by Sandra Murphy
This summer, make a variety of cooling drinks with little effort and a lot of room for creativity. Parents and kids alike will love it. Cut down on the sugar intake of regular sodas while raising the amount of fruit and milk for a healthier way to beat the heat.
Italian sodas are sparkling water or seltzer (no salt) with added flavor. Add dairy and it turns into a creamosa. The flavor varieties are endless. The basic recipe is:
For a 16 oz. drink—12 oz. ice cubes or crushed ice, 8-10 oz. sparkling water or seltzer, 2 oz. flavored syrup.
Same as the Italian soda with the addition of ½ oz. milk, cream, or half and half.
Tip: Use sugar-free flavored syrups for the kids and the weight conscious. If you don’t have sparkling water or seltzer, sugar-free 7-Up will work for Italian sodas.
Root Beer float—Into an ice filled glass pour 2 oz. of root beer syrup, fill with seltzer. Top with whipped cream. This is so rich, no one will miss the ice cream.
Caramel Egg Cream—In a glass filled with ice, add 1 ½ oz. caramel syrup, 4 oz. COLD milk and stir. Add seltzer to within ½ ” of the top of the glass. Add ½ oz. of vanilla syrup, more ice if needed, stir again.
Watermelon Smoothie—3 oz. watermelon flavored syrup, 2 oz. milk, 2 cups ice. Put the ice in the blender, add the milk and flavor. Blend to a smooth consistency. Makes a 16 oz. drink. The watermelon flavor is like biting into a fresh cut slice.
Flavored Ice Cubes—Tired of reaching for your drink, only to find the ice has melted and it’s all watery? Here’s a tasty solution. Add 1 oz. syrup of your choice to the water in the ice cube tray. Use blueberry for lemonade; raspberry, strawberry or peach for iced tea; cherry for Coke; root beer for root beer Italian sodas; cranberry for cranberry juice; mandarin orange for orange juice or a mimosa; pina colada for grapefruit juice; coffee for iced coffee; coconut for tropical juices; lemon for iced water or iced tea; lime for limeade; peppermint for iced tea; watermelon in seltzer; papaya in mixed fruit juice; pineapple in lemonade. Go fancy and include a piece of fruit in the ice. Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries look great and taste even better as they thaw.
Fruity Yogurt Pops—½ cup of vanilla flavored syrup, ½ cup fruit like pitted fresh cherries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas or peaches, 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt. Blend together until smooth. Pour into freezer pop molds and freeze until solid, about three hours.
Double Gummy Soda—2 oz. bubble gum flavored syrup, sparkling water, whipped cream, gummy candies. Pour the syrup over ice and add the sparkling water. Top with the whipped cream and garnish with gummy candies (bears, worms, fish). Serve at once!
Flavored Whipped Cream—here are some ideas for toppings; mix 1 oz. flavor to your choice of whipped topping (it really helps to use the no-fat kind):
• caramel on gingerbread
• orange on chocolate cake
• raspberry between layers of chocolate cake
• any flavor on ice cream
• blueberry on raspberry sorbet
• blueberry on lemon pound cake
• blackberry on blackberry cobbler
• chocolate mint on chocolate pudding
• root beer on root beer floats
• caramel on chocolate brownie
• peanut butter on chocolate brownie
• coffee between layers of chocolate cake
• cinnamon on apple pie
• watermelon on a fruit salad
• peach on peach melba
• coconut on a pina colada
Freeze low-fat milk with coffee flavored syrup. Add a chocolate covered coffee bean to each cube. When the warm coffee melts the ice, the flavor won’t dilute and there will be a few crunchy candies to enjoy when it’s gone.
For more recipes, visit Classical Coffee.