Mango Hibiscus Margarita Popsicle
Growing up in Chicago, in the summertime, meant the Paleta vendor would be ringing the bells of his cart, selling fruity ice cream bars and popsicles or fresh cut fruit sprinkled with salt and Chamoy; a spicy, sour and sweet concoction that was strangely addicting. It was summer’s answer to soaring temperatures and a reprieve from playing in the busted fire hydrant makeshift splash pad. My twin and I would beg my mom to buy us a paleta and she would grab a cone of the spicy cut fruit… often times exchanging bites from each other and combining all the fruit, spice and ice together. The taste was foreign to us yet strangely familiar.
It was only when I got older and started getting curious about food that I learned how intersectional Mexican food is to Middle Eastern food, and how both Middle Eastern Food and Latin flavors play off of Japanese flavors and so on. The worlds are not that far apart, if you think about it: Sesame, chile, citrus, fermented fruits, tamarind… these are all flavors familiar to most ethnic families and mine is no exception. Enter Chamoy - a thick and pasty, sweet and spicy, sour condiment made from fermented fruit. It’s used in so many ways. Similarly, Amba is a Middle Eastern style fermented, pickled, sweet and spicy mango condiment. Umeboshi? A fermented Japanese plum that is super sour and salty. It’s all the same, but different.
Not to stray too far off topic here. The point I’m getting to is that chances are, if you grew up in an ethnic household, the flavors of this popsicle will surprise you in a delightful way. They’ll be new, but strangely familiar. Also…. there’s booze, soooo.
Out of nostalgia and desperation to find some way to cool off in the dessert, I got creative. Can you call this a Chamoyada? Paleta? Popsicle? Who cares what you call it… It’s boozy, it’s fruity and it’s frozen. Summer’s answer to soaring temperatures and fun times. So let’s have fun.
I had to get creative with this recipe because I didn’t have Chamoy on hand and I didn’t necessarily know exactly what kind of popsicle I wanted to make until I raided my pantry. I wondered if I could create those Chamoy flavors using what I had and the experimenting led me to this popsicle. I had hibiscus flowers, a mango, some limes and tamarind paste. That’s when I realized my idea would work! It was so quick and much easier than I thought.
Step 1 - Make the Hibiscus Chamoy Mix
Making the “Chamoy” flavor without letting it over power the popsicle is the hard part. Luckily, I’ve already done that for you. It’s as easy as following the recipe, simmering the mixture for about 10 minutes and letting it cool before dropping it into your popsicle molds. You can find dried and edible hibiscus flowers, also known as Jamaica, at most Mexican super markets, middle eastern markets or specialty grocers.
Tamarind paste is another ingredient you’ll need beforehand. I use tamarind in all kinds of recipes so you may want to pick up a jar for future use! My favorite brand is Aunt Patty’s Organic Tamarind, which you can find here. It’s organic and great for almost any diet. (no promo here, just a fan)
The only tip I have in this segment is to not mix this hibiscus water into the mango margarita mix. Keep them separate so you can control how much of tangy sour mix you’d like to add to your popsicles. Also, while the hibiscus mix is simmering you can prep the rest of the recipe and you’ll be done in about 15 minutes total.
Scroll to the bottom for recipe and video How-To!
Step 2 - Make the Mango Margarita Mix
Do you have an immersion blender? I love immersion blenders when I want a really smooth, pureed consistency. It was perfect to get the mango totally pureed without losing the richness of the fruit. If you don’t have one, just use a regular blender or food processor. You can leave mango chunks in the mix or not, the choice is yours. Get creative.
To add tequila or to skip it? If you want this recipe alcohol free, feel free to leave it out… but why would you? I kid. Adding the soda is also where you can get creative. I used a citrus sparkling water but feel free to use whatever flavor you’d like.
Step 3 - Pour into molds and freeze
Making popsicles can either become super annoying really fast or such a snap you wonder why you don’t have a freezer full of frozen treats. I realized the secret: INVEST IN SILICONE MOLDS! Yes, using silicone molds is the answer. The popsicles keep their shape, freeze perfectly and slide right out when you are ready to serve or enjoy. I wanted the classic popsicle shape so I picked these up and I love them.
IMPORTANT FREEZING TIPS
For easier handling, line the popsicle mold with a shallow tray or small baking sheet. This will make transporting your filled molds to the freezer much easier.
When filling these molds with the liquid mixture, it’s important not to fill them to the top. When liquid freezes, it expands. You don’t want swollen popsicles or they will become hard to handle. You also don’t want to fill them to the very top so your popsicle stick has room for a handle.
Do not add more alcohol then what is listed in the recipe. Sounds like a solid idea right? Well, if you add too much liquor, you’ll end up with slushies that never fully freeze. It’s cool if that’s what you are going for but these popsicles have plenty of tequila in them to satisfy and they still freeze solid so it’s a win win.
Let’s make boozy popsicles!
Mango Hibiscus Margarita Pops
Prep – 20 Min Inactive Time – 24 Hours
Serves – 10
Print Recipe Here
¼ C dried hibiscus flowers (aka jamaica)
1 C still water
2 Tbs Agave syrup
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 lime, juiced
¼ tsp chili powder + more for garnish
pinch cayenne (optional)
1 mango, cut and pureed
10oz sparkling water
½ cup tequila
1 tbs Cointreau
Coarse sea salt
Step 1 - Mix Hibiscus flowers, still water, agave, tamarind, lime juice chili, and cayenne in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat. Let it come to a simmer and simmer on low for 10 min. Remove and cool or chill at least 10 min or until ready to use.
Step 2 – Puree mango and set aside. In a large container with a spout and sparkling water and mango and liquor and gently mix until combined.
Step 3 – Lay the empty popsicle mold onto a small shallow pan or tray for easy storage in the freezer. Sprinkle coarse sea salt into each popsicle mold. Pour in a small amount of the hibiscus mix into the bottom of each mold, being careful to reserve enough for all ten molds. Pour Tequila/mango mix into each mold. Cover and place popsicle sticks into slots. Freeze 24 hours.
Remove from molds and dip tops of popsicles with extra chili as a garnish, if you’d like.