Every week, we’re spotlighting a different food blogger who’s shaking up the blogosphere with tempting recipes and knockout photography. Here, Graham Blackall of Glazed & Confused shares his take on a favorite New Orleans flavor reminiscent of almonds and vanilla, which locals call “nectar.”
Photo: Graham Blackall
Nectar Cream Soda
Nectar is a flavor pretty much exclusive to south Louisiana. Though many might figure that something with the word ‘nectar’ would taste like a tropical fruit, nectar syrup is actually a neon-pink concoction overflowing with almond and vanilla flavorings. I.L. Lyons, a local pharmacist who relocated from South Carolina to New Orleans following the Civil War, developed the flavor in the late 19th century and began selling it to local soda fountains. The syrup became an instant hit, and K&B [the now-defunct, popular local soda fountain chain] made Lyon’s syrup its signature flavor.
As soda fountains came into decline and ICEE deemed the flavor too regionally specific to produce into frozen treats, the flavor vanished from the scene. That is, until the late 1990s, when it was revived into a line of syrups and bottled sodas. The flavor lives on today, predominantly at local sno-ball stands.
I know that many readers are from outside of Louisiana, so I’ve developed the perfect recipe to recreate this classic New Orleans flavor at home.
Nectar Syrup (recipe below)
1 tablespoon condensed milk
Vanilla ice cream, to serve
Pour about an inch of the syrup into a tall drinking glass before adding soda water, stopping 1 inch from the rim. Add a tablespoon of condensed milk, and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Makes 1 pint
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons almond extract
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 tsp red food coloring
Over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to boil in a saucepan. Let boil for 10 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, add in the extracts and food coloring. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 month.
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