By Lindsey McClave
When temperatures peak and humidity soars, we need a refreshing fix. Enter the ice-pop. This treat is as cool as its name suggests and is simple to make at home. Ice-pops are malleable, welcoming nearly any ingredient one deems worthy.
I am particularly fond of the marriage of watermelon, strawberry, and fresh mint. The union of fruits creates an ice-pop that is just sweet enough, and the flecks of mint add depth of flavor and a welcome herbal note. This combination is healthy and pleasing to crowds of all ages.
For those who are over 21, ice-pops spiked with liquor make for a fun and frigid summer cocktail. Being a Kentucky girl, I am always looking for ways to bring bourbon into the kitchen, and I’ve found success here when blending our state’s finest drink with freshly puréed peaches and vanilla-tinged simple syrup. When adding a kick to your ice-pops, simply remember that the non-alcoholic ingredients should make up at least two-thirds of the base mix, as too much liquor will keep the ice-pops from freezing.
Ice-pop molds are available at most kitchen supply chains and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Consider these recipes a jumping-off point for beating the summer heat in the most delicious way possible.
Watermelon, Strawberry, & Mint Ice-Pops
Makes 8 (¼-cup) ice-pops
¼ watermelon, seeds removed
½ pint strawberries, stems removed and quartered
½ tsp sugar, divided
1-2 sprigs mint, approximately 15 mint leaves
In a blender, purée watermelon with ¼ tsp sugar. Pour one cup of purée into a bowl and set aside.
Purée strawberries along with ¼ tsp sugar. Add the watermelon purée to the blender along with the mint leaves. Purée until smooth and taste for sweetness. Add additional sugar to sweeten to your preference.
Pour into ice-pop molds and freeze for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
Place ice-pop molds under running water for a few seconds to help remove the ice-pop from the mold. Serve immediately.
Bourbon & Peach Ice-Pops
Makes 6 (¼-cup) ice-pops
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean
6 peaches, pits removed and diced
¼ cup bourbon
Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir while bringing to a boil, making sure all the sugar dissolves. Split the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the seeds, mixing them into the sugar water. Turn off the heat and allow the simple syrup to steep and cool for two to four hours.
Place peaches in a blender and purée until smooth (flecks of peach skin will remain). Add the bourbon along with one tablespoon of the vanilla simple syrup. Blend to combine. Taste for sweetness and add additional simple syrup as desired (remaining simple syrup will last in the fridge for up to one month).
Pour into ice-pop molds and freeze overnight. Place ice-pop molds under running water for a few seconds to help remove the ice-pop from the mold. Serve immediately.