One of the
many multifarious advantages of having a Wife is that they periodically buy you things that you were previously unaware that you could not live without. Being married for twenty-seven years now, this advantage has come into play for me too many times to count. The latest exemplar occurred just a few weeks ago. It reconfirms my basic assertion that when it comes to wives, if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.
In this case, the PeguWife, who wishes I were a constant (instead of annual) Tiki-phile, handed me a box that was carefully calibrated to make her wish come true. You see, I’m a winter Tiki guy. I unleash the exotic rum mojo when it is cold… and icy… and miserable. This time of year, in the heat of the Summer I prefer lighter, more refreshing stuff.
But just when I thought I was out, she drags me back in….
Tovolo, leading enablers of ice-nerds everywhere, has introduced this spiffy little set of four Tiki popsicle molds. Used as directed, they are a cute little set of popsicle molds. Add a little cocktail science, and they are magic.
Since the dawn of time, popsicles (In the lower-case, sorry dudes, no one distinguishes your trademark in the real consumer world sense) have had smooth sides. The missle-shaped design was demanded by the fact that you couldn’t get your frozen sugar water out of the rigid mold otherwise. But these Tovolos are actually individual, flexible, rubbery molds that hang in a hard plastic rack in your fridge (another trademark lost to time). Once frozen, the flexible mold peels off of the pop, and voila, you get the ultra-cool, sculptural ice pops you see in the picture atop this post. Each of the four pops in the set are of a different design, and Tovolo also makes sets depicting robots, dinosaurs, penguins, swords, monsters, and even giant thumbs to suck on.
These molds work great for basic popsicles and are nearly fool-proof, just freeze everything hard and they pop right off with a tug. Never one to leave well enough alone, I of course had to immediately start trying drink concoctions to go into them. Alcohol doesn’t freeze very cooperatively, of course. But with a little work, I’ve got some tips to help you bring your new Tiki or penguin pops to their full potential.
First, use low alcohol drinks. You must give up right away on freezing a Manhattan into the shape of a sword. That strong a drink would never freeze.
And besides, sucking on a Manhattan popsicle would just be downright undignified… for both you and the Manhattan.
Second, blender drinks work especially well. I’m talking about smoothie consistency here, rather than the flash-blended style I usually use. The tiny flecks of ice and copious very cold water in these recipes will freeze quickly. As a bonus, in doing so they form a matrix that traps the air, as well as the booze, in the cocktail and keeps them evenly distributed throughout the pop. Without this quick-freeze matrix, the air bubbles will concentrate in a cloudy ball in the middle of the pop, and the booze will concentrate toward the base of the stick. With this matrix, you get an ice pop that is almost fluffy—a real bonus.
Third, when you freeze a slurry drink like this in these molds, you have to be careful when unmolding. The resulting pop is considerably less sturdy than a solid one. You need to keep a light pressure on the top of the pop (bottom of the mold) as you peel it carefully off, or the very end will snap off. Decapitated Tikis are creepy, and a cocktail pop that’s missing a third is just sad.
The pop atop this post, and its three mates, were made from a single batch of one of my favorite Tiki drinks, which I used completely unaltered. I just renamed the Missionary’s Downfall, and I’ll reprint the recipe here to get you started with your molds. You know, the ones you’ve already ordered from Amazon while reading this post… Right?
MISSIONARY AT THE STAKE
- 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz. apricot brandy
- 1 oz. honey mix
- 1 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse Silver or other white rum
- 1 1/2 oz fresh pineapple juice
- 10-20 mint leaves
- 6 oz. small or crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until all mint and ice are completely pulverized. Pour into ice pop molds to just below full, leaving space for displacement from the stick. Place in freezer for 4-6 hours. Enjoy leftover drink immediately to cushion the blow of the long wait.