4th of July Ice Cream Float Party

See how to set up an ice cream float bar for 4th of July parties, that adults and kids will love. Check out these ideas and tasty combinations in a red, white, and blue theme. This dessert bar is the perfect idea for a 4th of July party

white table with 4th of July decorations and ice cream in bowl

4th of July dessert bar

What could be more festive and refreshing for a red, white & blue party than ice cream floats? Is it a drink? Is it dessert? You be the judge! These tasty combinations are terrific for kids and grownups alike!

You can make them with or without alcohol so everyone’s happy. Add this to your list of summer party ideas for Memorial day and Labor day too.

4th of July ice cream float bar in red, white, and blue colors

Ice cream float bar ideas

I find that any time I can set up a “serve yourself” party bar, it gives me more freedom to mingle with my guests. It doesn’t have to be over the top or have a dozen choices either. In fact, the fewer the better in some cases.

I set up this ice cream float station using traditional red, white, and blue colors, and added pops of gold for a modern touch. The theme-colored food helps set the scene, and you could tie these fun red, white & blue balloons to the table for added decoration.

red, white, and blue ice cream scoops in a large bowl with fresh berry bowls, overhead view

Best party tips

  • Make sure sodas are nice and chilled. Put them on ice in a drink tub, for easy access.
  • Purchase the 8-ounce sodas, or individual serving bottles for better presentation.
  • Pre-scoop ice cream and keep it in a bowl in the freezer until ready to use.
  • Place the bowl of ice cream on top of a larger bowl that holds a bed of ice.
  • Use 8-ounce jars as drinking glasses. They’re an inexpensive party solution.
  • Add color and detail to the side of the glass jars by adding a strip of decorative tape in the party colors.
  • Make sure to provide plenty of paper straws or biodegradable spoons for each ice cream float glass.
  • Transfer flavored liqueurs into small decanters with pour spouts, for easy serving.
  • Put berries in pretty bowls that match the décor.

PARTY TIP: Prepare two or more bowls of ice cream scoops so you can put one on the table while the others are in the freezer ready to switch out when the first batch is empty.

red, white, and blue ice cream scoops in a bowl on ice
soft drink cans on ice in clear tub


Ice cream soda vs. float

There’s actually a big difference between an ice cream float and an ice cream soda. Ice cream soda is made with soda water to get that fizzy effervescence, and flavored syrup for added flavor. An ice cream float is simply the combination of ice cream and a soft drink.

Best sodas for floats

The traditional soda is Root Beer for the classic root beer float. However, as you can see in our party bar ideas, you can get creative with Coke or Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, ginger ale, Sprite, or any other carbonated soft drink flavor.

red, white, and blue ice cream bar with berries in bowls

What you need

For this ice cream float dessert table, I shopped the grocery store for RED raspberry sherbet, WHITE vanilla ice cream, and I picked up a quart of BLUE sorbet from Baskin Robbins. That’s all you need for 4th of July themed ice cream floats.

With just three flavors of frozen dessert and two types of soda you can make an endless array of flavored floats. But I’ve also added some tasty liqueurs for an adult beverage.

For the soda portion of the floats use ginger ale because it’s clear and allows the colors of the ice cream to show through. It’s also great because it’s less sweet than other types of soft drinks. Ginger ale allows the fruitiness of the sherbet and sorbet to shine through while adding effervescence and classic ginger flavor.

Don’t stop there though. Include a more traditional soda to mix with the vanilla ice cream. I chose Dr. Pepper for a bit of a twist. But classic Root Beer or Coca-Cola make fantastic ice cream floats.


  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Raspberry sherbet
  • Daiquiri Ice flavored sorbet
  • Ginger Ale
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Coconut rum
  • Blue Curacao
  • Red Pama liqueur or grenadine
  • Fresh blueberries, raspberries, and cherries (or Maraschino cherries)
  • Whipped cream

How do you make an ice cream float

  1. To make the floats, all you need to do is add two scoops of ice cream, sherbet, or sorbet.
  2. Fill the glass with soda, like ginger ale or cola.
  3. Top with whipped cream and garnish with some fresh berries.
pouring ginger ale over red sherbet in clear glass
red, tan, and blue ice cream floats on white table

Ice cream float combinations

You can get super creative mixing flavors. With a dessert or drink bar like this, the options are endless. Here are some ideas.

  • Red ice cream float – raspberry sherbet + ginger ale + whipped cream + fresh raspberry garnish
  • Classic ice cream float – vanilla ice cream + Dr. Pepper + whipped cream + fresh cherry garnish
  • Blue ice cream float – daiquiri Ice flavor sorbet + ginger ale + splash coconut rum + splash Blue Curacao + whipped cream + fresh blueberry garnish
  • Create an all-in-one combo with a scoop each of the red, white, & blue flavors. Top with ginger ale.
  • Add the ginger ale to vanilla ice cream and a splash of Blue Curacao.
  • Or add a splash of rum to the raspberry & ginger ale combo. 

I think you can guess which flavor was my favorite – daiquiri of course! The raspberry was a strong second, and my children loved the classic vanilla.

Check out all the flavor combinations and let me know what you think in the comments below.

More ice cream party ideas

Try these ice cream party ideas to cool off at summer gatherings.

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