My kids are on a summer swim team. The good news is all their practices are indoors. The bad news is that all their practices are indoors. Have you ever sat poolside for 90 minutes in the heat of summer? One pool is at the local college and is over 100 years old. Sounds charming, right? It is below ground on one side and certainly when the windows were installed on the opposite side originally they were not giving thought to dutiful moms sitting poolside while their tots swim, hair frizzing mercilessly, perspiration gradually beading along their hairlines giving way to what begins to appear like a hormonal midlife hot flash in massive proportion draining down faces often taking mascara with it.
Saturdays begin at 6 a.m. by pitching a shade canopy tent for a modicum of protection from the raging sun. In the dawn of the early morning hints are present about what the day will bring. When too warm for even the lightest of jackets at 6, one can surely anticipate blistering heat by 9 with several applications of sunscreen so the swimmers, and parents, don’t emerge at the end of the meet in the early afternoon looking like freshly boiled lobsters.
Now if you are taking from this that I am lamenting being a swim team Mom, it’s just the opposite. I love the meets and to watch all the kids on the team grow each summer and blossom as swimmers and people. What I don’t love is how I feel when we are done; usually needing a nap from being saturated by summer heat for 8 hours. No matter how much water I drink I don’t feel refreshed. The kids power sports drinks to recover from the racing and the heat.
After our last swim meet it struck me how delicious a simple popsicle would taste. Nothing with dairy in it, nothing with booze (though I will admit that is a fun way to have a cocktail on a sultry summer’s ever) or chunks of fruit. Though I don’t drink sports drinks myself outside of an extreme workout situation, the idea of a sports drink popsicle sounded like salvation. Offering more than water, with a bit of sweetness and those electrolytes that washed down my face with my make-up by mid-morning. It seemed like a great post-swim alternative for the kids too.
Just because something is utilitarian in purpose does not mean it needs to be so in appearance. With July 4th looming large I pulled out our Rocket Popsicles molds and served up my best red, white and blue. Making striped or layered popsicles is super easy though it takes a bit of time to ensure each layer is solid before pouring the next layer. There is no right or wrong way to make the layers. I prefer asymmetry so like all the layers to be unpredictable in width. If you like uniformity, all layers can be the same.
The first time I sampled a finished popsicle I was in heaven. It was cool and completely refreshing. Not overly sweet as some popsicles made with a sweetened base or juice can be (some sugary popsicles actually make me thirsty). As I sucked on them trying to extract the flavor I was brought back to my childhood, sucking on traditional grape, orange or lime popsicles to try to get the juice out of them and still leaving the icy shape. Though I know my kids would love these they aren’t getting much of a shot at them! I’ve eaten one after gardening, after our last swim meet and after a long grilling session which left me feeling I’d vacationed inside a molten volcano. With July 4th being a traditional outdoor day, often in beastly heat, these seemed a great addition to the festivities and to keep everyone cool!
These rocket popsicles are as cute in appearance as they are refreshing to eat. Any sports drink brands may be used. Though these are made targeting a patriotic pop, any colors may be used. Instead of using the bottom and attached sticks that come with most rocket shaped molds, traditional wooden sticks are used to allow the layering. Instructions for inserting the sticks are included in the recipe.
This recipe based on using Tovolo Rocket Pop molds with 6 molds. Adjust if using a different mold or making more than 6.
- 2 cups total Red, White and Blue Sports Drink or Juice (I used blue=Gatorade Fierce Blue Cherry, white=Gatorade Frost Glacier Cherry and red=Gatorade Fruit Punch which are all Gatorade Thirst Quencher varieties)*
- Rocket Popsicle Molds (I used Tovolo)
- Wooden Popsicle sticks
- Pour some of the sports drink you are using into each popsicle mold for the first layer; using a funnel for pouring into the molds works well. Place in the freezer to allow it to fully freeze (usually around 20 minutes but verify before pouring the next layer). Continue making layers and freezing the popsicles until the molds are slightly under halfway full.
- Tear a piece of foil to fit fully over the top of each mold. Pour the next layer of sports drink in one mold. Tightly wrap a piece of foil over the top of that mold and using a paring knife, make a small slit to insert the popsicle stick (don’t make it larger than the stick or it will not hold the stick upright to freeze in the proper position). Insert the popsicle stick. Do this with all of the remaining molds until they all have sticks inserted. Freeze until fully frozen.
- Continue to add layers, freezing in between, until the molds are full and frozen. To release the popsicles run the outside of the mold briefly under hot water until pulling on the stick releases the popsicle.
*Determine the volume of the rocket popsicle molds you are using for exact volume required.