There’s still a lot of summer left—and plenty of time to feed customers’ ice cream dreams and other sweet cravings. Operators have debuted an array of tempting treats this season, from creamy shakes to fruity frappes and even plant-based ice cream cones. Here are seven sweet standouts to beat the heat.
1. Frozen custard times 4
Culver’s released four new frozen custard “flavors of the day” for summer, which are rotating into the lineup from June through September. First up was Creamy Lemon Crumble, lemon frozen custard swirled with crushed sugar cookies, followed by Midnight Toffee, espresso-infused dark chocolate topped with toffee bits. August’s flavor is Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, and September will bring Devil’s Food Cake. Quinn Adkins, Culver’s director of menu development, said in a statement that some of these new flavors have been in development for more than three years.
2. Cooling off with cold brews
Three new blended beverages launched at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf this summer. Showcasing fruity flavors are Mango Sunrise and Raspberry Sunset Blended Teas, the chain’s first cold-brew ice blended tea drinks that also boast a shot of creamy vanilla. On the more indulgent side is the Chocolate Cookie Latte blended drink, a combo of espresso with semisweet chocolate and cookie flavors.
3. Plant-based scoops
Baskin-Robbins is jumping on the plant-based trend with the debut of two vegan ice creams in August. Non-Dairy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is composed of cookie dough pieces, chocolate chunks and a chocolate ribbon, while Non-Dairy Chocolate Extreme contains chocolate chunks with a chocolate ribbon. Both are made with a base of coconut oil and almond butter. As with Culver’s, the new products took some time to develop—in this case, two years—before they were ready to market, according to Jeanne Bolger, Baskin-Robbins’ director of R&D.
4. Taste of the tropics
Key lime pie is traveling from its birthplace in Florida to flavor the newest concrete at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. The item—which is a mashup of an extra-thick shake and a frozen dessert—consists of creamy frozen custard blended with a slice of key lime pie. It’s served in a large cup topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs.
5. Shake a cake
Cake batter shakes are joining the roster at Sonic Drive-In this summer. The limited-time shakes blend the flavor of yellow cake batter with ice cream in two varieties: Yellow Cake and Oreo Cookie Yellow Cake. The nostalgic treats were created to remind guests of licking cake batter from the mixing bowl, said Scott Uehlein, VP of product innovation and development for Sonic. Along with the chain’s other shakes, the cake batter versions are available for half-price after 8 p.m. every evening during Sonic’s annual Summer Nights promotion.
6. Frosting the slushy
Krystal added soft-serve vanilla ice cream to three of its slushies to introduce customers to a new hybrid frozen beverage this summer. The Frosted Slushies come in three flavors: lemonade, grape and fruit punch. They are available until Sept. 23 for $1.50 on Krystal’s Sweet & Cold menu, which also includes sundaes, cones and shakes.
7. Sweet with a savory twist
For a sweet that can serve as a healthy snack or side, Gott’s Roadside is serving up watermelon wedges with mint and feta. The red, seedless watermelon also gets a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper and extra-virgin olive oil. But the Northern California chain isn’t abandoning guests seeking a more decadent option. A seasonal Blueberry Shake is also in the lineup—a combo of organic blueberry ice cream and organic milk.