I fondly remember the days when my brothers and I used to chase down the ice cream truck, with our money tightly wadded up in our hands, to get our afternoon popsicles. I always got an Orange Big Stick, and I would hurry up and eat mine pretty fast because I hated when it started to melt and drip down, making my hand sticky. To this day, I don’t know which I hated more – the brain freeze resulting from eating my popsicle too fast or having a streak of sticky orange-flavored syrup running down my arm.
Well, we’re all grown up now, but there’s no reason why our favorite childhood treat couldn’t also “grow up” to satisfy our adult palates. So, I’ve taken four classic cocktails and turned them into refreshing, slightly buzzy frozen treats. While we won’t be able to buy these “adults-only” ice pops from a truck, we can easily make them at home. Over the next few posts, I’ll be sharing the recipes with you, starting with the Midori Sour Ice Pops, just in time for the weekend.
Midori® is a sweet, emerald-colored, melon-flavored liqueur. Aptly named after the Japanese word for green, it made its debut in the United States in 1978 at New York’s famed Studio 54. Midori-based drinks were especially popular during my college years, and Midori Sours were the drink of choice for my roommates and I. The four of us spent many Friday nights drinking these glowing, neon-green cocktails. I was able to capture the delightfully sweet and sour flavor of the Midori Sour in these ice pops, with its refreshing melon flavor. Eating one of these pops, with its familiar green color, takes me back to the good ol’ days!!
Before you get started, here are some tips to convert your favorite cocktail into a poptail:
- Alcohol inhibits the freezing process so limit the amount of alcohol content to less than 20%, which equals to about 1 shot of liquor per cup of puréed fruit/liquid. Proper ratio of alcohol to fruit will ensure that you will have frozen pops.
- If you’d like to add more alcohol, make granitas or shaved ice instead. Frozen slushy treats are good, too, but harder to eat on a stick!
- Using simple syrup, honey, or other liquified sweeteners are easier to incorporate into the rest of the ingredients. However, sugar also lowers the freezing point, so don’t add too much.
- Wine has less alcohol than liquor so you can use more of it without interfering with the freezing process.
- Ice pop molds are available online and in many kitchen stores, but you can also use small 3-ounce cups (think Dixie® bath cups), shot glasses, ramekins, and even small plastic yogurt containers.
- Wooden ice pop sticks are available at many craft stores.
Enjoy and beware of brain freeze!
Midori Sour Ice Pops
Yields approximately 8 three-ounce pops
8 ounces honeydew melon
2 tablespoons simple syrup, or more to taste, depending on sweetness of fruit
juice and finely grated zest of one medium-sized lime
1 tablespoon vodka (optional)
3 tablespoons Midori® Liqueur, ( decrease to 2 tablespoons if adding vodka)
For the Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
To make the simple syrup, bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let cool completely. Syrup can be refrigerated in a glass jar for up to 2 weeks.
Combine melon and simple syrup in a blender and purée. Add the lime juice and zest, vodka, if using, and the Midori liqueur. Taste and add more simple syrup, if needed. Pour the melon mixture into 3-ounce cup molds. Freeze until mixture is slushy, about one hour, before inserting wooden sticks. Partially freezing the mixture will make it easier for the sticks to stay upright and in place. Freeze until completely firm, about 12 hours, or preferably for 24 hours.
To unmold the ice pops, dip the frozen molds into warm water for a few seconds. Gently pull the stick to release the pops from the mold.
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