Fourth of July Champagne Bucket
I adore the Fourth of July—of course for the festive red, white, and blue outfits—but also because it provides an excuse to hide teeny sparklers everywhere. You won’t have trouble finding red, white, and blue appetizers, or even star shaped desserts—but I want your 4OJ contribution to shine amongst the star spangled crowd with this champagne bucket.
While this festive champagne ice bucket reminds me of childhood popsicle runs, it’s sophisticated enough to pique any adult curiosity—How did she do that?! Once you understand this technique, you can try other combinations that will elevate just about any holiday: holly and mini pinecones frozen into clear water for winter festivities, or mini stems of sweet heart roses for V-Day!
Choose a pretty plate to display the ice bucket (and don’t forget to tuck a small towel beneath to absorb any liquid as it melts) and pile red and blue berries around the base. If you keep the bucket out of sunlight, it should stay frozen for at least a couple hours.
- Plastic champagne bucket (or sand toy bucket or even tiny garbage can—mine was about 2 gallons.)
- Quart sized cylinder plastic container (mine was from the Whole Foods olive bar – whatever you have, make sure the base of your champagne bottle fits into it)
- Half gallon milk
- 3 cups red berries*
- 3 cups blueberries
- Blue food coloring
- Red food coloring
- Clear some space in your freezer so you have room for the bucket to stand upright.
- Add milk into bucket so there is a 1.5” white layer (this will take ~2 cups depending on size of your bucket). Freeze until solid.
- Mix cold water (if you use warm water it will start to melt the milk layer and the colors will bleed together) with a couple drops of blue dye and handful of berries. Pour over white milk layer until the blue layer is 1.5”. Freeze until solid.
- Mix cold water with a couple drops of red dye and a handful of red berries. Pour over blue layer until the red layer is 1.5”. Freeze until solid.
- Pour milk into bucket until there is a 1.5” white layer. Freeze until solid.
- Place the quart sized plastic container in the center of the champagne bucket and weigh it down (I used a mason jar, but you could also use sand, rocks, or a paperweight).
- Repeat step #3, and pour blue water around outside of the plastic container. Freeze until solid.
- Continue to layer the colors until the bucket is almost full, but leave 1-2” of space at the top (because the ice will expand).
- When the final layer is frozen, fill the plastic container with cold water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes then ease the plastic container out.
- To remove the ice sculpture from the plastic champagne bucket, hold it under cold running water and rotate evenly. The ice will start to melt just enough to ease it out of the champagne bucket. This took a little longer than I expected, but eventually it came out. If you’re having trouble, fill your sink with cool water and let the bucket sit).
- Store in freezer.
- To use, place on a small plate, add a champagne bottle and fill any extra space with crushed ice. Pile berries around the base of the champagne bucket.
- Wipe outside with a clean wet sponge to melt the layer of frost, wipe outside with a clean wet sponge (this will make the colors really pop!)
- Experiment with different berries: I cut small stars out of strawberries, but they were difficult to see. You could also try whole raspberries or even whole (small) strawberries.
- The bucket will stay frozen for a few hours. I started with the white layer on the bottom so if it does begin to melt it won’t be as noticeable.
- Don’t use hot water to remove the ice bucket from the plastic container. It could crack the ice.