Were orange creamsicle sodas ever a staple of your childhood? I loved orange creamsicle popsicles when I was a kid, though oddly enough I’m not even a huge orange fan. I much prefer lemon and lime, with the exception of a glass of fresh-squeezed OJ, or a mimosa with brunch, and now, with the exception of these sodas. They’re inspired by a homemade orange creamsicle I recently had at Duckfat (one of my favorite lunch haunts), in Portland Maine. Duckfat is known for their stellar paninis and fried with creative homemade condiments, but they also make some damn fine homemade sodas. When we were there, I had a tough time deliberating over which one to get, because they all sounded unique and enticing, even on a cool rainy day. But I opted for the orange creamsicle, because there’s just something dreamy about the marriage of orange and cream. It was amazing, and all I could think while sipping on it was how I could attempt to replicate this lovely drink at home (and take it a step further and make it a cocktail, because why not kill two birds with one stone)?
I hope this transports you back to being a kid, wild and free, and running through the sprinkler on a ridiculously hot summer day (or something like that).
- 4 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice (strained, or mostly pulp-free)
- 1 oz vanilla bean-orange syrup
- 3/4 oz heavy cream
- 2 oz vodka
- seltzer or club soda
For the Vanilla Bean-Orange Syrup:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 vanilla bean (slice it down the middle and scrape out the caviar. You don’t need the pod, but you can save it for making vanilla-sugar sometime!)
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
Combine all three ingredients and bring to a simmer in a small pot. Stir occasionally and cook until all of the sugar has dissolved (about 10 minutes or so). Remove from heat. Stir in orange zest. Let the syrup cool completely.
When the syrup has cooled completely, combine all of the ingredients, except for the soda in cocktail shaker. Shake well, then strain, and divide into two tall glasses. Top with soda. Garnish with orange slices.