Sweet Toof: Boozy paletas for hot summer days 

click to enlarge CHRISTOPHER COLLINS
  • Christopher Collins

Paletas (aka delicious popsicles) are one of the few ways to keep cool during the sweltering summer days. If I absolutely have to go into a stuffy kitchen this month, it’s to hurriedly grab a cool treat from my freezer and rush back to the comfort of my living room where the window-unit blows chilly air.
The only thing that could make these sweet pops better is booze, and lots of it. To make them, purchase popsicle molds from any big box or restaurant supply store, or go full DIY with paper cups and popsicle sticks.

For my first attempt, I played around with fresh mangos picked up during a recent Rio Grande Valley visit and decided to keep things simple by creating a paleta version of another local fave, the margarita.
The most taxing part of the recipe is peeling, pureeing and straining the mango mixture, but it’s worth it.

Strawberry Mango Margarita Paletas
Makes 4 large pops

4 ataulfo mangos
1 cup water
5 ounces silver tequila, divided use
1 1/2 ounce triple sec
2 tablespoons simple syrup
1/2 cup strawberries

Peel and dice the mangos. Using a blender, puree the mango flesh until smooth. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth (available at H-E-Bs and restaurant supply stores).

Combine puree with water, 4 ounces tequila, triple sec and simple syrup.

Halve strawberries and add one ounce tequila; macerate using a fork until berries are pulpy. Divide the mixture evenly into your popsicle molds.

Pour mango puree over mixture and freeze for about an hour and a half. Add popsicle sticks or mold caps and freeze for another hour and a half or overnight.

The second recipe, on the other hand, was a bit of a leap after finding ripe tamarind pods. Unless you have a tree readily available, you can pick up tamarind paste at Asian markets around town. I decided to go a bit more Caribbean with the second pop, adding spiced rum and ginger beer to create a tart Dark and Stormy.

Dark and Stormy Tamarind Paletas
Makes 4 large pops

3/4 cup tamarind paste
2 cups water
5 ounces spiced rum
6 ounces ginger beer
2 tablespoons simple syrup

Mix tamarind paste, water, rum, ginger beer and simple syrup and stir until combined. Pour into popsicle molds and chill for three hours or overnight.

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