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Floats, Shakes and Sundaes: Back and Better Than Ever

Hot & Cool Trends

By Cari Martens

Your grandpa can probably wax nostalgic about the days of drug store soda fountains when you could get a malted milkshake for 10¢ or an ice cream sundae for a nickel more.

Those days, of course, are long gone. But root beer floats, milkshakes and sundaes are back, baby—only bigger, fancier, and, you guessed it, pricier.

Have you ever tried the caramel copetta at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles? It’s creamy dark-caramel gelato layered with a crisp Italian waffle cookie, gooey caramel sauce and sticky-smooth marshmallow sauce, topped with salty, toasty Spanish peanuts—now that’s a sundae!

At Pizzeria Mozza, you’ll find sundae ingredients like roasted Adriatic figs, huckleberry compote, and honey lavender ice cream.

At LA Mill Coffee Boutique in Silverlake, Calif., they’ve developed their own ‘coffee root beer’ for the restaurant’s root beer float, as well as other soda flavors such as candied ginger and citrus-camomile.

On the other coast, at Chef Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud, New York, the dessert offerings include a fromage blanc-berry sorbet with strawberry shortcake and chocolate-vanilla ice cream with hazelnut feuilletine (a fancy name for crushed wafers) and chocolate foam.

Not to be outdone, Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Burger at The Mirage in Las Vegas offers show-stopping shakes. Master sommelier and beverage director Fred Dexheimer helped to create a ‘milkshake program that featured a toasted marshmallow ‘Stay Puft’ shake.

Caramel Copetta at Pizzeria Mozza

Finally, there’s Lee’s Drive-In in Hammond, La., where the diner-style menu has remained virtually unchanged in 47 years. Only the prices are different on Lee’s malts, shakes, sundaes, floats and frosties. The Nectar Soda is one of the favorites from the soda fountain, made with ice cream, nectar syrup and soda water, topped with whipped cream and a cherry for $3.25.

So, whether you like them nouveau-fancy or old-fashioned, you can still find soda-fountain-style desserts in America. In fact, one could even say they’ve become downright trendy.

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