Popsicles have moved from evoking carefree childhood summer days to making cool cocktail accents.
Popsicles and paletas, the Spanish translation, by which the handheld frozen treats are sometimes called in U.S. border states like Texas, are a summertime staple.
Dessert shops, candy stores, storefronts dedicated solely to popsicles, and, if you’re lucky enough to live in the right neighborhood, paleteros, men who ride large tricycles outfitted with front or rear-sitting freezers stocked with flavored paletas, dole out popsicles to customers wanting a flavorful cooldown. Eager kids begging for the summer treat goods drive a lot of the business.
As I recently found out, popsicles make for a great ice substitute when your child is accidentally whacked across the face with a pool noodle water sprayer at an end-of-the-school-year pool party.
Some adults, like myself, have a soft spot for popsicles. Not only do popsicles evoke bygone unsupervised, carefree summer days chasing down the ice cream truck or paletero, but they also show us how creativity that popsicles allow. Have you ever had a pico de gallo-flavored paleta? Holy smokes, it’s spicy and chilly and complex with every lick and nibble.
Cocktail bars and boutique hotels have been rolling out beverage programs of “poptails,” for a few years now. The retro-inspired Texican Court just outside Dallas premiered their summer poptails over Memorial Day weekend. The sweet (and sometimes spicy) spiked treats will be available through the Labor Day, but if you can’t make it to the Texican Court or another Valencia Hotel Group property, you can make them at home.
Mexican Candy Poptail
1¾ ounces silver tequila
½ ounce watermelon liquor
2 ounces Sprite (or preferred lemon-lime soda)
3 dashes hot sauce
1 mango or lime popsicle
Tajín (to rim cocktail glass)
Lime wedge, for garnish
Add tequila, watermelon liquor, and sprite in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into Tajín-rimmed ice-filled glass. Add hot sauce. Add popsicle and garnish with lime wedge.
Pineapple Breeze Poptail
1 ounce Midori
1¾ ounces Malibu Coconut Rum
2 ounces pineapple juice
1 pineapple popsicle
Basil leaves, for garnish
Luxardo cherries, for garnish
Add Midori then ice to a glass. Add rum and pineapple juice into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the glass with Midori. Add popsicle and garnish with Basil and Luxardo cherries.
Click on the image above to view the slideshow.
Mellow Yellow Poptail
1¾ ounces cucumber-mint vodka
3 ounces lemonade
1 lemon popsicle
Sliced cucumber, for garnish
Pineapple wedge, for garnish
Add cucumber-mint vodka and lemonade into a cocktail shaker with Ice. Shake and strain into glass. Add popsicle and garnish with sliced cucumber and pineapple wedge.
For more information on Texican Court, visit the hotel’s website.
Photography: Courtesy Texican Court/Valencia Hotel Group