Raspberry, Lillet + Lemon Verbena Popsicles

Chill out with a boozy popsicle (a.k.a. poptail) kissed with fresh lemon verbena, citrusy Lillet, and raspberries.

There’s a small garden a few blocks from our apartment that is downright magical. It’s a permaculture garden full of fruiting and vegetable-ing plants suited to our specific microclimate here on Potrero Hill. It’s used to teach people how to garden, and it’s open to anyone who wants to come plant, harvest, weed or mulch.

This ever-evolving space is run by the Urban Permaculture Institute of San Francisco. I consider it a small miracle that this little garden hasn’t been bulldozed to make room for a four-story stack of condos, like most other lots in the neighborhood. The owner must be a saint.

My favorite aspect of this garden is the giant bush of lemon verbena that blossoms into the sidewalk. Right now it’s abloom with tiny lavender flowers. I always rub a leaf or two as I walk by for some instant aromatherapy; the bright, citrusy scent never fails to lift my spirits. And the fact that this plant exists where it does gives me a small glimmer of hope for humankind.

It also makes me crave poptails.

I got the notion to pair the lemon verbena with berries and Lillet Blanc, a citrus-kissed wine-based aperitif that I adore in the summertime (and, who am I kidding? all the time).

I first tried making the pops with blueberries. They were tasty, but the flavor of the berries muddied the brighter citrus notes of the herb and booze. Also, the berries oxidized, turning the pops a not-so-pretty purple-brown. Raspberries turned out to be the perfect pairing, making hot pink pops that sing with flavor. I’m guessing that ripe strawberries would work well, too.

The alcohol in the Lillet keeps these grown-up treats from freezing rock-hard, which is kind on one’s teeth, though you’ll want to eat them straight from the freezer lest they turn prematurely slushy. Woe betide she who tries to photograph these on a warm day…

If you’re looking for more popsicle love, you’re in luck: it’s popsicle week, as hosted by Wit and Vinegar! Peruse all the offerings on this pin board, and you can even score a hard copy of my tayberry rose geranium buttermilk popsicles this month in Click Magazine.

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Raspberry Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches {vegan, gluten-free}
Hibiscus, Rhubarb + Yogurt Ice Pops
Tayberry, Rose Geranium + Buttermilk Popsicles

Very Verbena:
Huckleberry Lemon Verbena Tea Cake
White Nectarine and Lemon Verbena Shortcakes
Lemon Verbena and Red Berry Shakes
Lemon Mascarpone Tart

Raspberry, Lillet + Lemon Verbena Popsicles

Makes 10 popsicles

½ cup (100 g) organic granulated cane sugar
1 cup (235 ml) water
¼ cup lightly packed lemon verbena leaves
2 ½ cups (10 ounces / 285 g) raspberries, plus extra for the molds
1-2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice (to taste)
1 cup (235 ml) Lillet Blanc

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, remove from the heat, add the lemon verbena, and let steep 30 minutes. Strain the mixture, squeezing the leaves to extract all the flavor. Discard the leaves.

Add the lemon verbena syrup to a food processor with the raspberries and smaller amount of lemon juice. Pulse until broken down, about 10 1-second pulses. Pour the raspberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve and work the mixture through, leaving behind the seeds. Stir in the Lillet, taste, and add more lemon juice if you feel the mixture needs it.

Divide the puree among your popsicle molds. If they don’t come all the way to the top, add some halved raspberries, pressing them down.

Freeze the popsicles until firm, at least 3 hours and up to several days. To remove, dip a mold in a cup filled with hot tap water for 5 seconds, then remove. These popsicles freeze fairly soft due to the alcohol, so devour immediately or re-freeze once removed from the mold.

36 thoughts on “Raspberry, Lillet + Lemon Verbena Popsicles”

  1. " hot pink pops that sing with flavor" – YES. I love this!! I love you!! You're amazing! Haha I'm still in giggles as I edit photos from Monday. You and Sarah are SUCH a hoot. I know we'll hang out again in the future. Monday was such a great day – and I mean, how could it not be? I'm so happy I finally got to meet you and see your magic in action. Your photos are gorgeous, as always, and this seriously screams summer!! Loving it :)

    1. D'aw! The feeling is very mutual Miss Betty!!! I'm so glad we got to work and play and eat – I'm now 100% obsessed with all that you do! Can't wait to see you again soon! <3

    1. Aw, we were sipping Lillet together and we didn't even know it! :) Thanks so much for the kind note Tessa! I'm off to ogle your bellini pops – yummmm!

  2. Fabulous, I always make a lemon verbena sorbet but this knocks it out of the park. Going to make them this weekend and looking forward to the other poptail (great word) & popsicle recipes.

  3. Oh do I feel your melty popsicle woes, my friend! I love the vibrant color of these poptails and I particularly love that you added a hint of lemon verbena (which I've yet to ever use…). I'm excited for our hunt over to the garden next week:)

  4. Love me some lemon verbena girl. One of my favorite herbs that just isn't around enough! That community garden is so great. As you mentioned, it's nearly a miracle they haven't bull dozed it to build. We have something similar in downtown Minneapolis, and it makes me smile every time I go by. Hope you are well friend, xo

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