Celebrate summer with beautiful, delicious ice cream floats! Here in California we have plenty of vintage diners that serve up heaping scoops of ice cream topped with soda pop. But still, there’s something truly special about making your own ice cream floats at home. And when you’re entertaining guests, it’s fun to have each person scoop their own ice cream, select a soda pop flavor and create their own.
Last week my family and I celebrated my father’s 76th birthday. A few days later my husband and I hosted a backyard party for 40 guests followed by another family BBQ. This morning I took a look in the freezer and realized I had six tubs of Dryer’s ice cream left over from all of these events. It didn’t take long for me to find a way to use some of that wonderful ice cream. I invited my parents to stop by this afternoon, and I made a variety of fabulous ice cream floats.
Before my parents arrived I headed over to the market to pick up some fun artisan soda pop in delicious flavors and beautiful colors. There was such a large variety of choices it was hard to pick just two. I ended up selecting four yummy flavors: Stewart’s Orange ‘N Cream, Dang! That’s Good Red Cream Soda, Sunshine Root Beer, and Frostie Blue Cream Soda. Perfect choices for pairing up with Dreyer’s Vanilla ice cream.
Making frosty ice cream floats is really easy. Just pour a bit of cream soda in the bottom of a tall milkshake glass. Cover the soda with large, generous scoops of vanilla ice cream. Then pour some more carbonated soda pop on top. I love it when the ice cream starts foaming up! It looks so darn festive.
To make this 50/50 Creamsicle ice cream float, use yummy orange-flavored soda. It’s a vintage fountain classic! For an additional burst of delicious orange-and-cream flavor, make your ice cream float with half vanilla ice cream and half orange sherbert. So darn yummy! To satisfy a crowd for a baby shower or wedding shower, with scissors cut a box of orange sherbert open on three sides and lift out the entire cube or column of ice cream. Place the orange sherbert inside a large punch bowl. Pour ice-cold orange soda on top. This punch will become gorgeously frothy and happy looking! Get ready for lots of compliments.
To make this beautiful Blue Ocean ice cream float, select a vibrant-colored blue cream soda. Today I chose one called Frostie Blue Cream Soda. But other blue soda pop contenders were Jack Black’s Blue Cream Soda, and the bright-blue Jones Berry Lemonade Soda.
If you’re hosting a backyard swim party for children, it’s fun to add bright red Swedish Fish Soft Gummies to each Blue Ocean ice cream float. It’ll look like cute little fish swimming in a bright-blue ocean. The kids will love them!
My mother’s favorite ice cream float is made with vanilla ice cream and root beer. Growing up she remembers pulling into an A&W parking lot and a waitress wearing roller skates would come out with a tray to attach to the driver’s side window. On dates the teens would order cheeseburgers, French fries and classic root beer floats. They’d eat, drink and socialize in and around their cars. Makes me think of the movie Grease! Today I made Mom an ice cream float with Sunshine root beer crafted in my sunny home state of California.
When my husband comes home I’ll make his ice cream float using the red cream soda. I had a sip of each ice cream float flavor. Every one of them tastes wonderful and refreshing! For special occasions I put a large dollop of homemade whipped cream on top of ice cream floats I make for family and friends. But whipped cream or not, I always garnish each and every ice cream float with a bright red Maraschino cherry with the stem attached.
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I love my old-fashioned ice cream float glasses. I bought mine at Crate and Barrel, but you can find a similar set on Amazon. I love using striped paper straws. They make any drink look festive! The long-handled ice cream spoons shown here are the exact ones I have. I like that the heads of the spoons are round. It somehow makes them look more special. I got mine through Amazon.
Ice Cream Floats
- Vanilla ice cream
- Carbonated soda pop, orange soda, root beer, blue cream soda, red cream soda
- Maraschino cherries with stems
- Optional garnish: whipped cream
- Open a bottle of brightly-colored soda pop. Pour 1/3 of the soda into a tall ice cream glass.
- Scoop vanilla ice cream and add it on top of the soda in the ice cream glass.
- Continue to layer the ice cream and soda until the glass is full to the top and frothy.
- Garnish your ice cream float with a Maraschino cherry. To make it extra special, top with both whipped cream and a cherry! An optional garnish for Blue Ocean ice cream floats are red Swedish Fish gummies.
- Serve your ice cream float with a paper straw and a long-handled ice cream spoon.
Cuisine American, Italian
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How to Make Ice Cream Floats > Your Thoughts
Do you have a favorite ice cream float flavor? How do you celebrate summer? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!