Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Strawberry Italian Cream Soda Mocktail Recipe ~ Creating My Own Igloo


Shriek!!!! Scream !!!! This cannot be true. " Temperatures across the UAE will peak at around 45C over the next few days, but the soaring humidity will make it feel as if it's, wait for it.... a whooping 64 degrees." Information courtesy What's On , Dubai. Please please Mr.S can we take a holiday to a place of cooler clime? He frowns and with the sternest no looks away into his news paper, too annoyed to be called out of his morning ritual of piping hot South Indian filter coffee and the freshest edition of Gulf News, which he, I think reads line by line. I get up looking for Mum-in-law, my saviour in situations like this on most earlier occasions. She, too, is busy in her morning invocation of the Almighty and I meekly recede back into my own cocoon. But I am so unable to concentrate on anything. The next best saviour after my Mum-in-law has always been the refrigerator. On occasions such as this, when things don't go my way, a peek into the refrigerator has always ended, with me cooking up a fire (oh no nothing hot seems to feel good this morning) or alternately digging into some comfort food or chocolates sitting pretty in my refrigerator. Oh dear gadget friend, please pull me out of my despondency this morning. I open the door of the refrigerator and the chill whiff coated with a white smoke that greets me is good enough to bring a kind of solace to me.
I quickly scan the entire refrigerator with my eyes and yes there is my usual slab of dark chocolates buried under little D's sour punks of all colours and shapes. My favourite ice-cream of strawberries and cheese cake is still there after I had decided to leave a few scoops to be had later on. Wait did I just think strawberries. That reminds me we had bought boxfull of strawberries and jars of fresh cream to be relished during watching Wimbledon with friends. But then the boys chose football over tennis and the girls chose festive shopping over watching Wimbledon. So the strawberries were still there and so was the cream. My face immediately lit up with an idea. What if I could not travel out, what if the temperatures sore up mercilessly, I could still create my own igloo right here in my home in Dubai and I would start doing that right this moment. I would flush in a number of coolers, ice-creams, frozen desserts, kulfis etc. etc. every single day and enjoy the Dubai summer to the fullest. I would make a house favourite Mocktail with the left over strawberries and cream, Strawberry Italian Cream Soda. Yes this pretty ruby red Mocktail with a dollop of cream for its crown would be the perfect start for me, in creating my own igloo, to win over the heat.


I have seen Italian cream soda most definately in many a wedding menus in the western world and my introduction to this gorgeous looking Mocktail was at a friend's wedding in London. I hadn't checked the menu, instead seeing how pretty the drink looked, in a friend's hand had asked her and had ordered for it. I had instantly fallen in love with this fizzy, sweet, creamy drink. The fruit syrup used in that one was raspberry, I still clearly remember. I had for a very long time thought that this was an Italian drink and had had it a few times while travelling. Only much later when I started looking through the Internet and reading in books for the recipe, did I find out, that the Italian Cream Soda was remotely Italian. It was more American, having been patronised and made popular by the Americans. It's origin is believed to be contrived after the old fashioned Soda Fountains in America. In 1925 Italian immigrants Rinaldo and Ezilda Torre, founder of the San Fransisco based company Torani, for the first time named their concoction as " Italian Soda". Many companies after that followed suit labelling their flavoured soda water, "Italian Soda". So, dear friends, the very popular Italian Soda does not have Italian origins, but is somewhat similar to a non- alcoholic Italian beverage made from the juice of a native Italian citrus fruit called Myrtifolia.

Italian Cream Soda is a variation of the Italian Soda. Handcrafted Italian Soda has had many variations over the years, from using various types of flavoured syrups to adding cream or ice-cream to the Italian Soda. The three basic ingredients of carbonated water, flavoured syrup and ice have however remained the same three main ingredients of the Italian Soda, inspite of all the creative modifications made over the years. Most handcrafted recipes use the syrup of Torani company . But I zeroed down and have been following a recipe where I can take the full advantage of the seasonal fruits, plentifully available and make the syrup easily at home. The basic advantage of doing this is that you can make this Mocktail without any geographical disadvantage. Also another ingredient used in the Italian cream soda is half and half . Half and half also known as half and half cream is a simple blend of equal parts of whole milk and light cream. You should normally find it in the dairy section of your supermarket sitting next to your milk and cream. Half and half is normally used in those recipes which demands something heavier than milk but not as rich as cream. I have mentioned the exact proportions or ratio of cream and milk in half and half in the ingredients section below, so that you can make half and half at home, tasting very very close to the store bought one.  So let's get started on making Strawberry Italian  Cream Soda. This is a great beverage to serve on special occasions, especially if you are hosting a party. It not only makes your beverage tray look very pretty but also most people love this fuzzy drink with its creaminess and fruity flavour. When serving to children add a scoop of ice-cream instead of the whipping cream on top. For vegan options use coconut milk and coconut cream instead of dairy. It tastes equally yummy.

Dear friends this post is a part of the monthly Blog Hop of the Culinary Hoppers, this month's theme being " Mocktails". So do come back and check this page for the links to some amazing mocktails by my blogger friends.



