10 Ice Cream Sodas You Can Make at Home

As summer heats up, there are few things more refreshing than the fizzy, frosty goodness of an old fashioned ice cream soda. The retro treat goes so well with the season, the ice cream soda powers-that-be have even declared June 20 National Ice Cream Soda Day.

Today, most of us are lucky to find an occasional root beer float on a diner menu but when the idea of combining carbonated drinks with creamy ice cream first bubbled up in the late 1800s, it was such a hit that inventors across the country fought to claim the concoction as their own. One legend has it sweet cream soda vendor Robert McCay Green ran out of sweet cream at a Philadelphia exhibition in 1874 and swapped in ice cream. Another backstory claims Green employee George Guy spilled soda water into an order of ice cream and liked the result. Candymaker Fred Sanders is said to have used ice cream in place of sweet cream at his Detroit shop, and confectioner Philip Mohr said he used ice cream to keep his soda water cooler in New Jersey. But no matter who actually came up with the recipe first (Green even went so far as to have his tombstone inscribed with the feat), there’s no question that a frozen favorite was born.

And while America’s Main Streets are no longer lined with charming soda fountains, the humble ice cream soda in all its iterations is still worth celebrating (and perhaps reviving). Below are 10 recipes sure to cure your craving.

Homemade Syrup Sodas

Housemade flavors at a 1930s ice cream bar in San Francisco.Mike Fischer via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

1. CHOCOLATE SODA

If you want to get extra serious about your homemade soda, a la making your own syrup as well, Food Network goddess Ina Garten has you covered. Her recipe calls for combining cocoa powder, coffee, sugar, and vanilla to boil your own sweet sauce, then whisking in club soda and topping with your choice of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry ice cream and a splash more soda.

2. RASPBERRY SODA

Homemade raspberry syrup takes a little longer, but if your sweet tooth leans fruity, it sounds well worth the wait. This recipe has you combine fresh raspberries, lemon, and sugar and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. The strained liquid from the mix is what you combine with soda water and your choice of ice cream.

Cows

3. BLACK COW

Although there are regional variations, this vintage soda fountain classic is usually just another name for a root beer float, though depending on the region, it might use cola with vanilla ice cream instead of root beer. For variety, a Brown Cow replaces the vanilla ice cream with either chocolate ice cream or chocolate syrup, and vanilla ice cream, although some places use the name Brown Cow to just mean a cola float. Variations add a little extra flair like sprinkles, whipped cream, and cherries on top.

4. PURPLE COW

This cousin of the Black and Brown Cows replaces the root beer with grape soda. The original recipes called for grape juice, ginger ale, and ice cream, which would give it a nice extra kick. 

Floats

Circa 1957. Getty

5. ORANGE CREAM

If you’re looking to capture the essence of the Dreamsicles of your youth without having to hunt down an ice cream truck, an orange cream float can do the trick. Just mix a glass of orange soda with a few scoops of vanilla and you’re good to go.

6. SHIRLEY TEMPLE FLOAT

To take your cherry-flavored favorite up a creamy notch, combine ginger ale or lemon lime soda with cherry-flavored syrup like grenadine (or even fruit brandy like this recipe calls for), and add vanilla or cherry ice cream—and plenty of maraschino cherries, of course.

7. NEW YORK EGG CREAM

Made with neither egg nor cream, this confusing concoction actually just involves chocolate syrup, seltzer water or club soda, and milk or half-and-half. Some argue, however, that the New York drink started as a version of old fashioned milkshakes and used ice cream instead of milk.

Spiked Sodas

Circa 1955. Getty

8. RUM AND COKE FLOAT

For a more playful take on a standard cocktail, mix Coca-Cola with spiced rum, a few scoops of ice cream, and toppings like whipped cream and a real cherry or two. If you’re serving a crowd, the blogger behind this recipe suggests using mini old fashioned Coke bottles stuck into each glass as a garnish.

