Photo | Natural Light
My mother never claimed to be a cook. The second born of six, she was in charge of starching and ironing her dad’s work shirts; her elder sister was the one who mastered broiling pork chops. When my sister and I were little, Momma didn’t even make sweet tea from scratch. She used the powdered Lipton kind that you scoop out of a tub and mix with cold water.
But in the summertime, she branched out, freezing the lemon-flavored tea into plastic molds and creating sweet tea popsicles. I used to savor these little luxuries during the long afternoons I spent reading books on how to perform magic tricks and fantasizing about which of the “3 Ninjas” would make a good boyfriend.
As an adult, I don’t think popsicles (or the child actors in the “3 Ninjas”) have the same appeal. Popsicles are just frozen sugar water. Where is the protein, the calcium, the fiber!? But if you bump up their novelty factor by adding something ridiculous like adaptogens or oh, I don’t know, alcohol, then those empty calories start to sound a little more worthwhile to me.
Luckily, the same brands that brought us hard seltzer and high gravity seltzer are at it again, this time packing their boozy, low-cal concoctions into Fla-Vor-Ice-style freezer pops. Big Alcohol really does think of everything! Look for these showing up at your local grocery store any day now; they’ll be a fun and unexpected way to stock your boat cooler this summer.
Truly’s new Truly Lemonade Freeze Pops, available later this month, come in a 12-pack of original lemonade, mango lemonade and strawberry lemonade flavors. (Black cherry lemonade fans, sorry, but you’ve been left out.) Each one has 80 calories and clocks in at 5 percent ABV, much like the brand’s hard seltzer counterparts.
Natural Light has also turned its fruity Naturdays beers into boozy ice pops. Available in a 12-pack, the Naturdays Frozen Icicles come in strawberry lemonade and pineapple lemonade flavors. They clock in at a whopping 8 percent ABV each.
Next week, Bud Light Seltzer Retro Summer Frozen Icicles will hit shelves. The 12-pack includes three flavors that will remind you of childhood: cherry limeade (sweet and tart with cherry, fruit punch and lime), blue raspberry (tart raspberry and sweet blue snow cone) and “summer ice” (sweet cherry, lemon and blueberry combine to resemble a patriotic Firecracker pop). Each of the 2-ounce pops (like their corresponding, limited-edition 12-ounce hard seltzers) is 5 percent ABV, 100 calories and contains less than 1 gram of sugar.
For the seltzer and fruity beer weary, there are boozy icicles available in more traditional cocktail flavors. Daily’s Poptails (available at Greer’s and Target) are alcohol-infused pops in watermelon, green apple and strawberry flavors. They are 90 calories each and 6.8 percent ABV. Rita’s (aka Bud Light’s) Freeze-A-Rita Frozen Margarita Icicles came out at Walmart last summer, offering Lime-A-Ritas and Straw-Ber-Ritas in convenient, frozen sleeves. They are 8 percent ABV and only 55 calories each.
Slim Chillers (available at Costco and Sam’s Club) come in all kinds of styles and are 8 percent ABV and 100 calories each. There are Wine Freezers (“orangeberry” mimosa, blackberry-pomegranate sangria, strawberry-grapefruit Rossini and peach-mango Bellini), vodka-based Skinny Freezers (pear lemon drop, lemon drop, Cosmopolitan, blueberry citrus, raspberry lemonade, watermelon lemonade, Appletini and guavaberry) and tropical, rum-based Skinny Threezers (orange-vanilla cream, strawberry colada, boysenberry-pomegranate-vanilla cream, dragonfruit-honeydew-vanilla cream, pineapple-tangerine-coconut cream and passionfruit-blueberry-vanilla cream).
These all sound delicious, but because I’m currently eight months pregnant, I’m postponing my boozy popsicle consumption for the time being and trying to enjoy the simple, empty pleasure of old-fashioned freezer pops. I dug some plastic molds out of a kitchen cabinet the other night and texted my mom and sister: “Momma, remember when you used to make us popsicles out of sweet tea? Did you use powdered Lipton? lol”
My sister chimed in: “Yes, I think so! We should make some for the kids. They would love them.”
“OK!” my mom replied. “I’ll make y’all some this week :)”
Alyson Sheppard is Lagniappe’s resident hangover specialist. Find her on Twitter: @amshep.
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