over a century, Coke Floats have delivered cool, creamy refreshment on a hot
day. And while the most common recipe for the soda fountain favorite consists
Take Martha Stewart, for example, who put her signature spin on the classic concoction while growing up in the tiny, tree-lined township of Nutley, N.J. -- about a half-hour drive from her company’s offices in New York City. With Labor Day weekend signaling summer’s end in just a few days, we asked Martha to share with us her Coke Float story, plus a few tips and recipes.
Do you have an earliest Coke Float memory?
I was one of
six children. My mother was a sixth-grade teacher, and my father was a
pharmaceutical salesman. We really didn’t have enough money for
In May or
June, when the weather started getting hot, we would walk to my friend’s house
after school, fill glasses with ice and pour
started making them with my own homemade whipped cream. We also froze
So your Coke Float recipe evolved over the years?
It did. It got more and more sophisticated. The videos we just filmed for my website feature three Coke Float recipes. Each one is progressively more modern.
Were your Coke Floats an immediate hit with friends and family?
Oh, gosh yes. Everybody loved the granita, and they still do. The tradition of handing down recipes is fun for me. Everyone loves to get new ideas.
Why did you use whipped cream instead of vanilla ice cream?
those days, people didn’t keep ice cream in their freezers. But everyone always
had heavy cream for their coffee… and it’s very easy to whip up cream. Like
In terms of presentation, is there a proper way to serve a Coke Float?
I like to
use a traditional
What about a garnish? Do you add anything?
No, just a straw and a long spoon.
Which do you prefer?
Both, because you have to scoop out the whipped cream with a spoon. You can also pick it out with a straw, of course, but that can take longer.
What foods pair well with a Coke Float?
As kids, tomato sandwiches were one of our favorite things to make and enjoy with our Coke Floats. We would take white bread, which was really good back then, and add sandwich spread -- mayonnaise filled with relish -- and a big slice of one of my father’s tomatoes. He was famous for the tomatoes he grew in our backyard. As we got older, we added cucumbers to the sandwiches.
Over the last few years, chefs and
bartenders have introduced some pretty interesting interpretations of the Coke
Float. In fact, I recently saw one with bacon. How daring are you when it comes
I guess I’m
more restrictive (laughs). Years ago, we featured a ham basted with
Our readers are gearing up for Labor Day. Any words of advice for cooking and entertaining over the holiday weekend?
Ease of preparation. You can cook out or have a picnic. Memorial Day, for me, heralds the beginning of summer, and Labor Day is the dead-end of summer. We’re not really looking forward to it this year because we’ve had such a nice summer! My family, we’re outdoor people, so we spend as much time outside as we possibly can. I plan to be in East Hampton (New York) and go to the beach and enjoy the last swimming of summer because it will be getting cold soon. Labor Day in East Hampton will be festive, with lots of dinner parties and afternoon gatherings. People are still entertaining, which is very nice. I love that.