As children, who didn’t enjoy an ice cream float on a hot summer’s day? Personally, I was more than delighted to quaff a Root Beer Float as often as I could, in fact, I still enjoy them. The flavor immediately takes me back to times at my grandmother’s house where I was often served one in a great goblet made of “Carnival Glass”. Not only was it delicious in every way, but the foam! The foam! THE FOAM! The foam made it a visual delight… so ethereal and fleeting.
As a caterer, I am always curious to explore new variations on a theme. The intrepid culinary explorer in me is always seeking variations on the theme. Especially for events and parties, it is great fun to have something a bit unusual for one’s guests to try. New flavors, or combinations of familiar ones, are conversation igniters and an opportunity to imprint the gathering solidly in the mind. In addition, they help make everyone a bit giddy!
So let’s be pioneers! Let’s seek out the new and celebrate with great vigor our new finds! Let’s make a Post-Modern Ice Cream Soda!
The standard style of serving would be in an old fashioned Soda Fountain glass with a long handled spoon and a straw… but feel free to create your own way of serving!
The Manhattan: This is a really delightful take on a classic cocktail. It would be perfect after a steakhouse themed meal, with a little Bobby Short playing in the background! Spirits: Jones Cherry Soda, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Ice Creams: Bourbon Caramel Ice Cream, Burgundy Cherry Ice Cream, Garnish: Amarena Cherries, Toasted Almonds, Cherry Sauce, Whipped Cream. Scoop ice cream into your favorite sundae glass. Combine chilled cocktail ingredients and stir well. Pour cocktail over ice cream. Add garnish and serve.
Tiki God: Now, I have always had an aversion to Malibu Rum… it just did not suit me at all. However, I have discovered that it lends itself perfectly as a spiked ingredient for a decadent dessert! Spirits: Jones Cola, Malibu Coconut Rum, Ice Creams and Sorbets: Coconut Sorbet, Rum Raisin Ice Cream, Garnish: Candied Pineapple, Banana Chips, Macadamia Nuts, Toasted Coconut, Coconut Whipped Cream. Scoop ice cream into your favorite sundae glass. Combine chilled cocktail ingredients and stir well. Pour cocktail over ice cream. Add garnish and serve.
Mediterranean Creamsicles: The exotic combination of Saffron and Blood Oranges conjures up a fabulous Mediterranean getaway! ¼ cup Sugar, small pinch of Saffron threads, 1 pint Vanilla Ice Cream, 2 11-ounce cans of Blood Orange Soda (like San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa), A couple of shots of Vanilla Vodka, chopped Candied Orange Peel to garnish. Make Saffron syrup: bring ¼ water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 3 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the saffron, remove from heat, let cool completely. Put a scoop of ice cream in each of four Soda Glasses, top with Vanilla Vodka, then fill with the Soda. Drizzle the Saffron Syrup on top and topped with Candied Orange Peel.
Peach and Fizzy Grapefruit Ice Cream Soda: To celebrate a day of sunshine and happiness, this concoction is a whimsical libation to sip and smile with! 3 scoops Peach Ice Cream, Italian Grapefruit Soda, 1 ounce Campari, Tarragon or Lemon Verbena sprig (for garnish). Place ice cream in a chilled tall glass. Top with soda and Campari, and garnish.
Green Tea and Ginger Beer Float: Make sure to chill the glasses for at least ten minutes before assembling, this will help keep the float nicely chilled on super hot days! 3 scoops Green Tea Ice Cream, Ginger Beer, 1 ounce Irish Whiskey, Mint Sprig (for serving). Place ice cream in a chilled tall glass. Top with ginger beer and whiskey, if desired, and garnish with mint.
