Sip on blackberry elderflower ice cream soda all summer long. A dreamy combination of a dairy free and vegan elderflower ice cream, blackberries in syrup and a float of elderflower soda.
It’s June, and even though summer hasn’t graced us with her presence quite yet, it’s so close I can taste it. I can’t help but daydream about all the warm weather enterprises to come: breathing in the wild, pine scented air on our annual camping trip, lounging on the grass in the backyard watching the clouds roll by, feeling the ocean mist graze my sun-kissed skin…
The funny thing is that summer is the busiest time for a chef and caterer (when you live in a sunny tourist destination like Santa Barbara, anyway), but I do believe that’s precisely why I crave the most languid moments of the season. I hang onto those moments tightly, however fleeting, because that’s what gets me through the grit.
Also part of me probably still longs for those carefree summer vacation vibes of my youth, now that I’m an ever hustling adult. Recalling those glory days when school was out and we’d snack to our heart’s content on frozen desserts and summer’s sweet bounty is exactly what led me to create this blackberry elderflower ice cream soda, a sophisticated nod to a childhood summertime staple.
Blackberries, lightly cooked with a touch of sugar, are complimented by a dairy free and vegan ice cream flavored with elderflower liquor.
I hadn’t yet tackled a vegan ice cream, so I wanted to keep it as easy as possible. I used a recipe from The Kitchn as a simple-as-can-be base that really only uses coconut milk, honey (or agave syrup for vegans who don’t consume honey) and cornstarch. I then flavored it with elderflower liqueur and lemon zest, because it needs a bit of brightness to bring the the sweet, floral notes back into harmony. It’s so creamy! The recipe I listed below makes around a pint, which is perfect for a small batch of blackberry elderflower ice cream soda. But if you want extra, I suggest doubling it to make a quart! I did.
The subtle effervescence of sparkling elderflower lemonade makes the dreamiest topper to these drinks.
Speaking of elderflower, I know it’s not necessarily the most common ingredient to come by. If you want to substitute regular soda water and your vanilla ice cream of choice no one is stopping you- it would still be a fantastic summer treat by all accounts. But elderflower gives it that magical, ethereal touch, so I highly suggest seeking it out.
WHERE TO FIND ELDERFLOWER:
- St. Germain is my favorite elderflower spirit and can be purchased at higher end liquor stores. The bonus of using it to flavor your ice cream base is that the alcohol will keep the mixture from hardening completely, leaving you with a velvety smooth concoction.
- For an alcohol free version, Belvoir makes a heavenly Elderflower Cordial. They also make the Sparkling Elderflower Lemonade I used to top off the blackberry elderflower ice cream soda.
- Various elderflower essences and syrups can be found on Amazon.
- I also spied lime mint elderflower sparkling mineral water at Whole Foods!
Blackberry Elderflower Ice Cream Soda
Sip on a blackberry elderflower ice cream soda this summer, a dreamy combination of a dairy free and vegan elderflower ice cream, blackberries in syrup and a float of elderflower soda.
For the Elderflower Ice Cream:
- 1 15- ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup honey or agave syrup
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1-2 tablespoons elderflower Liquor or elderflower cordial
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the Blackberry Syrup:
- 1 pint blackberries
- 2 tablespoons-1/4 cup sugar
- Elderflower Soda or Plain Soda Water
To make the ice cream, set aside 1/4 cup of coconut milk in a small bowl. Pour the remaining coconut milk into a medium saucepan. Add the honey or agave and salt. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring until honey dissolves.
Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved coconut milk until dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the coconut milk and whisk. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the base has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and elderflower liquor.
Pour mixture into a shallow container and let sit to cool slightly. Cover the surface with wax paper or plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. If you want to speed up the chilling method, you can place the mixture into a bowl set over a larger bowl of ice water. Stir the mixture occasionally until chilled.
Once the base is chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker for 10-20 minutes. Mixture will thicken as it is churned. Transfer to a container, cover and freeze for an additional 4 hours or so.
To make the blackberry syrup, combine blackberries and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved and blackberries have released some of their juices, about 5 minutes. Crush some of the berries gently with a wooden spoon to achieve a more jammy texture. Remove from heat and cool completely.
To assemble the ice cream sodas, add a scoop of elderflower ice cream to a tall glass. Top with a spoonful of blackberry syrup. Repeat with a second scoop of ice cream and a second spoonful of the blackberry syrup. Top with elderflower soda or regular soda water.