By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
There are many annoying things about Facebook but every once in a while it has a redeeming feature: reconnecting with old friends and long-lost family members. Such was the case with us this year. We were fortunate enough to find three cousins with whom we’d lost touch. Or maybe they’ve been avoiding us. In any event, we’ve had fun exchanging old family photos and sharing stories. Our cousin, Tracy Nutting Sanborn, reminded me that one of her favorite holiday traditions was our dad’s Christmas morning ice cream fizzes. Or as he called them, “The Good Fairy Fizzes”. In any event, in the spirit of the season, I am sharing a bit about the fizz and Pop’s famous recipe.
First, it’s important to understand that Christmas Eve at our parent’s house was always a rollicking affair. Mom put out a buffet spread mid-afternoon and people began to arrive in droves. Tons of their friends plus dad’s cousin and his family were there every year. As we kids got older our friends would escape their sedate family gatherings to party at the Sparrow house. There was always lots of laughter, joking, singing, and a virtual river of alcohol. Somewhere in there we always opened our gifts. Because we needed to get to some religious service at midnight, you ask? Au contraire. It was because the next morning our paternal grandmother, along with Tracy, her parents and her siblings would arrive for Christmas breakfast.
Now that I am older I look back on that tradition and think our parents were out of their minds. The last of the Christmas Eve guests generally didn’t leave until the wee hours of the morning. And then promptly at 10 o’clock, our relatives would arrive for breakfast. And this was no Chinet paper plate or Red Solo Cup affair. For some reason our mother was a bit intimidated by our grandmother. Even after 30 years of marriage and, I might add, producing three spectacular grandchildren. So we had to haul out the Wedgwood china and the good silver every Christmas morning.
Just imagine for a moment our mom, probably with a bit of a headache and definitely with too little sleep, up at the crack of dawn to make a three course breakfast. Our dad, always the peacemaker in the family, tried his best to help but honestly, anything even remotely near the kitchen was not his strong suit. So one year, after tasting an ice cream fizz at a friend’s house, he decided the drink was just the ticket to liven things up on Christmas morning. He said he put his own “spin” on the recipe, which I think means that he added just a pinch more gin. Whatever he did to it, the result was magic! Suddenly, after just one glass of Pop’s Ice Cream Fizz, the world (and in particular, our mother) was in a happier place. So as a public service, just in case you find yourself in need of some Christmas cheer, here is Pop’s recipe:
POP’S CHRISTMAS ICE CREAM FIZZ
Fill a blender 1/4 full with ice cubes
Add 6 jiggers of gin
Add 4 scoops of French Vanilla ice cream
Add 1 small bottle of soda water (the size you get in a 6-pack)
My brother Bob adds an egg so the white adds some froth, brother Jack doesn’t add an egg. Personally, I’d add it just because you can then claim it’s a protein drink.
Just blend it well and – voila – you have a concoction sure to put a rosy hue on everyone and every thing!
Our mom served them in a wine glass with a dash of nutmeg. As we got older we would conspire with Pop and ditch the wine glass for a chilled beer mug from the freezer. Saved having to go back for seconds…or thirds.
We hope you and yours have a very happy holiday season and if you find yourself getting just a bit Scroogy, try Pop’s Ice Cream Fizz. It’s a Christmas miracle.