I haven’t had a float since…well forever ago. I think the last time was when I was a little kid sitting in a Sonic drive-in parking lot, my short legs dangling from our car’s backseat that was too tall to allow them to reach the floor. I probably had straight-across bangs and pigtails too if you want the whole picture.
My mom was pretty wise about not allowing too much trashy fast-food all the time, but on occasion she’d take us there for a quick lunch or treat. I think it was largely because we were good friends with the manager and most of the employees that worked there at the time so it was nice to support them at the same time (or maybe that’s just a clever excuse we used to feel better about those Route 44’s). It’s crazy how that can seem like a lifetime ago and yesterday at the same time.
Sitting here now and looking back is making me realize how much my life has changed since then, done a 180 so to speak, or maybe more like a 360. Actually, let’s just say it’s been a rollercoaster ride that’s taken me all over the place with plenty of resulting whiplash. Hey, but I bet yours is the same way. Changes are just part of living.
That reminds me, I haven’t told you guys yet about some news that came up this past week. So you may already know about my sister’s brother-in-law (and other sister’s boyfriend), Jacob moving here to Chile. No? Sorry that’s confusing, let me try to explain; there’s Josh who’s married to my older sister, Liv. Then there’s Jacob who is Josh’s younger brother and is now dating one of my younger sisters, Jenya. You’re probably still confused but that’s okay, so am I. He’ll be her tomorrow so we’re all excited to see him. Okay, but on top of that we have invited a long-distance friend of my dad’s, his name’s Diego, to come stay with us for a while.
He and Dad have been in contact over the internet because he happens to be a Spanish/English teacher who was living in Venezuela and teaching online. I’m not sure about all the details actually, I just know that some things haven’t been going well for him there and now he’s coming to look for work here in Chile. Anyway, so my dad has gotten to know him pretty well and he’ll be crashing at our place for a bit while he searches. I just hope he’s prepared to play taste-tester to all my craziness and shenanigans in the kitchen while he’s here. Haha, although I don’t know if anyone could be properly prepared for me, I’ve got some undeniable problems in case you haven’t noticed. Do you see what I mean about a rollercoaster ride though?
That’s probably enough about my behind-the-scenes for one day. Hopefully you’ve stuck around thus far to get this recipe. (*opens tightly scrunched eyes to see who’s still here*) Oh good, because it’s one that I’m extra, extra thrilled about!
I’ve had this recipe on my list for months now and I’ve been dying to share it before summer is over in the North and I just couldn’t wait any longer. I’m not gonna lie, unfortunately there are no fresh cherries in season for me yet so I had to use canned ones for some of my recipe testing. Not only that, but because this culture clearly has an attachment disorder to their pits and can’t figure out how to remove them!, I had to individually pit each cherry. Dumb, I know. The good news is that if these floats were as good as they were using preserved fruit, there can be no doubt they’ll be that much more incredible when using fresh!
Even more good news, you can switch out the fruit with other kinds like berries, peaches, pineapple, oranges….. Endless possibilities here. I could have chosen one of those fruits that currently is available to me fresh, but it was too late. I had already got it stuck in my mind that I had to have a big old, brilliantly red, wonderfully fizzy, and just a little bit (okay a lot a bit) messy, cherry vanilla float! I confess, this was purely stubbornness on my part, but really, look at this beauty! Can you blame me? I’ve always wanted to make my own pop and ice cream floats. I feel like together they just scream vintage Americana in the summertime.
Oh, and did you guys know that making soda pop at home is one of the easiest things ever? Really, pretty much all you do is make a syrup, add some gas water, and stick a straw in it! Then to take the next step and upgrade to a float, (which obviously needs to happen every time, duh!), you just drop in some generous scoops of vanilla ice cream and kick back to enjoy your work of artful and delicious genius!
- 2 cups (pitted) pureed cherries
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 - 8 cups seltzer (carbonated) water
- 1 pint of your favorite vanilla ice cream
- In a medium saucepan, pour in the cherries, sugar, lemon, salt, and add vanilla bean. Simmer over medium heat until it starts to thicken, it should be about 15 to 20 minutes. If desired you can strain out any cherry bits for a perfectly smooth syrup (I leave it as is). Let it cool completely for at least 20 minutes.
- Once it's cooled, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the syrup to 1 cup ice cold seltzer water (you can adjust with more or less to taste) and fill desired number of glasses using this ratio. Also, you can add some ice to each glass to get them extra cold.
- Immediately after adding seltzer, drop in desired amount of vanilla ice cream scoops, add straws and/or spoons and enjoy!