It’s crazy to think it, but we’re already on the tail end of summer. And while I’m the kind of girl who can (and does) eat ice cream year round, I am also one to pretty much stick to using fresh berries in the summer when they’re at their very best.
Here, my favorite berries, bright, juicy raspberries, are paired with another favorite, Aperol. Aperol is an Italian liquer made from sweet and bitter oranges along with a blend of herbs that creates the most perfect balance of sweet and not-so-sweet flavors. I fell in love with it in Venice, where the Aperol Spritz has become a very common afternoon cocktail, particularly in the hot summer months. The bubbles in the spritz come from prosecco, but in this summer treat, they come from club soda or unsweetened flavored carbonated water poured over classic creamy vanilla ice cream.
As summer winds down, make sure to take time to enjoy the things that are fleeting–berries, warm evenings, and time outside with those you love. Sit on the back porch while the kids eat a scoop of vanilla ice cream, make up these floats to share with your sweetheart, and soak it all in before it’s gone for the year.
Raspberry and Aperol Floats
slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2013
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. Aperol, plus more for finishing, if desired
6 oz. fresh raspberries
1 pint vanilla ice cream or gelato
2 (12-oz.) cans club soda or unsweetened flavored carbonated water (I like La Croix)
1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring thyme, sugar, and water to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, let sit 15 minutes for thyme to steep, then remove thyme and let syrup cool to room temperature.
2. Stir in Aperol then add berries and muddle gently. Store syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to one day before using.
3. To assemble floats, divide syrup among four tall float glasses. Scoop equal amounts ice cream into each glass then top with 6 oz. (half of a can) club soda or carbonated water and an extra splash of Aperol, if desired. Enjoy immediately.
Yields: 4 floats