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 and in the middle of a recent birthday celebration, we made the next best thing: ice pops!
For the party, we went with Campari pops — it is our favorite aperitif, especially beloved in the summer, 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.
Note on sweetness: The syrup measurement below is a guide; adjust the sweetness to your liking. Remember that the ice pops will be slightly less sweet when frozen.
Note on molds: There are ice pop molds aplenty out there, from the dollar store versions and up. However, when making large batches, as for a party, we usually go for paper cups. Dixie cups are an easy find, though we prefer the look of these. We prefer the smaller 3oz cups, and usually pour them about 2/3rd full, for a 2.5oz pop. Note that once you pour these out, you’ll have to freeze them for two hours or so, until the liquid is frozen enough to hold a popsicle stick upright. (Make sure your popsicle sticks are natural wood, and not dyed with anything icky!)
As we went about making our ice pops, we got to thinking about where they came from. As with most good food lore, ice pops were created “by accident.” Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
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.
Thanks, eleven-year old Frank. We own you one.
campari grapefruit popsicles.
Makes about 20 2.5 oz pops
1 cup sugar
9 – 10 juicy grapefruits (or 3 1/2 cups juice)
A generous 1/2 cup of Campari
1. Make a batch of simple syrup. Dissolve 1 cup of white sugar in 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 6 minutes (if it boils for too long, the syrup will solidify when cold.) Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (You might as well make extra, always in a 1-to-1 ratio, in case you decide you want sweeter pops. Store leftover syrup in the fridge; it’s great in iced coffee!)
2. Juice grapefuits.
3. Mix juice, campari and syrup together. Taste and adjust sweetness and campari-ness to your liking.
4. Pour into molds. If using DIY molds, 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.