I recently returned from vacation in Jamaica. Readjusting to real life after eight days living on island time is not a fun transition.
While away, we started every day with an array of tropical fruits, and sipped daiquiris as we lay on the beach.
I arrived home to sweltering heat, with only the dream of a beach breeze and a bottle of Jamaican rum to cool me down. And so I immediately took up the task of making a batch of punch popsicles, since it is one of those famously cooling foods and treats for the season.
A proper rum punch follows this fun little poem: one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak.
To accomplish this, mix together one part lime juice, two parts sweet fruit juice, three parts booze, and four parts ice, throw in a dash of bitters, and you’ll never go wrong.
Well, almost never…
Unfortunately, for popsicles, this ratio is a bit too strong – the alcohol and sugar prevent freezing.
Not to worry! I adjusted the ratios just a bit, threw in some chunks of fresh fruit, and created the perfect boozy pop-tail, which I’ve shared with you here.
It’s so simple, you’d be silly not to give it a try.
If you want a taste of other tropical-inspired freeze pop recipes, try out this Mexican paleta creation made with coffee, chocolate, and bananas; or this ever-unique combination of tahini, figs, with sweet and smooth bananas too.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step One – Mix
Mix together all of the ingredients for your base: lime juice, water, fruit nectar, honey, rum, and a dash of bitters, if you want.
For the fruit nectar, you can use whatever flavor you desire! I differentiate fruit nectar from fruit juice here because it is thicker, and oftentimes much sweeter – and it is available in all sorts of tropical flavors.
If you go for just a straight juice instead, use 10 ounces of juice and omit the water.
My favorite is a combination of guava and passion fruit. Pineapple, strawberry, peach, or mango would work well, too.
The bitters add a nice bit of complexity to the flavor, but they are definitely not necessary if you don’t have any on hand. However, as many pro bartenders like to say bitters is like the salt and pepper of the cocktail – and something’s missing when you leave it out.
Step Two – Fruit
Dice your fruit into small pieces. A trick for easily peeling mangoes is to cut large pieces around the core, then run a glass between the flesh and the peel. It will slide right off!
To make short work of a fresh pineapple, consider investing in a pineapple corer/slicer. True, it is a kitchen gadget with use that’s limited to just one job, but it doesn’t take up much space and it’s definitely handy to have around.
Distribute the fruit evenly between your popsicle molds. If you’re working with smaller molds, you may have some fruit juice mixture leftover (not the worst problem to have, if you ask me!).
While fresh fruit is always optimal, if pineapples or mangoes aren’t available in your area, you can use canned instead. You can also use the syrup or juice from the can as your fruit nectar.
Step Three – Freeze
Fill the molds with your boozy base and freeze for at least 4-6 hours.
This is the hardest part of the process, unless you are somehow a master of patience. Resist the urge to open the freezer and check on them – you’ll only make it take longer!
If, like me, you are really terrible at being patient, you can fill just 9 molds and leave the last bit of punch for yourself, to sip while you wait.
Step Four – Enjoy!
The best way to enjoy these frozen pops is in front of a fan, with your eyes closed and a recording of the sound of waves crashing in the background. But sharing them around the dinner table, or on the back patio, or at a party will work just fine, too.
Are you drooling over these tasty treats yet? Go ahead, give them a go – make a batch today.
For another boozy frozen dessert, check out our recipe for mango tequila sorbet.
What is your favorite flavor to use in a punch or pop-tail? Let us know in the comments!
Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Kendall Vanderslice
Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.