As my ice cream tour through New Orleans comes to a close, I had put Nectar Soda off as long as I could. I'm not really a fan of floats or any form of soda in ice cream, so naturally I was a bit skeptical about the offering that promised to revisit the flavors from the soda fountains of yesterday. Traditionally prepared by combining a bright, pink syrup that tastes of almond and vanilla with a shooting stream of carbonated water and finishing the end result with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, New Orleans Ice Cream Company took the idea and do what they do best. Transform it into incredible ice cream.
Born and bred in New Orleans, Nectar Soda has been served at soda counters for decades. I.L. Lyons, who moved to New Orleans from South Carolina after the Civil War, created the nectar syrup and ultimately began selling it to local fountains who introduced it to patrons across the city. Despite the era, I still don't think that I'd be ordering this anytime soon. After removing the top, I'm frightened to find the ice cream shares the same vibrant coloring as the lid itself. Nectar Soda contains 190 calories per serving, which is quite a few less than many of the other base flavors from New Orleans Ice Cream Company. With the lower calorie count, I expected the ice cream to be less dense than others, but it remained thick and substantial.
For some reason the bright pink base had my taste buds predicting bubble gum, but the end result was much different. Instead the fluffy, cotton-candy looking ice cream had one of the most unique tastes of their entire lineup. The subtle flavors of vanilla, almonds and the vivid coloring come together to create a complex combination that's deserving of it's nectar name. Described as a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants, nectar is the same stuff that makes honey sweet, all while attracting pollinators.
Although this flavor doesn't need pollination, New Orleans Ice Cream Company has put together a medley of flavors that will surely attract those interested in an ice cream novelty. Something that I was scared of at first sight quickly became a flavor that I ended up really enjoying. After growing accustomed to the glowing shade of pink, I was able to fully enjoy the smooth consistency of the simple, yet eve-evolving flavors within each bite. Since this wasn't something readily available in the Carolinas, I even had a few friends help me put away this last, peculiar pint.
The overall consensus was the same. The odd, out of control coloring didn't match the flavors inside, but the end result was that everyone wanted more than the sample spoonful I had given them. There's something to be said about the fact that an offering that lacked of mix-ins was able to win a handful of people over without objection. Just moans, groans and smiles. This is a flavor I would never have ordered if I had been left to my own accord, but after sampling some, I'm glad I was given the opportunity. As were my friends.
Where I Found It: Ice Cream Source