The virgin drinks series is back from an unexpected hiatus! Be honest: as soon as I said I was going to present this series with a regularity, you were like, the hell she is. You are not surprised.
Better late than never though, because I’m serious about this. And no, I’m no longer pregnant, though that was my original inspiration for the series. But (a) that’s no reason not to enjoy non-alcoholic beverages! and (2) I’m breastfeeding. So.
Today, I want to look the two least-beveragey items on the list: pops and granitas. Technically, they’re both solid. You have to kind of bite and crunch on ‘em. But anything you can eat while restricted to a clear liquid diet is a beverage in my book! And, speaking broadly, is also a steaming load of clear liquid insult that belongs up the butt of whatever jerk doctor put you on a restricted diet. With the exception of pops and granitas.
(Aside: Remind me to pitch “Pop and Granita” to this kid’s grandparents. Might be preferable to “Nanner and Pappo” or whatever people call the grandfolks these days.)
What’s brilliant about pops and granitas is that anything from fruit juice to coffee to yogurt can be frozen and double-awesomed for summer. Pops are portable; granitas are classy. Pops belong to front porches and back yards; granitas, to the garden or lanai. It’s like yin and yang, where yin shows up for brunch in a silk dress and matching sun hat to find yang prancing through the sprinklers in its underpants.
First, a little yang: my roundup of amazing-looking pops from all around everywhere. (There’s more on the board than what shows in the widget below, so click through to Pinterest for the full descriptions, links and recipes.)
A granita is essentially just shaved ice with a superiority complex. It’s delicate to enjoy, but stupid-simple to prepare. The basic recipe for a granita is as follows:
- Put liquid in a container.
- Put container in freezer.
- Wait 20 minutes. Open container, scrape ice from edges with fork. Return to freezer.
- Repeat step 3 until container is full of granita. Serve.
Juices and blends of juices make fabulous granitas. So does tea, sweet or unsweet, and black coffee makes for an especially interesting spin. Also, since it doesn’t need to freeze totally solid, you absolutely can add booze to a granita. But you didn’t hear it from me.
Here’s one of my favorites, the ultimate summer cooler:
Sweet Peppermint Granita
Makes 2 servings (approximately half a cup each)
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 peppermint teabags
- In a small saucepan, dissolve sugar in water over medium heat to create simple syrup.
- Steep teabags in syrup for 10–15 minutes.
- Transfer to freezer-safe container and place in freezer. Every 20 minutes, remove from freezer and scrape ice with a fork. When entire thing has turned to ice, serve. Can be stored in the freezer for a couple of weeks, but best to check on it every few days and give it a scrape so you don’t have to hack it apart later.