In Kerala’s hot and humid summers, popsicles, or ice lollies, as they are also known, were essential. Sip Ups, the packaged tubes of flavored ice, were sometimes sold in the shop outside of school that sold everything from small packets of pickled mango to headbands and notebooks. The most popular flavors were lime, orange, and raspberry. If these flavors weren’t available, a pineapple sip-up would also work.
It was easy to make these at home. My sister Sadia was the popsicle king for the two years that she lived with us. She made sure that we always had Romanza. The flavor of romanza can be strong, but it mellows when frozen. And the red becomes a pleasant shade of pink. One of my childhood memories is standing by the sink on a hot summer day with sticky cold juice running down my hands and trying to stop a popsicle from melting.
Deepa Aunty took over the popsicle duties when my sister went to college. I spent countless summer evenings with Deepa Aunty, licking homemade popsicles. The cherry popsicles made with wild cherries from her backyard were my favorite. They are the best popsicles that I have ever eaten. Not just because my lips turned red like I was wearing lipstick, this is a no-no for a 16-year-old.
When I began blogging at The Malabar Tea Room, I wanted to make the tricolored popsicles that were so popular in the 2000s. After a bit of trial and mistake, I found a lychee-grape-orange flavored popsicle that I liked. It’s a little more difficult, but the final result is so Instagrammable that it makes it worth it. Choose three juices you want, but remember they should have complementary flavors. If the colors are complimentary, you get extra points! Even though it is the freshest, packaged juices are just as good as homemade juice. Fill the mold up 1/3, then freeze it for two hours. Then fill up the second juice 2/3, and freeze again for two more hours. Repeat with the third. You can freeze overnight to get the most beautiful fruit popsicles.
You can make a delicious and filling breakfast using more substantial juice, such as watermelon or a smoothie. Tea-infused popsicles are a new favorite of mine. They’re a step above iced tea during the summer months.
It is light, subtle, and unusual to have a limeade infused with either hibiscus or aqua. The cardamom and rose petals will remain in the popsicle if you freeze the mixture for an hour, then add them. After they are frozen, you will have the most beautiful and translucent popsicles. This will cause the age-old dilemma millions face daily: ‘Are we going to eat this or Instagram it.’