A Tribute to Woody (Homemade Ginger Ale Float)

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Vernors Ginger Ale is a Michigan icon ... sweet, gingery, fizzy. It's a golden ginger ale as opposed to a "dry" one and makes the claim of being the oldest surviving ginger ale in the country. Slogans have included "Detroit's Drink", "Deliciously Different" "Barrel Aged, Bold Taste, and "It's what we drink around here". I'm not sure if it's readily available all over the country, but if it is, try it. Served cold, it's refreshing, served hot, it's good for what ails you. Make a shake or float with it ... but if you can't find it, here's a recipe for the ginger syrup and the shake or float. Oh, by the way, "Woody" is the gnome that appears on the can or bottle. - inpatskitcheninpatskitchen

Food52 Review: In any form, ice cream floats are a delightfully lazy route to a happy summer. Here, with one extra step, you get a kicky homemade ginger syrup, lifted by seltzer and bear-hugged by slow-melting vanilla ice cream. It's a fitting ode to a proud Michigan soda pop tradition, made with a handful of ingredients you probably have socked away in your kitchen -- your hot, sticky kitchen. Best go make yourself a float. - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 2


For the ginger syrup

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the float or shake

  • 6 large scoops great quality vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup of the ginger syrup
  • 3 cups sparkling seltzer water
In This Recipe


For the ginger syrup

  1. Combine all ingredients except the vanilla in a saucepan. bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes until reduced to one cup liquid.
  2. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and cool and strain.

For the float or shake

  1. For a shake: place the ice cream, syrup and seltzer in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into 2 tall glasses and grab some straws.
  2. For a float: place three scoops of the ice cream in each of the 2 tall glasses. Mix the syrup with the seltzer and then pour half over each ice cream filled glass. This time grab the straws and a long spoon!

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