These red wine popsicles, made with wine, orange zest, cardamom, cinnamon, and sugar, are a sweet summer treat just for grown-ups.
Turn old wine into red wine popsicles. After a big night, there are often myriad bottles of wine with a little bit left in the bottle. Or you may open a bottle of wine one night, and not have a chance to finish it the next night before it oxidizes. Taste it and if it is no longer drinkable but hasn’t turned to vinegar, turn it into this sweet grown-up treat by reducing the liquid and adding flavorings. If you don’t have popsicle molds, use small paper cups. If you can’t get popsicle sticks, large wooden skewers cut to size will work in a pinch. [Editor’s Note: Should red wine go to places heretofore only seen by sugary sweet things? Why not?! But please, not your best bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.]–Georgia Pellegrini
Red Wine Popsicles
- 3 1/2 cups red wine
- 1 (2-inch) strip orange zest preferably organic
- 4 cardamom pods crushed
- 6 whole cloves
- 8 black peppercorns crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups water
- Heat the wine, orange zest, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir, lower the heat, bring to a simmer, and reduce the liquid until you have 1 cup remaining, 15 to 25 minutes. Reducing it to this point is important because the freezing point of wine is lower than water, so the alcohol content must be cooked down or the popsicles won’t freeze.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the liquid cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.
- Stir in the water. Carefully ladle the liquid into popsicle molds, place a popsicle stick in each one, and freeze overnight.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These red wine popsicles are a great way to have your glass of red wine on a hot summer day! I served these to the grown-ups at a barbecue and they were a hit. The flavor was light and refreshing with a bit of heat on the finish from the black pepper. They are simple to make, especially if you don’t read the directions all the way to the end.
I placed my wine, spices, sugar, orange, and water in the pan and brought it to a boil. The last line of the recipe was a different page, so I just went with “Heat all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.” I started getting a bit panicky when I read the liquid was supposed to reduce to 1 cup within 15 minutes of simmering. At that point, I scrolled down to the next page of the recipe and noticed the “Stir in the water” part of the recipe. (Big eye-roll here.) Not wanting to waste a bottle of wine, I decided to see if the popsicles would still freeze. After doing some quick mental math, I figured I should have 4 cups liquid after simmering the wine mixture with the water for 15 minutes. When I poured the mixture through a strainer into a measuring cup, I had exactly 4 cups liquid. I ladled the mix into the popsicle molds. After freezing overnight, the popsicles were, well, popsicles! Yay!
This is a very forgiving recipe that comes together in about 5 minutes and is ready to eat after freezing overnight.
This might sound odd, but I am giving this recipe for red wine popsicles the nod even though I am not crazy about the flavor. I just think the recipe delivers exactly what it promises and would be perfect for those who want a popsicle to taste like mulled wine. I love mulled spiced wine come fall and winter. However, I love it hot and a bit boozy. In its frozen form, it tastes fine, but it isn’t something I would make again.
That being said, the recipe is easy to make, the flavors of spices and citrus pair well with the rich red wine, and the popsicles have a lovely color. I used the peel from a whole smallish orange. The orange wasn’t overpowering since there is a good amount of spice in the recipe and the wine provides its own acidity when reduced.
It took close to 25 minutes to reduce the wine to 1 cup over moderate heat, but using a larger pan can speed this up.
Originally published July 03, 2020