Bourbon popsicles: Three summer cocktails on a stick - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Bourbon popsicles: Three summer cocktails on a stick

It’s summer!  Long lazy days in a lounge chair by the pool, the kids far enough away that their gleeful shrieking is adorable instead of ear-splitting.  Hammocks and sunscreen and bathing suits and the most comfortable recliner raft ever made.

It’s not really whiskey weather.

It’s cold beer weather, and not the good dark beers I like, but beers served so cold that the quality no longer matters.  Sangria weather. Spiked lemonade weather.

norpro

And it’s popsicle weather. Boozy popsicles, that is.

Here’s the thing about boozy popsicles.  No one knows you’re day drinking!

In all seriousness, the popsicles here have about 1/3 of a shot or less per 3 oz. popsicle, so you’re not gonna get blotto on them unless you really commit to a full-on popsicle bender.  But there is still a fun naughtiness about a tinge of whiskey in your sweet icy treat. Not to mention the amazing flavor it imparts.

All popsicles below were made with Bulleit bourbon, which is my go-to for mixing.  But any decent quality standard strength bourbon will do.

I used the Norpro Ice Pop Maker, because (despite my strong eco/green tendencies) I prefer disposable popsicle sticks over reusable ones.  I want to be able to bring popsicles to a party, and not have to worry about collecting sticks.  Also, I can take these out of their molds, package them up, and store them in the freezer, freeing up my popsicle mold to make even more popsicles.

The Norpro worked great for me. One note though: Make sure the popsicle sticks are straight up and down, not diagonal.  If they are diagonal in different directions, the lid becomes difficult to remove.  In most cases, I had to go in when the pops were half frozen and adjust the sticks.

On to the popsicles!

Mint Julep Popsicles

This recipe is very slightly adapted from Honestly Yum. I fiddled with it, trying to get a stronger bourbon flavor, but nope.  They had already figured out the maximum amount of bourbon this popsicle can contain and still freeze.  I added the chopped mint, because I love fresh mint, but other than that, this recipe is all theirs.

julep

This mint julep popsicle is extremely refreshing, quite sweet, but with more depth than you would expect because of the demarara sugar.  It’s worth getting the schmancy sugar. The bourbon flavor is subtle, but present.

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup demerara sugar
  • 1 cup fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • ½ cup additional fresh mint, chopped (optional)

Combine sugar and water in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat, and add the cup of mint leaves.  Muddle leaves into syrup, using the back of a wooden spoon, or a muddler if you have one.

Let steep about 45 minutes, then remove mint leaves.

Stir in the bourbon, then pour into popsicle molds.

Optional: If you are a mint-fiend like me, when popsicles are slushy but not frozen solid (1-2 hours, depending on your freezer), add chopped mint, poking it down into the popsicles so it is evenly distributed.

Add sticks, and freeze at least 8-12 hours.  Run molds until hot water to release popsicles.

Makes 8-10 3-oz. popsicles.

Ginger peach bourbon popsicles

peachAdapted from Susan Laury’s recipe, these popsicles are so seasonal, you can barely stand it.  Nothing is more delicious than a fresh perfect summer peach.  This recipe really lets the peaches speak, with ginger and bourbon as mild accents. The end result is fresh, summery, and is the most gourmet-seeming popsicle of the lot, while also being the easiest of the recipes here.  The fresh peaches and your food processor do all the work.

  • 3 ripe peaches
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp honey (I used orange blossom)
  • 1/3 cup bourbon

Puree two of the three peaches, pits removed but skin intact, in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth.  Transfer puree to a bowl.  Put the last remaining peach in the food processor and pulse to roughly chopped.  If using a blender, chop last peach with a knife.  Add to bowl.

Add lemon juice, honey, bourbon, and grated ginger.  2 tsp of fresh grated ginger will give you a distinct ginger bite.  If you prefer a mild accent of ginger, you can use slightly less.

Stir to combine and transfer to popsicle molds.  Add sticks and freeze at least 8-12 hours.

Run molds until hot water to release popsicles.

Makes 8-10 3-oz. popsicles.

Bourbon fudge pops

fudgepopAdapted from Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe for kid-friendly fudge pops, I upped the chocolate a bit and added bourbon.  Because yes, obviously.

These taste like a classic fudgesicle… plus bourbon.  I mean, come on.  Tell me you don’t want that.  You want it.  You know you want it.

  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup bourbon*

Melt chocolate in a medium sauce pan over low heat, stirring frequently.  Be careful not to burn the chocolate.  When melted chocolate is smooth, add sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and milk.  Stir to combine, making sure to get all melted chocolate off the bottom of the sauce pan, and breaking up any lumps with the back of a spoon.  Raise heat to medium and cook mixture, stirring frequently, until it thickens (about ten minutes).

Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted in.  Then add the bourbon and stir to combine.

Let mixture cool until safe to handle, and then pour into popsicle molds.  Add sticks, and freeze at least 8-12 hours.

Run molds until hot water to release popsicles.

Makes 8-10 3-oz. popsicles.

*Note: you can go up to ½ cup of bourbon, and these will still work, but they melt very quickly with the higher quantity of bourbon.  For the purpose of general success of a recipe, I reduced it to 1/3 cup, but I have been making mine with ½ cup of bourbon, and just eating them carefully before they melt on me.

A general note for serving popsicles.  If you will be unmolding and serving them to guests, I recommend freezing a platter for several hours and placing unmolded popsicles onto the frozen platter.  In general, boozy popsicles melt more quickly, so in the time it takes you to unmold them and walk out to your guests, these will melt slightly for a less attractive presentation if you don’t freeze the platter.

Happy summer!

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About the author

Pam Desmond

When Pam isn’t living some imaginary fabulous whiskey lifestyle, she can be found hanging at home in her PJs with her husband and school-aged twins, or driving her glamorous minivan shuttling the kids to dance and gymnastics. She also writes a blog focusing on self-love, body acceptance, and being a mom at Pam-a-rama ding dong. With the more lucrative half of her brain, she works as a statistician and scientific writer. Follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/whiskeypam) and Twitter (@pamdesmond)! Contact the author.
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