We've already proven the merits of a boozy ice cream float: witness Diana Yen's unforgettable berry-Prosecco stunner from last summer. So we're bringing you three more varieties to take you through Labor Day weekend and ease you into the fall. Created by Pam Wiznitzer and made by bartender Bob Wagner—both from the Upper East Side bar Seamstress here in New York City—these spirited cocktails get their kick from a collection of Italian liqueurs known as amari, the effortlessly refreshing yet slightly bitter digestives that have gained a cult following in Europe yet still remain widely unknown here in the States. (Except, of course, for Aperol—more on that later.)
Each is distilled from herbs, roots, flowers and other natural ingredients that yield a distinctly nuanced flavor—one that pairs nicely with the sweetness of your favorite ice cream. Having guests for a Labor Day fête? Start the evening with a fragrant, reviving Aperol-infused strawberry sorbet float (recipe below), then follow up after dinner with an indulgent Cynar- or Averna-steeped classic. Or, better yet, set up a DIY spread for guests to make their own in only three easy steps. Just make sure you have enough glasses on hand—your guests are going to want seconds.
Aperol Sorbet Float
Aperol spritzes have become the unofficial drink of the summer thanks to the aperitif's mild orange and rhubarb notes. Here, the strawberry sorbet and citrusy soda heighten those flavors for a tasty and refreshing palate cleaner.
- 1½ ounces Aperol
- lemon-lime soda
- strawberry sorbet
Fill a highball glass with ice. Top with soda, leaving about 1½ inches of space from the top of the glass. Top with a scoop of strawberry sorbet, then pour a bit more soda to activate the float.
Averna Ice Cream Float
The slightly more bracing digestif known as Averna has a caramel-like flavor that recalls the taste of toasted marshmallows and pairs nicely with deeper flavors such as black cherry. Sip this chocolate-spiked take on a brisk fall evening in front of the fire.
- 1½ ounces Averna
- black–cherry soda
- chocolate ice cream
Fill a highball glass with ice. Top with soda, leaving about 1½ inches of space from the top of the glass. Top with a scoop of chocolate ice cream, then pour a bit more soda to activate the float.
Cynar Ice Cream Float
The only moderately more bitter digestif Cynar gets much of its flavor from artichokes, but don't let that deter you. This variation on the classic root beer float has a subtle herbal flavor that will have you coming back for more.
- 1½ oz Cynar
- root beer
- vanilla ice cream
Fill a highball glass with ice. Top with soda, leaving about 1½ inches of space from the top of the glass. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then pour a bit more soda to activate the float.