A few years ago, I went to a summer barbecue party at a friend’s house. She served some cute frozen watermelon pops that had been marinated in tequila. I took a mental note; tequila’s not really my thing, but I thought that I could play with the idea and make it my own. With the warmer months approaching, the pops have been on my mind. Watermelon and mint is one of my favorite flavor combinations (Watermelon Feta Salad with Mint, anyone?), so I decided to try soaking the pops in a mojito-style cocktail mixture. Voila! These Watermelon Mojito Pops were born.
A “virgin” version of this recipe without alcohol for kids or others who are avoiding alcohol appears below. This is a simple treat that is just perfect for the warmer months. Enjoy!
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- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 lbs. triangular seedless watermelon slices, rinds removed (slicing instructions below)
- 1 cup white rum
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp mint extract (or more to taste)
- Fresh mint and crushed ice for garnish (optional)
You will also need
- small pan, whisk, mixing bowl, 9x13 inch dish, wooden popsicle sticks, baking sheet, nonstick foil or baking sheet rack
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, till the sugar is dissolved (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. This is your simple syrup. Note: if your watermelon is not very ripe/sweet or you prefer a sweeter pop, you can make your simple syrup with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water.
- To create triangular watermelon slices, choose a small, ripe, seedless watermelon (10-15 lbs). Cut the two tip ends off of the watermelon to flatten them. Stand the watermelon on one flat end so the other flat end is facing upward.
- Slice the watermelon lengthwise to create two long halves of melon.
- Slice each half lengthwise to create four equal quarters of melon.
- Take a quarter and slice it into triangles 1-inch thick.
- Use a small paring knife to cut the rind off of each triangle of melon.
- Weigh the slices till you have about 2 lbs of melon (about 10 triangles). Place the slices into a 9x13 dish in one layer.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the simple syrup, rum, lime juice, and mint extract.
- Pour the mojito mixture over the top of the watermelon slices. Let the fruit soak in the liquid at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Take the melon slices out of the liquid and stick a wooden popsicle stick into the base of each one. I found my popsicle sticks at a local craft store.
- Place the watermelon pops onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least 1 hour.
- Serve pops on a bed of crushed ice to keep them cold. I like to garnish the ice with fresh mint.
To Make "Virgin" Watermelon Mojito Pops
- The easiest way to make these pops non-alcoholic is to soak the watermelon slices in some sort of juice rather than the alcohol mixture. I like white grape juice-- orange will work well, too. The watermelon loses some of its natural sweetness when it freezes, particularly if it's not quite ripe, so a sweet soaking liquid is important. If you'd like a more mojito-like flavor, instead of making the mojito mixture, whisk together 2 cups of Sprite or 7-Up, simple syrup (1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar boiled for 3 minutes till sugar is dissolved, then cooled), 1/4 cup lime juice, and 3/4 tsp of mint extract. Taste the mixture before soaking the melon slices and adjust ingredients according to taste (more lime juice for tartness, mint extract for a pronounced mint flavor, etc.). If you're making these for kids, you may want to stick with the juice version-- the lime and mint adds a more grown-up flavor. Soak the watermelon slices for 20 minutes in the soda mixture, then assemble and freeze the pops as directed above.
- Note: When I first posted this recipe, my recipe plugin did not auto-update correctly, and an older draft of the recipe was published. The correct version is now showing.