By Clay and Zach at The Bitten Word
Nothing makes us more nostalgic for long, lazy childhood summers than the idea of a Popsicle. Opening the freezer and seeing a Technicolor array of bright, sugary ice pops is one of life’s great pleasures. Unwrapping a Popsicle and then eating it — while your tongue slowly turns unnatural hues of blue, green or red — is one of the most refreshing and most quintessentially summer things there is.
This past summer, we’ve been making our own ice pops, but with one great twist that’s decidedly un-childlike: booze!
Whether you’re a bourbon girl, a Bloody Mary guy or more of a margarita person, if you’re looking for one last summer hurrah this weekend, look no further than these boozy ice pops.
Making these Popsicles nearly spanned the summer for us. We have only a handful of molds, which meant we needed to make five separate batches of ice pops. Summer months flew by as new batches rolled through our freezer.
We’ve had an absolutely amazing summer. Unfortunately, we are sorry to report, these ice pops weren’t so amazing.
Both Gourmet and Fine Cooking had features this summer about making alcohol-spiked popsicles. Each had flavors that we wanted to try, so we mixed and matched five — using three from Gourmet and two from Fine Cooking. Here’s how they turned out:
- Bittersweet Chocolate-Bourbon Ice Pops: The clear winner. These were the first ice pops we made and by far our favorite of the bunch. Rich and decadent, with just the perfect kick of bourbon to add a deeper flavor, these are a true summer treat.
- Lemon-Vodka Cream Pops: Overall, not bad. We’re not big creamsicle fans, but we enjoyed these flavors together. The citron vodka was a smooth addition the cream.
- Watermelon Margarita Ice Pops: Although this shares the flavors of Tequila Soaked Watermelon, which we made earlier this summer and loved, we weren’t fans of these pops. The tequila seemed to fight the watermelon rather than complement it, and we found ourselves wishes we had just made straight-up watermelon ice pops.
- Mint Caipirinha Ice Pops: Probably our least favorite of the batches, we just couldn’t seem to get the texture right on this pop. Where the others froze nicely, this remained soft, icy and slushy, and the pieces of mint scattered throughout didn’t help. The mint flavors were nice, but probably best left to a cocktail.
- Bloody Mary Ice Pops: These taste literally like a frozen Bloody Mary. If that sounds good to you, make these immediately. While we’re huge Bloody Mary fans, we found the taste of a frozen Bloody a little unappetizing. The most savory of any of the pops we made, these just didn’t end up being all that refreshing.
Make yourself a Bittersweet Chocolate-Bourbon ice pop this weekend. If there will be kids around, make half the batch without bourbon and while the pops are freezing, pour yourself a nip of bourbon, sit on the porch, and think about what a nice summer it’s been.
Bittersweet Chocolate-Bourbon Ice Pops
Fine Cooking (August/September 2009)
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Dark chocolate and bourbon make for a truly decadent frozen treat. Since the bourbon doesn’t get cooked, it’s worth splurging on the high-end stuff.Yields 8 pops.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3-1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% to 72%), chopped
2 Tbs. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. table salt
2 Tbs. good-quality bourbon (like Knob Creek)
Put the sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder, salt, and 2 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Transfer to a 4-cup glass measure (or any container with a spout for easy pouring). Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Stir in the bourbon and divide the mixture among eight 3-oz. pop molds or wax-lined paper cups. Freeze until just set, about 3 hours. Insert craft sticks and freeze until completely set, about 4 hours more. When ready to serve, unmold or peel off the paper cups.