Ice pops for grown-up tastes |

Ice pops for grown-up tastes

Marialisa Calta
United Features Syndicate, Inc.

With all the super-premium ice creams out there, you may not have the motivation to make your own. Or the equipment. But it is perfectly possible to make delicious frozen treats without an ice-cream maker. Sorbet, for example. Or granita (a shaved-ice confection with the consistency of a snow cone). Or ice pops.

Sugared ices have been around for centuries (the Roman emperor Nero is said to have enjoyed them), but according to the official Popsicle website (, the Popsicle was born when, in 1905, an 11-year-old named Frank Epperson left a mixture of powdered soda, water and a stirring stick in a cup on his porch. “It was a cold night, and Epperson awoke the next morning to find a frozen pop. He called it the ‘Epsicle.’ It was a hit with his friends at school, and later with his own kids. They constantly called for ‘Pop’s ‘sicle.’ So in 1923, Epperson changed the name and applied for a patent.”

Innovations over the years included the Twin Popsicle, with double sticks (“invented during the Great Depression so two children could share an ice pop for just a nickel”); the “Push-Up” and “Pop-Up”; and Popsicles shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. But these Popsicles are clearly for kids. Why not aim for a more grown-up version?

The first recipe here comes from “Spice Dreams: Flavored Ice Creams and Other Frozen Treats” by Sara Engram and Katie Luber (Andrews McMeel, 2010). This book gives recipes for confections that you’ll never find at the store: basil ice cream, chile-lemongrass ice cream, brown-sugar-and-spice-banana ice cream. It may in fact induce you to run right out and buy an ice-cream maker. But the authors also include a recipe for a refreshing ice pop, so cool and elegant that you could serve it at a dinner party. The Margarita Popsicle recipe is an old one I scribbled down while watching Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network years ago, and the Watermelon-Cassis pop comes from my own files.

A note on ice-pop molds: Recipes are based on 4-ounce molds; some may hold less. If you don’t have molds, use small paper cups (like Dixie Cups). Pour the pop mixture into the cups, and cover the top of each cup with foil. Place a Popsicle stick in the center of the cup (down through the foil, which will hold it in place). Freeze until hard, preferably overnight. Remove from the freezer, and run the cup under tepid water to loosen.



1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 to 2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1⁄8 teaspoon salt

12⁄3 cups freshly squeezed pink- or ruby-red-grapefruit juice

Combine the sugar, water, tarragon and salt in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, gently, until the sugar has dissolved completely and the syrup is clear, about five minutes. Remove from heat, and let sit for one hour. Strain the syrup though a mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Add the grapefruit juice, and whisk well. Pour into molds, and freeze.

Yield: about 8 (4-ounce) ice pops



3⁄4 cup sugar

1⁄2 cup water

3⁄4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

pinch of kosher salt, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons tequila

2 tablespoons orange liqueur

Combine the sugar, water, lime, lemon and orange juices and pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about five minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Stir in the tequila and orange liqueur. Pour into molds, and freeze. Serve garnished with kosher salt.

Yield: 4 ice pops



3⁄4 cup sugar

1⁄2 cup water

zest of one lemon

zest of one lime

about 4 cups of 2-inch chunks seeded watermelon

1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons Chambord or other raspberry liqueur

In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, water, and lemon and lime zest. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Strain the cooled syrup into a large bowl, and chill. Discard the zest.

Puree the watermelon in batches in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. You need 2-1⁄2 cups of pureed melon.

Stir the watermelon puree into the sugar syrup, and then stir in the lemon juice and the liqueur. Pour into molds, and freeze.

Yield: 8 ice pops

• Marialisa Calta is the author of “Barbarians at the Plate: Taming and Feeding the American Family” (Perigee, 2005). For more information, go to