Cathie Campbell

It’s always time for ice cream sodas

by cathie campbell

Enjoy a pre-summer treat by fixing some floats with your favorite ice cream and root beer beverage.
Enjoy a pre-summer treat by fixing some floats with your favorite ice cream and root beer beverage. Nicholas Danforth, Wikimedia Commons.

I love ice cream sodas, even if the weather is not exactly hot. Every year I travel to Ontario, Canada for a little vacation, and my friends there tell me that the popular term in their region is pop rather than soda. I have heard the term soda-pop over here, but I think the use of the word pop in the U.S. is mostly in our eastern states. I have also heard it said that an ice cream soda has club soda as an ingredient, but an ice cream float uses flavored soda (or pop), with root beer being the most popular. Anyway, no matter where you call home or what terms you use, I think we can all agree that ice cream sodas or floats are welcome treats to enjoy during the upcoming hot summer months or even right now. Why save ice cream just for summer?

Chocolate ice cream soda

3/4 cup chocolate syrup

1 cup milk, divided

4 cups carbonated water, chilled

8 scoops chocolate ice cream (about 2 2/3 cups, divided)

Whipped cream in a can, optional

1. Using four 16-oz. glasses, place 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup into each one.

2. Add 1/4 cup milk and 1 cup carbonated water to each glass; stir until foamy.

3. Place two scoops of chocolate ice cream to each glass. Top with whipped cream if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Strawberry ice cream soda

1 cup milk

1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, softened (I use strawberry ice cream)

2 tablespoons sugar

2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional

1 cup ginger ale, chilled

1. Place the milk, strawberries, ice cream, sugar and food coloring (if using), into a blender container.

2. Cover and blend until mixture is smooth. Pour into chilled glasses.

3. Add ginger ale and serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Root beer float

1/2 pint vanilla ice cream (the richer the better)

1 can or bottle (12 fluid ounces) root beer

1/2 cup whipped cream

4 maraschino cherries

1. Using two tall glasses, place 1 scoop of ice cream into each one. Carefully pour some root beer over the ice cream.

2. Add another scoop of ice cream and some more root beer. (If you have room, repeat this process.)

3. Top each filled glass with a dollop of whipped cream, then add 2 cherries. Makes 2 servings.

Caramel apple cider float

Increase the recipe if you want more than one serving.

1 cup ginger ale

1/2 cup apple cider

1 to 2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Dash nutmeg

Dash cinnamon

Caramel sauce, for drizzling (see recipe if you want to make your own)

1. Combine ginger ale and apple cider in a large glass.

2. Drop 1 or 2 scoops of the ice cream in. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon, then drizzle with caramel sauce. Makes 1 serving.

Caramel sauce

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup half-and-half

4 tablespoons butter

Pinch salt

1 tablespoons vanilla

1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, mix brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring gently, until mixture becomes thicker.

2. Add vanilla and continue cooking until mixture thickens even more. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly and pour into a jar. Refrigerate the sauce until it is cold. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.