STRAWBERRY ITALIAN CREAM SODA RECIPE ~

AUTHOR ~ PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES ~ 4
CUISINE ~ INTERNATIONAL / AMERICAN
TYPE ~ BEVERAGE / MOCKTAIL
TIME ~ 30 MINUTES TO MAKE THE FRUIT SYRUP (YOU CAN MAKE THE FRUIT SYRUP IN ADVANCE) + 10 MINUTES TO ASSEMBLE THE MOCKTAIL

INGREDIENTS ~ 

1) 1 Cup Sugar
2) 1 Cup Water
3) 200 Gms Fresh Strawberry
4) Zest of 1/2 a Small Lemon 
5) 280 Ml ~ 300 Ml ( 70 Ml approximately per glass) Half And Half (Alternately make home made Half and Half with 1/2 Cup Whole Milk + 1/2 Cup Light Cream OR 2/3 Cup Skimmed / Low Fat Milk + 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream) 
6) 800 Ml ( 200 Ml approximately per glass) Club Soda / Ice-Cream Soda / Cream Soda 
7) Whipped Cream for topping / Ice-Cream Scoop for topping
8) Fresh fruits for garnish ( I used fresh cherries)

MAKE STRAWBERRY ITALIAN CREAM SODA WITH ME IN EASY STEPS ~ 

1) Take a deep pan.
  • Add sugar.
  • Add water. Stir. Let the burner remain on high till all the sugar dissolves in the water. Allow the sugar syrup to come to a rolling boil. 
  • Meanwhile Chop the strawberries into small pieces. Once the sugar syrup starts boiling reduce the heat and add the strawberries, followed by the lemon zest.
  • Simmer till the strawberry pieces become soft and can be easily smashed using the back of your spoon.
  • Remove the pan from the burner and leave the strawberry syrup to cool down. Once it has cooled, using a strainer strain the liquid out separating the syrup from the soft strawberries. (NOTE : Do not throw away the strawberries left behind in the strainer. Instead use them in your yogurt, parfaits, ice-creams and even bread toasts.)
2) Now we need to make the Half and Half. Since I had skimmed milk and heavy cream, I mixed them in the ratio of Milk : Cream , 2/3 Cup : 1/3 Cup. You can refer to the ingredients section of this post for further details. Take milk and cream in a bowl and whisk them till no lump remains and they form a smooth, homogeneous liquid.

ASSEMBLING ~

1) Take a tall glass tumbler. I have used a 370 ml glass tumbler. Pour the strawberry syrup into this glass (70 ml approximately per glass).
  • Add ice cubes leaving about 3 inches from the top rim of the glass.
  • Next pour the Soda again leaving about an inch or two from the top of the glass (200 ml per glass approximately)
  • Pour in the half and half cream now (70 ml approximately per glass).
2) Top up with whipped cream or ice-cream scoop. I used whipped cream. Garnish with fresh fruits. I used cherry. 
Serve chilled. Stir,sip, slurp and be blown away by this droolicious mocktail. I give my word for this one. It will surely make you fall in love with it instantaneously. With my recipe, you can make this mock-tail no matter which part of the world you are in. Simple, easily available ingredients have been used. But this tastes exactly like the Italian Cream Soda that you will have in Europe or America. By the way you can replace strawberry with lemon, Pomegranate, cherry, raspberry, grapes, sweet lime etc.


LET'S SEE HOW TO ASSEMBLE AND MAKE STRAWBERRY ITALIAN CREAM SODA WITH PICTURES ~

1) Take a deep pan. Add sugar.


Add water. Stir.


 Let the burner remain on high till all the sugar dissolves in the water. Allow the sugar syrup to come to a rolling boil. 



Meanwhile chop the strawberries into small pieces.



Once the sugar syrup starts boiling, reduce the heat and add the strawberries followed by the lemon zest.



Simmer till the strawberry pieces become soft and can be easily smashed using the back of your spoon.



Remove the pan from the burner and leave the strawberry syrup to cool down. Once cool, using a strainer, strain the liquid out, separating the syrup from the soft strawberries.



Your Strawberry Syrup is ready to use.



2) Now we need to make the Half and Half. Since I had skimmed milk and heavy cream, I mixed them in the ratio of Milk : Cream, 2/3 Cup : 1/3 Cup. Please refer to the ingredients section of this post for further details. Take milk and cream in a bowl and whisk them till no lump remains and you get a smooth glossy liquid.



ASSEMBLING ~

1) Take a tall glass tumbler. I have used a 370 ml. glass tumbler. Pour the strawberry syrup into this glass (70 ml. approximately per glass).



Add ice cubes leaving about 3 inches from the top rim of the glass approximately. Next pour the soda, again leaving about an inch or two from the top of the glass (200 ml. approximately per glass).



Pour in the half and half cream now ( 70 ml. approximately per glass).



2) Top up the glass with whipped cream or ice-cream. I have used whipped cream. Garnish with fresh fruits. I have used cherry.



Serve chilled and enjoy this creamy, yummy soda mocktail to the hilt.

References ~