My new friend Kiera came by the other week to take some photos of the garden and grab some herbs to play around with at home. Little did I know how much she meant business! Her photos are beautiful and I'm so grateful for them. I asked her if she wouldn't mind sharing this recipe for her boozy popsicles that sound really good, especially when you're out in this heat.
Enjoy (and stay hydrated, y'all)!
I’m not much of a drinker, but in the summer I always find myself in the “yay beer” and “yes cocktails!” camp. I love the simplicity of a gin and tonic and was getting hyped at the idea of transforming that into an even cooler treat to get me through the summer heat. Plus this recipe let me play with Lemon Basil for the first time and so I was completely on board.
Simple syrups are an amazing way to save seasonal-anything that’s on its way out. I’ve done rosemary ginger, thyme, lemon thyme, mint, and cranberry ginger. I love the buttery smell that happens in an herbal simple syrup, it smells like an out-of-town-cool-cousin version of your fresh, lively green herb friends that once were. A SS elevates cocktails, cakes, sparkling water aaaaaand popsicles.
I’m solid on the tear-don’t-chop policy when it comes to simple syrups. There are parts of me that believe you’re wasting less on knives and cutting boards, but the rest of me just likes the way my hands smell.
The popsicle mold is pretty important here. When I was shopping for mine, my priorities were something that was easy to clean, could be broken down for storage, and gave me that classic popsicle shape. I would recommend this one from Amazon; all of the cavities can pop out individually and it felt sturdy and ready for fun.
Lemon Basil + Lime Gin Pops
The Infused Simple Syrup
1/4 cup of lemon basil leaves (or regular basil)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Wash and dry your lemon basil leaves. I'm not the keenest on chopping herbs for this recipe. I like to tear them because something in my mind thinks I'm keeping more of its important essence from being absorbed into a cutting board.
Now, you'll need to combine the water and sugar over a medium heat and make that sugar disappear to make your 1:1 simple syrup. Once the sugar is fully dissolved I like to tear the leaves in and let them float around on the heat until it just starts to boil.
Give it about 60 seconds with a low boil. Turn down the heat a notch or two if it feels aggressive. You want a nice rolling boil, not anything angry looking. I'm thinking spa-environment, like an herb jacuzzi.
So after a minute or so, take the syrup off of the heat and let it cool. I usually cover it and let it steep for an hour because I love a strong kick in the mouth of herbs, but if you’re feeling worried you can do 30 minutes. But the hour is worth it, I promise.
The Pop Concotion
2 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup of lime juice (fresh squeezed)
1/3 cup of gin
Pinch of salt
So after your patience has run out or you just remembered it's been forever since you left your syrup, run the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large container with a pour spout (you'll thank yourself later). I use a rubber spatula to smash any remaining moisture.
Add lime juice, gin, and your dash of sea salt to your simple syrup and mix well.
Carefully transfer your liquid into your pop container cavities, leaving a visible clearance from the top (to allow room for mild expansion + your pop stick).
After you've filled everything, allow about an hour in the freezer before inserting your sticks, longer if they still bob around when you put them in. You'll want minimal movement for that A+ stick straightness.
Zest of One Lime
If you're feeling fresh, you can carefully sprinkle lime zest into each of your cavities and fold into the slush using your popsicle stick. Replace lid, insert wooden sticks and put back in the freezer.
Now you play the waiting game. They should be good around 12 hours, but if you put more gin in "accidentally" (like me) you'll want to add some time to that.