9. BOOZY ROOT BEER FLOAT

Alcoholic root beers have been turning up all over the country in recent years, which means making an adult version of a childhood favorite just got a lot easier. Add ice cream to a glass of your favorite hard root beer, like Not Your Father’s or Coney Island Brewing Co., and voila! Whipped cream and chocolate syrup optional.

10. CARAMEL APPLE CIDER FLOATS

This mouthwatering recipe for apple cider floats uses vanilla ice cream, ginger ale, caramel syrup, and plain old non-alcoholic cider, but who says you can't replace the virgin cider with something a little stiffer? Cheers!

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11 of the Most Extreme Junk Foods Ever Created
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It should come as no surprise that National Junk Food Day is traditionally celebrated on July 21—smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer, when the streets run thick with ice cream trucks and county fairs boast the kind of fried treats that can only be described as “awesome” (both in the modern sense and the more dated, whoa, we are in awe of that usage). But National Junk Food Day shouldn’t be celebrated with commonplace junk food; oh, no, it deserves something far bigger and better. So save your potato chips and chocolate bars for another day, and get ready to try some truly wild treats.

1. THE KFC DOUBLE DOWN


KFC

Perhaps the most unexpectedly clever way to create a new extreme junk food item is to turn a non-junky foodstuff into something that just oozes calories and decadence. Fried chicken giant KFC knew that—and played it up to major effect—when they introduced the KFC Double Down to America back in 2010. The sandwich foregoes the most traditional aspect of any sandwich (the bread!) and substitutes two fried chicken filets. In between the two pieces of chicken? Bacon, two different kinds of cheese, and the Colonel’s “secret sauce.” There’s no room for a bun here, folks.

2. PIZZA HUT'S HOT DOG STUFFED CRUST PIZZA

We may associate items like fast food pizza and hot dog-stuffed anything with all-American palates, but cheesy juggernaut Pizza Hut saw things a bit differently. In 2012, the chain introduced a pizza with a hot dog-stuffed crust to our neighbors across the pond, treating their UK customers to the kind of taste sensation some people might have had literal nightmares about. Is it a pizza? Is it a hot dog? Somehow, it’s both—and yet something much more.

3. FRIENDLY'S GRILLED CHEESE BURGERMELT


Friendly's

Once again, a wily restaurant chain took a normal food item—in this case, a hamburger—and amped up its junk factor by doing away with something as commonplace as buns, in favor of an entirely different (and, yes, very junky) item. In 2010, Friendly’s rolled out its very own spin on the Double Down, slamming a regular old burger between not one, but two grilled cheese sandwiches. Who needs buns when you can have four pieces of bread, gooey cheese, and unfathomable amounts of butter?

4. GUY FIERI'S CHEESECAKE CHALLENGE

Whiz-bang chef Guy Fieri has long drawn ire for his more wild culinary creations, but what sets his cuisine apart from that of other junk food aficionados is his steadfast dedication to the key elements of any extreme item: size and odd combinations. Fieri’s “Guy's Cheesecake Challenge” is currently on the menu of his Vegas Kitchen and Bar, but it’s easy enough to replicate at home: Just halve a cheesecake, throw it on a plate, and douse liberally with hot fudge, pretzels, and potato chips. (What, no bacon?)

5. DENNY'S FRIED CHEESE MELT


Denny's

In August 2010, Denny’s introduced the Fried Cheese Melt, a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with fried mozzarella sticks. Yes, it was served with both French fries and a side of marinara sauce, because it’s important to eat vegetables with every meal.

6. DUNKIN' DONUTS'S GLAZED DONUT BREAKFAST SANDWICH


Dunkin' Donuts

If you’ve ever hit up your local Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and found yourself stumped when it came time to decide if you wanted a donut or a breakfast sandwich to get your morning motor revving, Dunkin' Donuts came up with a brilliant culinary brainstorm in 2013: the fast food favorite unveiled a breakfast sandwich that used glazed donuts as “bread,” wrapped around bacon and peppered egg.

