How to Make the Ultimate July Fourth Dessert

Be the hit at your party with these reinvented ice-cream floats.




PHOTOS BY LEAH LIZARONDO
 

Who doesn’t love a root-beer float? And who isn’t transported to the idyllic summer days of our childhood when we enjoy one? Nothing can beat root-beer floats for that.

But. There is a whole world of ice-cream floats out there, and thank goodness we now are adults because we can experiment at will.

Here’s an idea: Take drink-of-the-moment shrub, add some fizz and pour it in a glass filled with scoops of ice cream. And if that isn’t interesting enough… top with some… Jello.

Hello, heaven.

Drink with a straw and eat with a spoon.

For those who are not familiar, shrubs were a popular drink during the colonial era; they recently have been experiencing a resurgence in this modern cocktail era. The act of consuming shrubs also is known by its (arguably) less-romantic name: drinking vinegar. It is a vinegar-based syrup made with fruit and originally was a method used to preserve and use fruit past its prime.

Shrubs are wonderful because the flavor straddles tart and sweet — and on hot summer days, mixed with some very cold seltzer, it is the most refreshing drink. Not too cloying. Just right.

Though the shrub has humble utilitarian origins, once you taste it, you’ll want to make it, overripe fruit on hand or not.

It’s fairly easy to make shrubs — you just need fruit, vinegar and sugar. Berries and stone fruit are my favorites.

There are a few methods out there to make shrubs at home. Start with a 1:1:1 ratio and then adjust your sugar (dial it down) to desired sweet-tart level.

A slow but easy method is macerating the fruit in the sugar — that is, mixing the two together — and letting the mixture stand overnight so the sugar draws out the natural juice from the fruit. Strain this with a cheesecloth over a container, pressing out as much juice from the fruit as possible. Add the vinegar and mix well.

Using the hot method is a little faster, but you lose a little of the brightness of the fruit’s flavor. For this process, place vinegar and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the fruit and simmer to draw out the fruit juices. Cool and then strain over a container with a cheesecloth.

Just want to get your hands on some shrubs? You’re in luck because Whole Foods started carrying my favorite go-to for when I don’t have time to make some (or any overripe fruit!): Tait Farm Foods, displayed in special racks all over the store labeled — conveniently? — “WFM Foodie.” You can’t miss the Tait Farm bottles. (The whole rack was interesting actually, a great way to get new ideas!)

Most of the time, I just take the shrub and mix it with seltzer, and aside from homemade iced teas, that’s my go-to summer drink. And shrubs make great cocktail bases!

Shrub ice-cream floats? Easy. See the below recipe for my favorite combination: Raspberry. Mint. But feel free to use other shrub-ice cream combos. My other favorites are strawberry shrub with strawberry ice cream (of course!), peach-ginger shrub with vanilla ice cream and cherry shrub with chocolate ice cream.

Shrub up!
 

Raspberry-Mint Shrub

Serves 1

The ratio is based on Tait Farm Foods’ shrubs (you may need to adjust if your syrup is homemade or if you're using other brands)
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce shrub syrup
  • 6 ounces very cold seltzer
  • 1 scoop mint-chip ice cream (I like So Delicious almond-milk mint-chip ice cream)
  • About 2 mint leaves crushed (I love chocolate mint, but you can use any mint)
  • ¼ cup cubed Jello — optional but oh so encouraged (if you are vegan, there are vegan options available)
     

Directions:

  1. Mix shrub and seltzer.
  2. Crush mint into another glass.
  3. Top with ice cream.
  4. Pour shrub mixture into glass with ice cream.
  5. Watch the satisfying foam.
  6. Top with Jello.
  7. Eat with a spoon and drink with a straw.

 

 

Edit Module

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Brazen Kitchen:

Parsnips Take the Cake (Move Over, Carrots)

Parsnips Take the Cake (Move Over, Carrots)

Brazen Kitchen: Plus a preview of perfect-for-the-season cookbook, ‘ROOTS: The Definitive Compendium.’
5 Must-Eats at Pittsburgh Restaurant Week

5 Must-Eats at Pittsburgh Restaurant Week

Brazen Kitchen: Pittsburgh Restaurant Week returns with a special winter edition from January 14-20.
The Perfect Homemade Gift: Drunken Pirouettes

The Perfect Homemade Gift: Drunken Pirouettes

Julia Erickson, co-founder of Barre, shares the recipe for a homemade energy snack, fueled with a touch of Wigle’s organic rye whiskey.
Spring in a Springform Pan

Spring in a Springform Pan

Brazen Kitchen: This orange poppy seed cake is bursting with the season’s maple syrup, berries and flowers.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Matt Murray's Focus is on the Journey, Not the Destination

Matt Murray's Focus is on the Journey, Not the Destination

The Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender already has his name on the Stanley Cup — twice. Matt Murray may be a champion, but he’s still working diligently to improve his game.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2017 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2017 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine highlights the unsung heroes of the health care field: our Excellence in Nursing honorees, chosen by our panel of distinguished nursing professionals.
Restaurant Review: Superior Motors

Restaurant Review: Superior Motors

Kevin Sousa’s long-anticipated project fires on all cylinders as a restaurant. But, will it fulfill its larger mission?
Pittsburgh City Steps: An Artist Tells Their Stories

Pittsburgh City Steps: An Artist Tells Their Stories

Artist Laura Zurowski is on a mission to document Pittsburgh's public steps in an unorthodox way.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Pittsburgh's Most Dazzling Movie Screen is Now Open

Pittsburgh's Most Dazzling Movie Screen is Now Open

The new Rangos Giant Cinema, replacing the bygone Omnimax, is ready for audiences at the Carnegie Science Center.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Just in Time for the Holidays: Miracle Returns to Downtown

Just in Time for the Holidays: Miracle Returns to Downtown

The over-the-top holiday-themed bar opens at the Original Oyster House the night after Thanksgiving.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

The winner received the most votes among five dogs, four cats and a bunny.

Comments


Steal the Crown Jewels at Escape Room 51

Steal the Crown Jewels at Escape Room 51

The new escape game is instantly among the best in town.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

The time has come for the offense to more often resemble what everyone thought it would become this season, as opposed to sinking on occasion to a Cleveland Browns-esque level of ineptitude.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Justice League Could've Been Worse (But Should've Been a Lot Better)

Justice League Could've Been Worse (But Should've Been a Lot Better)

Reviews of "Justice League," "Wonder" and "Lady Bird," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
One for the History Books: A Cathedral of Learning Proposal

One for the History Books: A Cathedral of Learning Proposal

This groom-to-be popped the question at new heights, potentially making him the first person to propose on top of the University of Pittsburgh’s signature structure.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Bright Living: ‘Lumiere’ Condos Slated for Former Saks Downtown

Bright Living: ‘Lumiere’ Condos Slated for Former Saks Downtown

Named after the French word for light, the 86-unit mixed-use development, which will include a Fogo de Chao steakhouse as a tenant, offers folding glass walls in its residences to create an open-air living space.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module