Cherry Bourbon Cacao Nib Soda + an Ice Cream Float Collaboration

Vegan vanilla bean ice cream forms the base for a boozy float topped with homemade cherry bourbon cacao nib soda. A collaboration with Snixy Kitchen and HonestlyYUM, plus a video! 

I’ve been a great admirer of Todd’s quaffable concoctions since discovering HonestlyYUM two years ago. I’m sure that like me, most of you have whiled away the hours ogling his ridiculously pretty drinks. So when Sarah and I kidnapped him invited him to collaborate on our next video, something boozy, cold and liquid seemed the obvious choice. Thus we present to you our newest video: Trio of Floats. Please enjoy our creation (and make sure you have the sound turned up!). 

(You can watch our other videos here. [Also, Sarah playing her cat like a bagpipe – not to be missed].)We each made a different soda which we poured over Sarah’s vegan vanilla bean ice cream, a super creamy version made with coconut milk and cream, loads of vanilla, and a touch of coconut oil and corn syrup to keep it pliable.

Hilarity ensued.



We ingested insane amounts of ice cream.


This float starts with fresh cherries simmered with cacao nibs, vanilla bean and a judicious amount of sugar. When cooled and strained, I mix it with bourbon and a squeeze of lime juice to make the flavors pop. It makes a tasty soda simply mixed with sparkling water and ice. But poured over Sarah’s ice cream, the flavors jump to life.



Earthy cacao nibs whisper of chocolate against sweet cherry juice and tangy bourbon. Vanilla smoothes the flavors which are sharpened with lime. And ice cream makes everything better.




Cherries are peaking in California right now, with several varieties available at the markets. Look for a deep red variety such as Bing or Chelan, and reserve some doubles for garnishing the glasses. This makes a smallish batch, but feel free to double or triple the soda should you find yourself with a glut of cherries – the syrup will keep, refrigerated, for at least a couple of weeks.

The only thing better than a cherry bourbon cacao nib float? A trio of floats! See Sarah and Todd’s sites for their insanely tasty recipes.

All images and video shot in collaboration with Todd and Sarah

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With a cherry on top:
Cherry Vanilla Maple Shrub
Chocolate Cherry Skillet Blondie + Vanilla Bourbon Frozen Yogurt
Roasted Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream with Bourbon and Chocolate

Cherry Bourbon Cacao Nib Ice Cream Floats {vegan option}

Make this soda when you come into a glut of cherries. The soda is heavenly on its own and will keep, refrigerated, for up to a week. Or pour it over scoops of vanilla bean ice cream, vegan or not, and enjoy right away.

Cherry Cacao Nib Syrup:
{Makes enough for 4 drinks}

2 cups (~230 g) sweet, dark cherries
1/2 cup (100 g) organic blonde cane sugar
6 tablespoons (25 g) cacao nibs
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup (235 ml) water

Place the cherries in a smallish saucepan and add the sugar, cacao nibs, and vanilla pod and scrapings. Use a muddle stick to mash the cherries to a rough pulp; it’s fine to leave the pits in. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil over a medium flame, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, cover, and steep until cool, 1 hour and up to several hours. Strain through a mesh sieve and into a bowl, pressing on the solids firmly to extract all the good liquid. Discard the solids (or nom the cherry bits if you like.) Chill until cold. The syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.

Per soda:
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90 ml) Cherry Cacao Nib Syrup
1/4 cup (60 ml) bourbon
squeeze lime juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) sparkling water

Combine the syrup, bourbon and lime juice in a jar or bottle. Add the sparkling water and stir to combine.

For float:
2 scoops vanilla ice cream or vegan vanilla bean ice cream (homemade or store bought)Scoop the ice cream into a 12-ounce glass and top with the ice cream. Garnish with a couple of cherries if you like. Enjoy immediately.

52 thoughts on “Cherry Bourbon Cacao Nib Soda + an Ice Cream Float Collaboration”

  1. Raced over from Sarah's to see this culinary creation of deliciousness, because… it included cocoa nibs, cherry and bourbon… tell me now, what in the world could be better than this!? Fabulous concoction, Alanna… drooling and sooo looking forward to our local cherries comin in. Should be within a few weeks! Thank you for your inspiration! Such a beautiful, fun post!

  2. Fun x 3!!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! This is the most fun collaboration post I have ever seen, not to mention a wonderful SUMMER recipes. I can't wait to see what you three will do next if the first one is OH-SO-FANTASTIC. <3 <3 <3

  3. Fabulous video…the outtakes are the best part! And gorgeous, gorgeous, GORGEOUS photos of multiply-flavored deliciousness! I'm completely out of superlatives…

  4. These are so much fun!! And I love your video! I haven't had an ice cream float in forever, but I'm craving one now! The colors are so bright and beautiful :)

  5. Ahhh my gosh Alanna, this is SO gorgeous and pretty! I love all the bright colors – this came in perfect timing because we've had several days of rain and gloom. So so beautiful!! And I absolutely love the "bloopers" at the end. Who hasn't had that experience of scooping out ice cream… and then finding out that it WON"T FALL? Hahaha, I could not stop giggling.

  6. These are the prettiest! and I love the video…though, now I'm thinking you probably stole it–floats, faces, friends, LIFE. But, seriously, these are the best colors and look amazingly delicious! It was so good to connect last weekend!!

    1. Oh crap, you got me! ;) Thanks so much lady! It was SO good to meet you and I hope we get to hang more in the near future. (I got to taste a Blue Star donut on Sunday and you were right – heads and tails above Voodoo!) xoxo

    1. Thanks Alyssa! There must be nibs about somewhere what with all the fancy French baking that goes on there, no? Hope you can get your hands on some soon!

  7. Oh, you three geniuses. These floats! They are the most lovely! I was thinking of yours on my weekly farmer's market trip this week- cherries are on the thumbs up list!!

  8. I've tried Sarah's ice cream, and it is spectacular!! I absolutely LOVE this video collaboration, and I don't blame any of you for consuming vast amounts of ice cream.

    It was so great meeting you in Portland a few weekends ago! Hope to see you again some time soon!

  9. Wow. I mean wow…
    This looks absolutely wonderful (from those colors to that ice cream) and your pictures… Wow… I'm left speechless.

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