For 12 years, I produced and filmed a cooking and lifestyle show in Fort Worth called Just Like Home. I worked with a talented production crew and a dedicated group of girlfriends from the Park Cities. On film days, I’d stop by my friends’ homes and off we’d go for a full day of cooking, filming, and tasting.
I think about Just Like Home each summer, because of all the episodes I produced each year, the most popular was my annual Summer Cocktails show. For 30 minutes, I taught viewers how to create one summer sipper after another, but the fun part for me – and my neighbors – was developing the recipes. As I perfected each one, I would carry a tray of samples to our neighbors to obtain their feedback. I could always tell when I had a winner.
I’ve selected three favorites – a creamy, frosty Pina Colada inspired by the original recipe invented by Ramón Marrero in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in Puerto Rico, a non-alcoholic Blackcurrant Spritzer that tastes as luscious as it looks, and a Chocolate Ice Cream Soda, which kids will have a blast making all summer long. I learned the secrets to creating an authentic ice cream soda from a soda jerk working in a 104–year-old ice cream parlor called Union Dairy in Freeport, Illinois, but here’s a quick tip: Use chilled seltzer water, not club soda. Enjoy!
For more recipes and entertaining tips from PBS chef Christy Rost, visit christyrost.com.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Ice Cream Soda
• ¼ cup chocolate syrup
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 2 scoops vanilla ice cream, divided
• Chilled seltzer water
• Whipped heavy cream, for garnish
• Chocolate sprinkles, for garnish
• Maraschino cherry, for garnish
In a tall glass or mug, combine chocolate syrup, milk, and one scoop of ice cream. Using a large spoon, blend until the ice cream is completely incorporated and the mixture is smooth and thick. Add ¼ cup seltzer water and stir well to mix. Add the remaining scoop of ice cream and fill the glass with seltzer water, stirring gently to mix. Garnish with a swirl of whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a cherry. Serve with a straw.
Yield: 1 soda
• 1 ½ ounces simple syrup, cooled
• 1 small lime wedge
• 2 teaspoons granulated or sparkling sugar for rim of glass
• ½ cup lemonade, chilled
• 3 ounces blackcurrant nectar
(I use Ribena brand)
• 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
• 3 ounces lemon-lime soda, chilled
To make simple syrup, stir together ½ cup water and ½ cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Moisten the rim of a martini glass with the lime wedge, pour 2 teaspoons sugar into a saucer, and dip the rim of the glass into the sugar to coat. Set it aside. Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice. Add lemonade, blackcurrant syrup, simple syrup, and lime juice. Cover and shake until the mixture is thoroughly chilled. Add lemon-lime soda to the cocktail shaker and stir gently to mix. Strain the spritzer into the prepared glass and serve.
Yield: 1 cocktail
• 2 ounces Don Q Coco rum
• 1 ounce Coco Lopez cream of coconut
• 1 ounce heavy cream
• 6 ounces pineapple juice
• ½ cup crushed ice
• 1 wedge fresh pineapple, for garnish
• 1 maraschino cherry, for garnish
Combine rum, cream of coconut, heavy cream, pineapple juice, and ice in the container of a Vitamix or blender. Cover and blend until the mixture is thick and creamy. Pour into a tall cocktail glass. Garnish the cocktail with a slice of fresh pineapple and a cherry threaded onto a cocktail skewer.
Yield: 1 cocktail