I felt a bit like a mad scientist in my kitchen, measuring liquids, bringing them to their boiling points, waiting for soluble (err - sugar) to dissolve into the water. The result would be much more exciting than your typical high school chemistry experiment, though: in just a day’s time, we’d be enjoying our own boozy popsicles. Yes, that’s right! This past week, I dug right into my copy of Poptails by Erin Nichols. The name says it all: this book is all about that perfect summer adult treat, the frozen cocktail. In cute popsicle form.
I have been reading Erin’s blog, Erin Cooks, for years now, so I know that she a native of my favorite state, Maine. I was not totally shocked, then, when one of the recipes in her book was called “Blueberries for Grown-Up Sal”, based on one of my most favorite books of all time, Blueberries for Sal. Growing up, I devoured all Robert McCloskey books over and over again (Make Way for Ducklings, One Morning in Maine, and Blueberries for Sal are all classics). My mom would even swap in “Shel” for “Sal”, which just made me go wild, imagining myself in the pages of the book, picking blueberries, befriending bears… So yes, obviously I chose this recipe as my first foray into Erin’s book. I just had to! Plus, I am addicted to blueberries.
To make it even more Maine-centric, I decided to use some of my vodka from Maine Distilleries, made from potatoes grown in Fryeburg, a small town located quite close to our lake house. I added a bit of vanilla bean to the vodka after I had heated it, since the recipe called for vanilla vodka. I’m sure Erin would approve.
This little book is adorable, chock-full of very fun boozy popsicle recipes. If you have read Erin’s blog before, you know that she is quite funny and has a great way with words, and that clever sense of humor (and knowledge of pop culture) comes through here in a big way. I am thinking this would be a great gift for a bachelorette party or for a hostess gift this summer, along with a bottle of booze for the poptail of your choice. The book’s small size also makes it perfect for a stocking stuffer gift, if you are the type of person who plans that far ahead. I am not. But I respect those of you who do that sort of thing. I guess I’m too busy eating poptails.
Blueberries for Grown-Up Sal (Shel)
From Poptails by Erin Nichols
1 cup prepared vanilla vodka
½ cup simple syrup
1 cup blueberry puree
Notes: In the beginning of the book, Erin includes information for prepping the alcohol and simple syrup. In order to get the poptails to freeze, we need to get SOME of that alcohol to burn off. For this recipe, I brought 1 ¼ cups vodka to boil, set my timer for 2 minutes, and then poured it out into another container to stop the evaporation of the booze. For the simple syrup, I combined 1 cup of white sugar and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. I stirred until the water dissolved and waited for the mixture to come to a boil. Then, I removed the pan from heat and allowed it to cool to room temperature. The simple syrup lasts for up to a month in the fridge, so it’s nice to have it on hand in case I have the urge to make poptails!
1. Prepare and chill the vanilla vodka of your choice and the simple syrup.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the vanilla vodka, simple syrup and blueberry puree.
3. Carefully divide the mixture equally among your ice pop molds. Do not fill the molds to the top. Leave a small amount of space to allow for expansion when the liquid freezes.
4. Top with ice pop sticks or reusable ice pop tops with attached sticks. Let the pops freeze for at least 24 hours.
5. Unmold the pops and enjoy!