Mango Tango Summer Floats


It’s still summer right? Lately, I’ve been so caught up in all the kitchen reno’s and weddings that I almost forgot to post these simply beautiful refreshing drinks.

They are 100 percent pretty enough to serve at your next party or whenever. I used to make floats all the time, until I figured out that there was more to this recipe than using a can of soda pop and a scoop of ice cream. These were just made on a whim one day with ingredients that were at hand, which in my opinion, is embarrassingly easy.

Let’s face it. I’m not a drinker, so you won’t see many cocktails on this blog BUT….if you do happen to see a recipe that can be spiked on here, feel free to let loose. This specific one can be made with any sparkling, non-alcoholic drink or just throw in some bubbly Proseco or champagne if you feel inclined.

Feeling extra summery? Add in a touch of purple like I did, with this fresh rosemary. How in the world can you not, when they produce these out of control purple flowers? COME ON.

Oh and another thingie…..this was one of the first things I created when the new kitchen was almost completed. I had the contractors in that day and was working at my island while they were drilling and installing the cabinetry. Good thing I use Manual Mode on my camera and put up a nice background! Amazing what you can blur out with a little tweaking. Which brings me to this. Many of you have asked what kind of camera I use and what modes I shoot in.

First of all, let me explain that I’m by far NOT a professional photographer. Ya, ya, I know my pics are pretty good, but by no means are they STELLAR. Having said that, I’m going to give you a few tips here today.

  1. Get yourself a DSLR camera. It doesn’t have to be top of the line (although that is something that I have contemplated changing, because I think I need to step it up a notch). I use a Canon Rebel T5, with the lens kit that is included, plus a 50 mm lens for close up shots. I also bought a Vivitar Magnification Kit which is great for ……..I dunno…….getting up close to the fur on a peach? It was something that I was told to buy a while ago and have used it once. Not necessary, but looks impressive in your camera bag.
  2. Shoot in daylight. How many times have you heard this from food bloggers and food photographers? A billion? Yep. They are ALL right. It’s absolutely imperative that you take advantage of any daylight you can grab to shoot the best photos of food. I like shooting in my north facing window, but now that my kitchen island faces south, it works just as well. Just be aware of too much light overpowering the images. Use reflective boards and try to shoot without bright sunlight. What happens when it’s already dark and there is no daylight? Well. I have an indoor lighting system which I use once in a blue moon, because frankly, it’s just not my cup of tea. It’s a last resort, and if I’m desperate for a photo, I will set it up and make it work. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE NATURAL LIGHT. NOTHING…….
  3. Manual Mode v.s. other modes. Okay, you’re going to unbox your camera and wonder what the heck to do with that dial at the top. There are lots of options here and whatever you do, NEVER, I repeat never, shoot your food in AUTO. I think they should rename this mode to L. (lazy mode). Learn to use your camera, take a photography course – I did a day course and it was invaluable. I tend to shoot in Manual all the time now and it’s the absolute BEST. I will dedicate a full post on how to shoot in Manual, but in the meantime, I will let you in on my favourite settings. Depending on the light in the room, I shoot with my ISO set at anywhere from 200 to 800, APERTURE at f2.5 to f4.5 (if I really want a good background blur, I can scale that down to f1.8) and my shutter speed hovers between 1/50 and 1/100 depending on how much light I’m dealing with.
  4. To tripod or not to tripod, that is the question. You may not like this, but I ALWAYS shoot freehand. I need to get up into my food and I find a tripod just gets in my business. What about camera shake? I balance my camera against an object or just hold it really tightly to ensure that my hand doesn’t move. Videos are a different story. That’s the only time I use a fixed position on a tripod.
  5. Shooting in the Raw. And no, that doesn’t mean taking pictures in your birthday suit. I shoot all my photos in raw format. Yep, that means that camera and computer space is eaten alive by the shear size of these photos. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE SHOOTING RAW.  This is why. When shooting in a format like JPEG, image information is compressed and lost. Because no information is compressed with RAW, you’re able to produce higher quality images, as well as correct problem images that would be unrecoverable if shot in the JPEG format.
  6. STORAGE. Buy yourself an external hard drive to place your photos on, so you have room to store them. Here’s a quick fact. I love editing my photos on my Ipad. I have 64GB of storage space on there. What I need to do is change my settings on my mobile device to store my pictures at low resolution. As we speak, I have over 18,000 photos on there. Is that nuts? Yes. I also store all my photos on ICloud, but I don’t trust those APPLE people as far as I can throw them. I have a large 2TB hard-drive which has every single photo I have ever taken. I don’t even want to know what that amounts to, because I shoot 200 plus pictures for every single recipe I do.

That’s it for now. I don’t want to bore you too much, but I am going to give you more tips on how to make your food look beautiful in photos in an upcoming post. Stay tuned and in the meantime, try these drinks. They are guaranteed to float your boat.

Mango Tango Summer Floats
Serves: 1
  • 1 part mango juice
  • 1 part sparkling water, proseco or champagne
  • 1 part fresh tangerine juice
  • 1 part pink lemonade
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • 2 - 3 tangerine segments, seedless
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • crushed ice
  1. Fill your glasses with crushed ice.
  2. For each drink, place first four ingredients in the glass, add in tangerine segments, scoop of ice cream and garnish with fresh rosemary.

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