watermelon mint tequila pops with lime and sea salt

poplikeyIt’s been a few days since my last post; seemingly enough time for the weather to change from warmth and sunshine to grey skies and rain. For the first time in over three months, I pulled my crinkled jeans out from underneath a pile of t-shirts and swapped black Havaianas for mint-green Chucks to stop my toes from getting wet.  Sad, really. Well… for those of us who love the long nights and blue skies of Summer. 

popstickSo… what to post about, as I sit here on the couch wrapped in a blanket? Well, somewhat inappropriately, I felt like making today’s post about one of my favourite Summer treats: icy-poles (as we Australians call them; also known as ice pops or ice lollies for those in the Northern Hemisphere). As my mother will verify, cold weather means absolutely nothing to me when it comes to the consumption of iced treats. I’ve eaten Deep South ice-cream at -6 degrees C (-21 degrees f) in a beanie and gloves on New Zealand’s South Island, and it was totally worth it. Not only because Deep South makes some of the creamiest, most delicious ice-cream I’ve ever tasted, but also (wait for it) when you eat ice-cream at minus temperatures it doesn’t melt.

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Now, that might seem like an obvious statement to some of you, particularly if you live in a cold climate. But for me, it was an absolute epiphany. I enjoyed every last bite of that darn delicious ice-cream whilst staring up at the ridiculously beautiful Fox Glacier. I crunched the last remnants of cone and not a single drop of liquid ended up on my thermal gloves. Awesome, in every sense of the word.

Anyway, that’s enough reminiscing for one night. Back to the recipe at hand: sweet watermelon pops spiked with aromatic mint, sour lime and Tequila. I initially found this recipe over at Cindy’s blog, Hungry Girl por Vida, when I was searching for a boozy treat to serve at Aaron’s Mexican-themed birthday party last Summer (only two months ago, but… Summer is gone. Me sad). I soured the recipe up a bit with extra lime, then served the frozen pops after tacos, followed by shots of Jose Cuervo Reposado, salt and lime wedges.

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The pops were good. Very good… sweet, refreshing, tart and cold. But you know what? As I’ve been typing up this recipe, I had another epiphany (rolling them out tonight, people). Why not serve the actual ice pops with typical Tequila accompaniments: salt and lime wedges? So, wrapped up in my blanket, I tried the combination tonight with a Tequila shot. So good. The extra lime juice immediately freezes to become a sour, aromatic layer around the sweet ice pop, whilst the sea salt flakes embed themselves into the lime… you get little crunchy bursts of saltiness that pop with each bite.

saltteqmont

I’d definitely recommend this recipe for a lick of sweet, fragrant Summertime, regardless of the time of year. I’m still sucking on my popsicle stick as I type; my cold reddened fingers lingering with frozen moments just-passed. Maybe Summer will stay just a few moments longer. Just maybe.

pileofpops

Watermelon Mint Tequila Pops with Lime and Sea Salt

Makes roughly 12 pops (depending upon how large your molds are)

  • 1/4 cup (60mL) water
  • 1/4 cup (55g) white caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, torn coarsely
  • 4 cups watermelon, cubed
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 1/3 cup Tequila (blanco or aged reposado, I used the latter as it has a more mellow flavour)
  • optional: flaked sea salt and extra wedges of lime, to serve

Combine the water, sugar and mint in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow to boil, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. When there are no further sugar granules in the mixture, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, allowing the mint to steep in the sugar syrup for a minimum of 30 minutes (I left mine for 1 hour, which I’d recommend if you can spare the time). Strain your mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl or jar, pressing down on the mint leaves to remove as much flavour as possible. Set aside.

meloncut

Now for your watermelon. In a blender or food processor, puree the watermelon in batches. Add in your lime juice, then strain through a sieve to remove any large chunks of watermelon or stray seeds. Add in the Tequila and mint syrup, stirring well to ensure that everything is well distributed. Taste, then add in some extra lime or Tequila as desired.

melonlime

Divide your mixture between as many popsicle molds as you like (I made one massive one in a takeaway container, then mashed it up to make granita. Divine!). Freeze the mixture in the popsicle molds for about 30 minutes, then add in the pop sticks (push half of the stick into the centre of your ice pop… if it doesn’t stand up straight, wait a little longer then try again). Continue to freeze for 24 hours (or at the very least, 12, if you can’t wait) before eating.

servsug

To make these even more adult-friendly, serve the pops with extra wedges of lime and a little bowl of sea salt. Squeeze, dip, then slurp… like a deliciously icy Tequila shot. Yum.