7. JACK IN THE BOX MUNCHIE MEAL

What Jack’s Munchie Meals lack in creativity, they more than make up for in pure, unadulterated size and content. Each Munchie Meal—there are four total—features a massive sandwich (from the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger to the Spicy Nacho Chicken Sandwich, and all sorts of wild fried things in between) accompanied with two beef tacos, “Halfsies” (a combo of fries and curly fries), and a 20-ounce fountain drink. These intense snack boxes are still available at most Jack in the Box locations, but you’ll have to wait until after 9 p.m. to procure your very own.

8. PIZZA HUT CHEESY BITES REMIX PIZZA

Apparently, there’s nothing that Pizza Hut loves more than using its crust as a delivery system for other junk food items. The hut that pizza built may have crammed hot dogs and hamburgers on to their pie sides, but there was something special about the Cheesy Bites Remix pizza. It featured fried cheese pockets stuffed with three different varieties of extra junk, from spicy seasoning to cream cheese and sesame to mozzarella and parmesan.

9. DEEP FRIED BUTTER

County and state fairs have long been hotbeds (sizzling, oily hotbeds) of wild, deep-frying invention. Dunking things in batter and then tossing them into a vat of oil is a nifty way to turn almost anything into a delicious crisp pocket of junky decadence, perfect for utensil-free eating—but that doesn’t mean that everything needs to get the deep-fried treatment. While deep-fried Oreos may be a stroke of brilliance, deep fried butter is just plain madness. Here’s a quick test: If you wouldn’t eat something if it weren’t deep-fried, don’t eat it if it is deep-fried. When was the last time you ate an entire stick of butter? See? Point proven.

10. THE BACON BUN BURGER

Not content to have a bacon sandwich between two chicken filets? Is a grilled cheese bun replacement not for you? Then try making your very own hamburger buns out of bacon. Carbs are bad for you, right?

11. FRIED ICE CREAM SANDWICH

The Florida State Fair is the proud home of the first fried ice cream sandwich, a junky treat that bears a name that doesn’t even begin to explain what it holds between its buns. It’s not a fried ice cream sandwich so much as a bacon cheeseburger (technically a sandwich) topped with a ball of fried ice cream. It might be a good meal for multi-taskers—no need to worry about dessert—but it doesn’t sound like the kind of thing good for anything else.

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Scientists Find a Possible Link Between Beef Jerky and Mania
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iStock

Scientist have discovered a surprising new factor that may contribute to mania: meat sticks. As NBC News reports, processed meats containing nitrates, like jerky and some cold cuts, may provoke symptoms of mental illness.

For a new study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, scientists surveyed roughly 1100 people with psychiatric disorders who were admitted into the Sheppard Pratt Health System in Baltimore between 2007 and 2017. They had initially set out to find whether there was any connection between certain infectious diseases and mania, a common symptom of bipolar disorder that can include racing thoughts, intense euphoria, and irritability.

While questioning participants about their diet, the researchers discovered that a significant number of them had eaten cured meats before their manic episodes. Patients who had recently consumed products like salami, jerky, and dried meat sticks were more likely to be hospitalized for mania than subjects in the control group.

The link can be narrowed down to nitrates, which are preservatives added to many types of cured meats. In a later part of the study, rats that were fed nitrate-free jerky acted less hyperactive than those who were given meat with nitrates.

Numerous studies have been published on the risks of consuming foods pumped full of nitrates: The ingredient can lead to the formation of carcinogens, and it can react in the gut in a way that promotes inflammation. It's possible that inflammation from nitrates can trigger mania in people who are already susceptible to it, but scientists aren't sure how this process might work. More research still needs to be done on the relationship between gut health and mental health before people with psychiatric disorders are told to avoid beef jerky altogether.

[h/t NBC News]

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