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Popsicles with or without liquor

A poptail is a popsicle made with liquor. Poptails, a book by British food writer Laura Fyfe (2013, Hachette UK Company), contains recipes for over 40 alcohol-infused popsicles, ices, and slushes.

Blueberry Julep Poptails.
© 2013 Rosalie E. Leposky
Poptails by Laura Fyfe book front cover.
© 2013 Rosalie E. Leposky

Reading the book brought back memories. In my household, where pure juice was the norm, summertime with small children meant a freezer full of child-size popsicles made of frozen juice. My children grew. Their popsicle-holders were set aside – but not forgotten.

Now adults can make and enjoy the same popsicles they make for their children, but can adults who would rather not consume alcohol still enjoy popsicles made with these recipes?

In response to my question, copy editor Nicole Foster wrote to publicist Elizabeth Hermann that “equal measurements of fruit juice can be substituted for alcohol in any of Fyfe’s recipes.”

Finding popsicles holders

If you once made popsicles for your now-grown children, your first step is to find your old popsicle-holders. My antique Tupperware popsicle-holders were hiding in plain sight in a large plastic container. I opened the container and washed them.

My second step was finding new popsicle-holders. Tupperware still has some, but now they have handles shaped like the head of Mickey Mouse – not exactly what an adult may want to use, and they still hold only a small child-size portion.

Eventually I found and acquired two larger-size popsicle-holders that worked for my purposes – the ability to freeze individual portions in my crowded freezer.

• From Target and Amazon, I found six-packs of Tovolo Groovy Pop Molds. Target has one version and Amazon has several versions of Tovolo’s product. The price was the same.

• Jelly Bean Flute Tops are available in four-packs from Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, and other online sources. The price varies greatly, so shop around.

I also bought from Amazon a Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker that has 12 popsicles attached together and a top that fits over all of them with slots for sticks – a nuisance if you want to make only three or four popsicles at a time. It requires a huge amount of freezer space and is cumbersome to use.

Two flavors

Blueberry Julep

1 cup water
½ cup sugar
4 sprigs fresh mint
2 cups fresh blueberries
6 tablespoons bourbon (or juice).

I used apple juice. Experiment with various juices and find what you like.

Place the sugar and mint in a saucepan with one cup of water and slowly bring to a boil. Allow the sugar to dissolve. Simmer gently for five minutes. Remove pan from heat and let the mixture infuse for 30 minutes.

Place the blueberries and bourbon (or juice) in a food processor or blender, and pour over the syrup, mint sprigs included. Blend until mixture is completely smooth. Pour mixture into popsicle molds.

Place the molds in the freezer. Fyfe says to let the molds sit for two hours, then insert the popsicle sticks and allow to freeze until completely solid (about four more hours). I put the tops which contain the sticks on the popsicles immediately, allowing a little expansion space in the popsicles and avoiding spillage.

Makes six.

Passion Fruit Margarita

1 cup water
½ cup sugar
Grated zest of one lime (cut in small pieces).
½ cup passion fruit pulp (include seeds).

Fyfe suggests about six fruits. Probably more will be needed. I buy passion fruit in season, let it ripen, and freeze the fruit pulp. In Miami, locally grown fruit is often available from organic fruit and vegetable sellers at Pinecrest Gardens’ Sunday farmers market.

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon Cointreau (or juice)

Place the sugar, lime zest, and water in a small saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Let bubble for five minutes, then remove saucepan from heat.

Stir in passion fruit pulp, lime juice, tequila, and Cointreau (or juice). Pour into popsicle molds.

Place molds in freezer. Fyfe says to let the molds sit for three hours, then give each one a gentle stir to distribute the passion fruit seeds, and insert the popsicle sticks. Return to freezer for an additional three hours, until frozen solid. I put the tops which contain the sticks on the popsicles immediately, allowing a little expansion space in the popsicles and avoiding spillage.

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