Day 298 – National Grape Popsicle Day

I love grape popsicles. Of all the popsicle flavors, grape would be my favorite. I kind of lean towards grape flavored anything. Grape soda. Grape Bubble Yum. Grape Nuts. Grape is my jam (literally). I should clarify that I am not sitting on a mountain of grape flavored products nor am I that Radar O’Reilly guy ordering a grape Nehi at a crowded bar. I just like grape taste so when the option arises, I go grape. When it comes to popsicles, I’ve always leaned that way. Even as a youngster, when we would have a box of them in our freezer, I would hold the white wrappers up to the light to see if the treat inside was a dark color so I would know it was grape. You think they would label them somehow? I’m not sure why I enjoy this particular flavor. It’s just sweet, fruity and refreshing. I just like it.

I learned today that Popsicles are named after someone. I never really thought about the name but it’s actually a combination of the term “Pop” with the term “icicle”. Pop was a guy by the name of Frank Epperson from San Fransisco who invented this treat in 1905 by accident when he left left a cup filled with powdered soda, water, and a stirring stick on his porch overnight. Low temperatures caused the mixture to freeze overnight and in the morning, Frank had created a sensation. He originally called them “Epsicles” but his children who had been calling them “Pop’s ‘sicles” convinced him to change the name. By 1925, Epperson had joined forces with the Joe Lowe Company of New York which helped him distribute the treats nationwide. Today, two billion popsicles are sold annually throughout the world with the most popular flavor being cherry. I think they world is overlooking the joy of grape. (History from CountryLiving.com

I was working for most of the day today and it was one of those days when you were waiting for something refreshing at the end of it. A grape popsicle would be perfect. Then as the day started to grow a little longer, I started thinking about how good a nice cocktail would taste after work. That’s when I had a vision. What if I combined the two? A nice cocktail with a grape popsicle right inside? I immediately thought vodka because that seemed like it would be the best fit. I would need a liquid too to add to the mixture to help combine the flavors and soda water seemed like the obvious choice. I could see it now – my vision coming to life.  So after hours of daydreaming about this drink at work, I decided to make one when I got home and by that time, I needed a drink.

On my way home, I picked up a box of popsicles at Clements. They don’t sell whole boxes of grape popsicles. They come in multi-flavored packs and the one I got was a mixture of grape, cherry and orange. After I grabbed them, I was stopping to pick up some pizza for dinner (that seems to be our Saturday ritual now). Before I went inside to pick up the pie, I looked at my box of popsicles and realized that I only wanted the grape ones. Then I looked into the window of Northend Pizza and saw the crew hard at work in front of the oven. As someone who has been in that spot before, I thought it would be nice if I gave them all the cherry and orange popsicles. So I rooted through the box and pulled out all the grape and then went inside. The clerk at the counter seemed a bit confused by my gesture but grateful. I convinced her I had just purchased them and they were totally fine, I just took out all the grape flavored ones. I hope I was able to bring the crew a moment of relief in the midst of their Saturday night. Hopefully the popsicles brought them some joy. That’s what popsicles are especially good for. On a side note, our buffalo chicken pizza was fantastic.

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When I got home, I grabbed a glass and filled it with ice. I poured in some Grey Goose vodka which actually finished off the bottle (I love when we go through a bottle of liquor – one less piece of clutter in our liquor cabinet). On top of that, I poured in some soda water. We didn’t have any plain soda water, so I used some lemonade/raspberry flavored. I still felt this flavor would pair well with the popsicle and it did. I then unwrapped the popsicle and dunked it upside down into the drink so that only the wooden handle poked out. My drink was ready. When I got home, I asked Lola if she wanted one too and she did not. Then she saw me make it and it looked pretty refreshing, so when it was done, she asked for a sip. However, she forgot that I had put vodka in the drink – she thought it was just soda water over ice with a popsicle. When she sipped it, she immediately made that face you make when you drink something that has alcohol in it when you weren’t expecting it. I felt bad. I offered to make her one without the vodka, but she was over it. She actually just sipped some of the left over soda water from the can to help rid the taste.

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This is actually a cool photo of it because it looks like half the drink is grape. That’s actually just the popsicle leaning against the inside of the glass, so a bit of an illusion. It really just looked like a glass of clear liquid with a popsicle in it (as you would expect), but it did look refreshing. It tasted pretty good too. At that point of my day, anything cold and icy was going taste great. The truth is that the popsicle didn’t melt fast enough in the drink to add in any additional flavor. It was basically a vodka and soda water. It also had that annoying addition of a stick popping out the top which would have poked me in the eye had I not been wearing glasses. I gulped the drink down and it was indeed refreshing, it just wasn’t very grapey. After it sat for a while and the ice and popsicle started to melt more, it started forming a grape slush on the bottom of the glass which was tasty but hard to drink without a straw plus all the vodka and liquid was gone so it was just slush. I could make this a better drink with more trial and error, but this first test drink wasn’t the grape delight I had hoped for. That’s how it goes.

Later in the night I had just plain ol’ grape popsicle in the traditional way with the white wrapper crouched down around the stick and a bright purple, phallic treat in front of me. A popsicle is the perfect treat for when you are thirsty. It brings joy to your mouth and coolness which slides gently into delicious liquid that glides down your throat. It’s a taste that was just as good today as it was when I was 7 years old. A classic flavor and treat and the perfect way to end the day.

When Lola saw that it was popsicle day she was excited to have popsicles in the house because they are so refreshing. It’s nice to have a box in the fridge during the summer months so when we spend too much time in the sun and are a bit dehydrated, we can bust out a popsicle for some instant refreshment. They are perfect for that occasion and it seems appropriate to be celebrating them today as we officially launch into the summer months with Memorial Day weekend. I’m going to make sure we have a supply in our house moving forward because when you want a popsicle, you want it then. I’ll make sure we have plenty of grape too. Who knows, by the end of summer my grape vodka-sicle cocktail might just get perfected as well.

Next up: National Hamburger Day 

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