*This post is in no way affiliated with Jose Cuervo or any other brand of Tequila. I just bought the bottle above because 1) I’ve tried it before, and it’s delicious; 2) it was free of slippery little plump agave worms. Opinions stated are entirely my own.

popscontainer

Notes:

  • To make these pops child-friendly, omit one lime and all of the Tequila. Your pops will probably freeze faster this way, as the alcohol (40% or 80 proof) in Tequila actually requires a temperature of about -34.44 degrees C (-30 degrees f) to freeze. Quite impractical, really… but delicious enough for me not to care.
  • If you’re not keen on cane sugar, I imagine that agave syrup would work wonderfully in this recipe (as it echoes the blue agave in the Tequila). You can also try 1/4 tsp stevia (powdered or liquid) as a substitute but you may have problems getting your mint syrup to the right consistency. Your finished pops will also be slightly ‘icier’ due to a higher ratio of water to sugar.
  • If you’ve ever wondered how to efficiently eat a watermelon, watch this video by Tom Willett. Your life will never be the same.
  • These pops will keep in the freezer for weeks. I’ve got a couple left from my husband’s birthday (in February) in the freezer and they taste just as gorgeous as ever (yes, I ate two whilst writing this blog post).
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54 responses

  1. just the subject heading had me drooling. I love watermelon, I am tequila’s biyach and I have a pop maker = I’m so making this. First chance! awesome post

    • Haha, I love you Azita! Awesome, so glad that you now have another tequila recipe up your sleeve!! It’s a really yummy combination. So easy, and so worth it. In fact, wanna come over and we can get tequila smashed together? ;)

      • :) I do wanna!! and how! (wish food blogging came with a pot of gold coins so that we could all visit and meet and share our food and make merry to the max)

      • Aw, agreed!!!! How happy the blogging community would be if we could do just that (we can only dream… and perhaps buy some lottery tickets in the meantime!). Sending you a hug dear Azita! x

    • Thanks Colleen. The flavour combination works beautifully with just the watermelon, lime and mint, so I’d definitely encourage you to try it without the tequila when Summer rolls around! They’re definitely refreshing. I can imagine that the recipe would work well with agave or stevia in place of the caster sugar, too :) x

  2. The first time I came across the combination of watermelon and mint … was at a café in Chicago, every morning … they had a big beautiful display bowl of it .. as a salad, back home I put it on our breakfast menu and it became so popular. Love the combination of lime, mint and watermelon. This I will do when the summer has arrived … you photos are so tempting and watering. Beautiful and tempting post.

    • Thanks beautiful Viveka. How are you?? I’ve been thinking of you! And yes, I’ve also eaten watermelon salad plenty of times! I actually bought some extra ingredients to make salad with the other half of the watermelon I bought… I usually add plenty of mint, goat’s cheese, thinly sliced red onion and occasionally some toasted almonds or crushed, toasted pistachios. What do you add? It’s an unusual but delicious way to eat watermelon :) Hugs xx

  3. Would never have thought of mint with watermelon, especially as I’m not keen on the latter. Must try it during summer, if that ever happens. I’ve always preferred Galia or Honeydew with ground ginger. Anyway, I do love ice lollies.

    • I never used to like watermelon either Johnny…. mostly because it’s such a sweet and water-filled fruit (I like my fruit to have a little more substance! Haha). It works really well in this recipe though. I’d definitely encourage you to try it with mint and lime – the acidity of the lime and the fragrant, savoury-but-sweet herbal notes of the mint round out the watermelon beautifully. It’s a bit like eating papaya with a squeeze of lime juice; it brings out the flavour. I love the idea of honeydew with ground ginger, I’ve never tried that before! Thanks for the tip!

    • I’m so glad that you’ll get to try this recipe in warm weather! It keeps getting more miserable over here… it rained again today and all I wanted to do was curl up under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate (which I did… whilst watching ‘Game of Thrones’… I’m completely addicted to that show). Glad that you’re another Tequila lover. Just a splash makes this a decidedly grown-up treat! :)

      • I did the same thing, Game of Thrones is totally addicting and I stop everything to watch it every Sunday night. Yes huge fan of tequila and your pops sound like something I could easily become obsessed with.

  4. I am totally with you – it’s never NOT the right weather for ice cream/treats :) And what could be better than an icy treat with BOOZE in it?! i love it!

