaped lolly is made from holy water from a sacred spring in Lourdes, France, 80% alcohol absinthe and sugar.
A year after he shocked the world with the ice-cream made from breast milk, Icecreamists owner, Mark O’Connor, has launched a new outrageous frozen dessert called the Vice Lolly. Priced at £18.58 ($28.5), the green gun-shaped treat is made of three parts holly water imported from the spring at the Grotto of Massabielle at Lourdes, a famous place of pilgrimage for Catholics, and one part absinthe, the potent alcoholic drink banned in the UK, in the 19th century. The bizarre combination is sweetened with sugar and aims to build on the risque reputation of the unique ice-cream parlor in Covent Garden, London.
“Being born into a Catholic family I wanted to make a statement about religion,” O’Connor says. “I was looking at doing something that was a traditional childrenʼs ice lolly, but I turned this idea on its head. I went from something quite innocent to the most radically provocative concept possible.” After he got the holy water shipped from France, he spent some time tasting it with 80% alcohol absinthe and sugar, trying to get the taste just right. Once he nailed the alcoholic mixture, it just needed to be super-frozen at -30 degrees Celsius, in gun-shaped molds.
The creator of the Vice Lolly describes its taste as “alcoholic with a touch of sweetness” and says an average drinker would need to consume about three to feel the effects of the absinthe. The powerful drink, nicknamed “the green goddess” , was only reapproved for sale in Britain in 1998, after being banned by the Victorians, during the 19th century. It is said absinthe made Vincent Van Gogh chop off his own ear.
Lourdes became an important Christian pilgramage site after 1858, when 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous claimed she saw a vision of the Virgin Mary there. Nowadays, thousands of believers travel to the French town hoping their ailments will be miraculously cured. Priests here don’t just give the holly water away for free, they sell it for €100 ($123) per liter. I guess that kind of explains the spicy price of the Vice Lolly…