We’ve been on a slushy-kick, lately. Campari slushies. Watermelon mint slushies. Cucumber lime slushies. There’s something about the oh-so-refreshing, brain-freeze-inducing, fun-with-a-straw beauty that is the slushy that makes sweltering summer evenings bearable. And delicious.
We don’t always have the time to patiently coax our faithful blender through the somewhat painful-to-it process of crushing ice. So for back up, lest it die on us in the middle of this heat wave, we made the next best thing: popsicles!
Note on sweetness: We made a batch of simple syrup first (called for in two of the three recipes below), then set aside to cool as we juiced lemons and blended watermelon. The amounts below are guides — taste and adjust as you go along! Remember that the frozen popsicles will be slightly less sweet than in liquid form. (If you have leftover simple syrup, it keeps well in an air tight container in the fridge for a week or so. Use it in iced coffee!)
Note on molds: You can generally find popsicle molds for but a few dollars at the 99cents store. Still, we went for more of a DIY look, with dixie cups + natural wooden popsicle sticks. (We went 5oz cups, but are thinking the 3oz size would be easier to eat…) These are also generally available at the 99cents store. Less (suspicious) plastic, and easy to scale to the amount of liquid you have. The one downside to this method is you’ll have to freeze the popsicles for an hour or two (depending on the strength of your freezer….) before sticking in the popsicle sticks, so it does add to inactive time you need to be around.
As we wrote this entry, we were annoyed with how spell-check kept auto-correcting popsicle to Popsicle. Is this a kleenex case, we wondered, where the brand became a stand in for the generic? Turns out, it is! According to Wikipedia:
Popsicle is a popular brand of ice pop in the United States and Canada and became a genericized trademark for any type of ice pop due to its popularity. The first ice pop was created by accident in 1905 when 11-year-old Frank Epperson left a glass of homemade soda on his porch on a very cold San Francisco night. The next morning he went to go get the soda and it was frozen. Using the stirring stick that he had also left in the glass, he pulled it out and tried it.
So, I guess we didn’t really make popsicles…
>> simple syrup
Start by making simple syrup. Dissolve 2 cups of white sugar in 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
campari grapefruit popsicles
Campari is our favorite aperitif, and grapefruit is its classic pair. We love these frozen cocktails – tart yet bittersweet. Nothing quite like an ever-so-boozy popsicle on an hot evening in July.
Because of the (slight) alcohol in these, they’re not as icy as the others, too, which makes for a nice refreshing crunch.
Makes about 5 5oz-dixie-cup-sized popsicles
2 cups grapefruit juice (we squeezed our own >> took about 4 medium juicy grapefruits)
A generous 1/3 cup campari
1 cup simple syrup
1. This one’s easy: mix everything together, taste and adjust sweetness to your liking, and pour into molds to freeze!
2. If you’re using dixie cups + popsicle sticks, freeze for about two hours, until almost solid through –- soft enough to insert the stick, but firm enough to support it. Insert the popsicle stick most of the way through, but not clean through to the bottom of the cup. Transfer the cups back to the freezer and freeze overnight.
watermelon mint popsicles
These say summer like few others, combining two of our favorite summer flavors into an icy treat.
Makes about 8 5oz-dixie-cup-sized popsicles
4 cups cubed watermelon
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup mint leaves, packed
juice of 2 limes
1. Remove the rind from the watermelon and chop into small cubes — small cubes blend more easily. (It’s easier if you use a seedless watermelon but if you use one with seeds, you’ll need to see it before puree it.) Put the watermelon in the blender.
2. Muddle the mint with the sugar and lime juice, and add to the blender.
3. Puree, and pour into molds to freeze.
4. If you’re using dixie cups + popsicle sticks, freeze for about hour, until almost solid through –- soft enough to insert the stick, but firm enough to support it. Insert the popsicle stick most of the way through, but not clean through to the bottom of the cup. Transfer the cups back to the freezer and freeze overnight.
pink lemonade popsicles
These harken back to sticky afternoons, one piece bathing suits, running through sprinklers and the lemonade stands of our youth.
Makes about 10 5oz-dixie-cup-sized popsicles
1 cup lemon juice (we squeezed our own >> took about 7 large lemons)
1 cup simple syrup
3 cups cold water
1. This one’s also easy — pour the lemon juice into a pitcher. Dilute the lemonade with the cold water, then add the simple syrup and stir thoroughly to combine. (Use less water for tarter popsicles, or more syrup for sweeter ones.)
2. Pour into molds to freeze.
3. If you’re using dixie cups + popsicle sticks, freeze for about two hours, until almost solid through –- soft enough to insert the stick, but firm enough to support it. Insert the popsicle stick most of the way through, but not clean through to the bottom of the cup. Transfer the cups back to the freezer and freeze overnight.