Vanilla Float with Bitters and Cherries: An excellent digestif, certainly not too sweet, and definitely sophisticated! 3 scoops Vanilla Ice Cream, Seltzer, 1 tablespoon Angostura Bitters, 1 ounce Cherry Brandy or Kirsch, Luxardo Maraschino Cherries (for garnish). Place ice cream in a chilled tall glass. Top with seltzer, bitters, and cherry brandy or kirsch, if desired, and garnish with cherries.
Berries and Cream: Nothing shouts “Summer!” like a bowl of berries and cream, and this delight will have you screaming for more! 1 cup cold Heavy Cream, 2 tablespoons Confectioners’ Sugar, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste (or seeds from one Vanilla Bean), 1 Cup of mixed fresh berries, 2 pints Vanilla Ice Cream, Several Shots of Vanilla Vodka, 1 1-liter bottle of Red Cream Soda. Make Vanilla Whipped Cream: whisk the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla bean in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. In each of four glasses, alternate berries and scoops of ice cream, top with vanilla vodka, the soda, and a dollop of the vanilla whipped cream.
Raspberry Prosecco Floats: Take several small scoops of raspberry sorbet, and arrange them in a champagne flute or coupe, douse with prosecco and garnish with a fresh raspberry. So elegant and refreshing - the perfect summer refreshment - and so easy too!
Aperol Floats: A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, a pour of brilliant orange soda, and a shot of Aperol. The bitter orange and rhubarb flavor of Aperol cuts the sweetness of orange soda and ice cream for a decidedly sophisticated version of the classic creamsicle.
Strawberry Moscato: Vanilla ice cream, a pour of moscato, and a splash of strawberry soda. Sweet Moscato is a dessert wine that makes the leap from accompanying dessert to being splendidly part of dessert. You can use a French Muscat as well: They're the same grape, but the Italian version is typically a little effervescent, making for a nose-tickling float you'd be a fool to pass up!
Chocolate Guinness Float: The recipe doesn’t call for a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream, but I bet one would not be disappointed if one snuck it in! 3 scoops Chocolate Ice Cream, 1 ounce Simple Syrup, 4 ounces Guinness Stout. Place ice cream in a tall glass. Pour simple syrup over and top off with Guinness. Serve with a straw and a long spoon.
Bourbon Root Beer Float: Really, quite nice! Old fashioned flavors, with a hip update… vanilla ice cream in a frosted mug, two shots of bourbon, top top quality root beer. Yes, please!
Dark Chocolate Cherry Bourbon Floats: Fill glasses with dark chocolate gelato, then a shot of or two of good bourbon, top with cherry soda. A real showstopper!
Piña Colada Floats: Yes, it conjures up that lame 1970’s song, and invokes images of tacky tourist bars, but hey… this stuff is good! 1 can (10-ounces) Bacardi Mixers Pina Colada Frozen Concentrate, 2-1/2 cups Seltzer Water, 1/2 cup white rum, 2 cups ice, 2 cup Low Fat Vanilla Ice Cream. In a blender, combine frozen concentrate, seltzer water, rum, and ice. Blend until smooth. Add 2 scoops of ice cream in 4 tall glasses. Pour Pina Colada mixture over ice cream. (makes four)
Blackberry Gin Fizzy Float: Amazingly delicious, certain to jumpstart any occasion… 1 pint blackberries, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon water, ½ cup chopped mint leaves, 8 ounces gin, ¼ cup fresh lime juice, 24 ounces ginger ale, Ice, Vanilla ice cream. Heat the blackberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Use a potato masher to smash the berries while they heat, continuing to cook until a thick consistency is reached, about 10 minutes. Set a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl and strain the blackberry mixture through, pressing out as much juice and pulp as possible. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. For each drink, fill a cocktail shaker with 2 tablespoons of the blackberry puree, 2 tablespoons of the mint leaves, 2 ounces of gin, 1 tablespoon of lime juice and a handful of ice. Shake 5 or 6 times, or until the drink is ice cold. Strain into a tall glass, top with 6 ounces of ginger ale, and stir gently. Once all of the drinks are made, top each with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.