Is there any summertime treat that is more satisfying than a refreshing, creamy, and wonderfully cold ice cream soda? We don’t think so. From a classic root beer float to more creative combinations, this warm weather dessert is a nostalgic treat that is suitable for all ages.
In honor of this fun yet oft-forgotten treat and the imminent arrival of summer, we’re letting you know one simple thing: You absolutely must have an ice cream soda bar at your summertime fetes. Not only is it a unique twist on the popular food bar, but it can make for some awesome, Instagrammable desserts for your guests.
If you’re stumped on how to put together the perfect ice cream soda bar, worry not! We have an easy-to-follow, four-step guide for you:
Step One: Vessels
For the optimal stunning setting, keep all of your drink vessels the same, whether you choose pint glasses, mason jars, or classic ice cream soda cups. We also recommend adding a few fun touches for your glasses, such as striped paper straws (like these), tiny paper umbrellas, and colorful toothpicks for garnishes.
Step Two: Ice Cream
When it comes to your ice cream flavors, don’t stray too far from the basics: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. After adding in the sodas and toppings, these three staples will provide more than enough unique combinations to satisfy your guests. However, if your family and guests are particularly enthusiastic about pistachio or coffee flavored ice creams, feel free to include those. We just don’t recommend adding in things like mint chocolate chip, cookie dough, or Moose Tracks peanut butter cup. The mix-ins will get soggy and gross quickly once the soda is added.
Step Three: Soda
This is where you can really mix things up. Of course, you’ll want the ice cream soda classics — root beer, grape soda, orange soda, and cola — but look for more creative options, too. Include slightly less popular ice cream soda bases such as strawberry, cherry, cream, and lemon-lime sodas. If you really want to give your guests endless options, consider more artisanal soda brands, like Jones Soda, which offers up green apple, melon, and bubblegum flavors, among others.
Step Four: Toppings
Of course, no dessert bar is complete without a wide array of toppings so your guests can truly customize their treats. You’ll want all of the staples: whipped cream, maraschino cherries, sprinkles, chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, fresh fruit slices, and mini chocolate chips. Feel free to really shake things up with some of the lesser known ice cream bar toppings, such as gummy bears (and worms), chocolate shavings, and chopped up candy bars. To make your ice cream sodas truly insane and Instagrammable, add in small servings of other desserts such as chocolate chip cookies, mini doughnuts, brownies, and cheesecake bites for garnish.
Encourage your guests to pile the toppings on high (click here for 10 must-have ice cream toppings) and hold a competition for the most unique ice cream sodas.