    • Hahaha YES! Ahu you are a woman after my own heart!! I love boozy desserts, especially deliciously cold treats like affogato (with Frangelico… my favourite!) and these pops. Cocktail and dessert in one, yum! x

    • Aw Barb, Winter seems to last forever, doesn’t it? Soon you’ll be enjoying sunny days, cocktails and iced lollies in the sunshine! I’d definitely recommend making the non-alcoholic version for your ponytails too. I tried it without the Tequila and it was still delicious, so refreshing… perfect for the change of season! x

    • Thanks beautiful Anna! They’re definitely gorgeous… refreshing, sweet and decidedly adult with the Tequila! By the way, I just checked out your recipe for homemade limoncello (with help from Greg, of course. Love his liqueur recipes… did you see the new praline version today?!). I definitely need to try it, as I reckon I’d save myself a bucketload on buying specialty liqueurs! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment x

      • I used Jose Cuervo reposado, which is aged and consequentially much smoother and more subtle than the clear blanco or silver varieties of tequila. However, if you’ve already tried a reposado and disliked it, trying Jose probably won’t make much difference.

        The tequila in this recipe can be omitted without losing the refreshing nature of the iced treat… or you can substitute sotol or vodka. Oh, and if you’re a spirit nerd like me (!) technically sotol isn’t a variety of tequila… it’s made from a fermented succulent plant rather than blue agave, so I guess we could think of it as a ‘cousin’! As the flavour profile is slightly different to all varieties of tequila (it’s more herbaceous and grassy rather than in-your-face peppery) you probably couldn’t find a similar tequila product (unfortunately). Hope this helps!

      • I laughed out loud when I read your reply. As I wrote asking about tequila I struggled with if I should explain that sotol is not tequila and decided not too since you might not care about all that. Nice to meet some one who already knows sotol is different. Most people’s eyes glaze over when I tell them :)

      • Haha, aw yay! I was also wondering whether I was putting in too much information but then I just went for it… I guess I figured that more info was better than not enough! Spirit nerds of the world unite ;) Haha, I’ll feel safe asking you questions about liqueurs from now on! x

    • Danny! So, so nice to hear from you! Thanks for the feedback… I definitely think that they’d be perfect for the heat and humidity of Singapore. Hopefully it’s also made of ingredients that can be easily sourced in your hometown..? I know that there have been a few tricky ingredients in recipes that I’ve posted, which I apologise for. Oh, and I also think that this recipe would be amazing with different variations such as mango, mint and rum, pureed banana with Malibu and lime, or raspberry, basil and vodka. I’m going to try a few more versions over the next few weeks and I’ll post them up if they work well!

      • Thank you very much for the tips Laura. It’s been a really busy month at work. Finally taking a breather to head back to my kitchen for a while. Your recipe is very versatile. I am sure all your suggestions will work well. I will have to find out what’s available over here and let you know the version I may be creating :) keep cooking and keep creating. I’ll always be looking forward to your posts :)

      • Ah really? Sorry to hear you’ve been so busy Danny. Work’s been terrible for me at the moment too… I always get home from work, sit for a couple of minutes and then retreat into the kitchen to cook away my troubles! Hope that you enjoy your time back in the kitchen. I’ve definitely missed your posts, can’t wait to see what you cook up next! :)

  5. Now, if you are looking for a low-fat (actually zero-fat) and fun treat, you couldn’t do any better than these gorgeous pops! Nice. Being on the opposite end of the planet and heading into summer (watermelon is plentiful), we are trying to burn off those extra few winter pounds. This will be just the ticket.

    • Thanks my dear! Yep, you are completely right… they’re zero fat! There’s a little bit of carbohydrate but hey, with activity it’ll burn off (plus, it’s fruit, right? Totally healthy!) Thanks so much for the beautiful words. I hope you have fun during the last days of Winter x

    • It’s definitely an awesome combination. Refreshment and cocktail treat all-in-one! Thanks for taking the time to comment lovely. Hope that Summer comes to you soon! x

  6. Oh, you’re so clever! Why have I never thought about it like this before…of course icecream doesn’t melt while you are in minus temperatures! Makes the perfect conditions for eating icecream then doesn’t it? I believe it’s never too cold for icecream. Thanks for sharing, Laura. I love reading your posts! xo

  7. This is such an exciting recipe. I have tried watermelon soaked in vodka earlier and enjoyed it. i am definitely going to try these Popsicles soon.

    • Hi Preveena! Thanks so much for the comment. The popsicles are definitely delicious… like watermelon with vodka but even better, in my opinion! Love your blog also. I didn’t have time to properly explore your posts today but I love the photographs… I’m looking forward to checking out some of your ‘experiments’! x

      • That would be wonderful! You’ll definitely see me pop up on your blog also, I was just reading your coconut fish recipe… it looks so delicious (I left you a comment, but I am so curious as to what a sherry fish is! Googling it now!) xo

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