Yessss, Creamsicles! Definitely my favorite child of the popsicle family! Unlike a popsicle, which is usually just frozen fruit juice on a stick, creamsicles are made with a vanilla ice cream center surrounded by a layer of flavored ice, usually orange or cherry. This makes for a creamier, mellower popsicle than the burst of bright flavor in an all-ice popsicle. I love them because you get the best of both worlds: the sweet flavor of the orange exterior mixed with the deliciousness of the vanilla ice cream inside. I don’t know how else to describe creamsicles but super summer and super yummy!
Traditionally, creamsicles are ice cream/popsicle frozen confections on a stick, but when you’re looking creatively–and when you consider that “Creamsicle” is a registered trademark of the Unilever company–anything that mixes that cream-and-citrus taste is worthy of the creamsicle moniker. Which is why so many ice cream shops offer creamsicle flavors that aren’t stuck on a stick. I may have recommended them many times before, but the verdict is still a huge thumbs up every time for Lula’s Sweet Apothecary. Their cashew-based vegan ice cream surprises every dairyphile that comes their way, giving them a creamy, superb experience with an ice cream that has no dairy products whatsoever. Did you ever expect something like that from a vegan product?! It fits so well with their creamsicle flavor, too: the seemingly contrary chemical combination of citrus and cream is no problem here, where the “cream” is all vegan, and the citrus (as well as the rest of the ingredients) are organic and freshly made daily. You can get your creamsicle on its own, or paired with any number of Lula’s other unique flavors–like root beer, cake batter, or Irish stout!
Lula’s Sweet Apothecary
516 E 6th St (between Avenue A & Avenue B)
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“This place is adorably small with a retro vibe. I couldn’t help but dance a little while waiting in line. Wifey Monique (who organized an ice cream crawl with this place as the last stop), Phil and I shared a double scoop ($5.50) of the orange creamsicle and peanut butter chocolate cookie. While many preferred the latter, I quite enjoyed the orange creamsicle! It was rich and subtly sweet.”–Julia B.
“Vegan ice cream? At first I thought to myself – Bleech! After eating all the terrific ice cream concoctions throughout this crawl the last thing I wanted to put in my mouth was bland organic vegan nasty stuff. Boy, was I wrong! I had a cup and tried two flavors in it – creamsicle and peanut butter fudge. Both flavors stood out – bold and sweet. Definitely not bland at all. Yes, the consistency of the ice cream is a bit different but still very good as compared to regular ice cream.”–Phil H.
The taste of creamsicles also reminds me of that gone-but-never-forgotten shopping mall staple in the 80s and 90s, Orange Julius. How I wish we even had malls to have Orange Julius in the city! But trips to amusement parks and suburbs in my childhood always meant a big cup of frothy orange juice and cream, so sweet you’d run around in the air-conditioned mall for hours afterwards. I still don’t know what was in those bad boys to this day, other than whatever it was, it was delicious. You can still get that taste back in a way; you just have to wait a little while. And by that, I mean wait on the ever-present long lines at any Shake Shack location! While they may be known for their exemplary burgers, there’s definitely something to the “shake” part of Shake Shack’s name. Their ice cream is spun fresh at each Shack location in a number of classic yet yummy flavors, like peanut butter, caramel, or “black & white,” a send-up to the ubiquitous New York cookie. You can mix their shakes with milk, coffee, or make it a Vitamin Creamsicle Shake, made with David Kirsch Orange Super Juice. (I still don’t really know what that means but maybe really good orange juice?) It’s all the best elements of a creamsicle mixed into a milkshake–the epitome of Orange Julius resurrected. While you’re here, might as well get a Shackburger and some fries while you’re waiting–I mean, you need to get something for the Creamsicle Shake to wash down!
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“In addition, their shakes are pretty nice too. The regular flavors are what you’d expect, but what I really like is the Vitamin Creamsicle shake. Its a strange mixture of orange juice, ice cream, and what tastes like those flintstones vitamins your mother used to give you every morning. It’s weird, but its good.”–Marc B.
“Not only are the burgers a-mazing. The fries are delish…but the point of this review is the creamsicle shake! Insane. Next time I go back I am making that solely my meal. Too decadent with a burger and fries but man they compliment each other well. Perfect to share with two straws 1950’s style with a date or close friend :)”–Joey R.
But to really enjoy the childhood thrill of the creamy, citrusy creamsicle when you’re an adult…you’ve got to add some booze into the mix 😉 Isn’t that every grownup’s dream, to get a nostalgic kick yet still feel like they’ve got one foot in adulthood? The Levee bar in Williamsburg seems to think so. One of their signature cocktails is the Dreamsicle, made out of Stoli Vanilla and orange soda. It ends up tasting exactly like the creamsicles you had as a kid, but with the extra punch of getting drunk while you’re at it! What better way to reminisce than when you’re wasted? For more nostalgic mixed drinks, try the Beam & Cream–Jim Beam and cream soda. Maybe you can head to the Pagoto Ice Cream Shop down the street and pick up a scoop of vanilla before your bar-hopping night begins, and ask the bartender if they can slip the scoop into your drink? Now that would be a delicious ice cream soda!
212 Berry St (at N. 3rd Street), Williamsburg
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“This is where I discovered that one can mix vanilla vodka and orange soda and end up with a seriously delicious drink that is so easy to consume that if you’re not careful when you re-create it at home, you’ll make all your underweight girl friends barf. But it’s so good that they’ll keep drinking it. (It’s called the Dreamsicle at the Levee…tastes like a creamsicle but gets you druuuuunk!)”–Lindsay D.
“Yes. It’s true. The Levee is cheap, has pretty decent food (tho I was sad the bun on my chili cheese dog was not toasted) and they have the Dreamsicle. That is orange soda and vanilla vodka and it is as delicious as it sounds. Comes in a pint glass, drinks like candy…basically trouble in a glass. They also have great shot and beer combos (I particularly liked the Lonestar + shot of tequila combo…yum).”–Erin L.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!