This orange Julius swaps out the traditional egg whites with sweetened condensed milk, for a tangy and safe summer treat. Photographed July 4, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

This orange Julius swaps out the traditional egg whites with sweetened condensed milk, for a tangy and safe summer treat. Photographed July 4, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

On the strawberry patch: Adding some orange to the red, white and blue

A quintessentially American drink cools off any Fourth of July celebration.

By Tressa Dale

For the Peninsula Clarion

On the morning of July 4th, my husband and I took our son to Kenai to see the American Legion train engine before the parade. It was hours before the start, but people were already lining the streets with their folding chairs and coolers, decked out in glitter and ribbons and smiles. My son was much more interested in the classic cars than he was in the train (just like my dad), so we walked down the sidewalk to count the tires and admire all the custom paint and polished chrome.

As we passed each group gathered around each shining car, I overheard snippets of conversations, bits of stories of summers past and of old friends, some punchlines and snickers and inside jokes. The atmosphere was nostalgic and somewhat bittersweet, as it often is for events that commemorate the past. Our world is constantly changing, and nothing ever stays the same, so we cling to our traditions and memories to manufacture some permanence in our impermanent lives.

I got my very first job in the summer right after high school at the orange Julius stand in the Northway Mall in Anchorage. I had never heard of them before I worked there, but for some of us those frothy concoctions are an icon of summertime and nostalgic Americana, so they make the perfect treat for a sunny Fourth of July.

The original drink contained raw egg whites, which we now know are not safe to eat, so my version uses sweetened condensed milk instead. Traditionalists will say that the egg whites are irreplaceable. And to a certain degree they are correct, because my version doesn’t taste or feel exactly like the original, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious, and now it certainly won’t make anyone sick, so I consider it an improvement.

Ingredients:

6 ounces (or ½ a container) frozen orange juice concentrate

½ cup milk

1 cup cold water

¼ cup sweetened condensed milk

2 cups ice

Makes 2 large drinks (around 12 ounces)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 10 seconds or until smooth.

Garnish with an orange wedge and drink it before it melts. A frozen glass will help to keep your drink icy.

Try adding ½ a frozen banana, or ½ cup frozen mango, or a handful of frozen strawberries to make new flavors. Or you could try using different frozen juice concentrates (POG juice is an excellent choice) to make as many different variations as you can dream up. Over the year or so I worked there, I made up about a thousand different drinks and was rarely disappointed … however, I will suggest not trying pineapple and blackberry because, trust me, it was awful.

An orange Julius is nostalgic for me because it reminds me of all the excitement and trepidation that came with my first weeks and months out of the nest; the thrill and pride and terror at the reality of my situation and the consequences of my own independence. I have come a long way from the timid girl in the smoothie shop in the mall, and I still have a long way to go, changing for the better all the time, just as our great country does.

Tressa Dale is a U.S. Navy veteran and culinary and pastry school graduate from Anchorage. She currently lives in Nikiski with her husband, 1-year-old son and two black cats.

More in Life

Rich chocolate pudding can use up excess milk products. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Pudding to the rescue

Chocolate dessert saves a feast gone awry.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Enough is enough

Ole Mother Nature must have misplaced her backup box of vintage dregs from a Cold Duck wine vat.

Homer writer Richard Chiappone. (Photo by Joshua Veldstra)
‘Hunger of Crows’ perfect for winter reading

Chiappone’s first novel is set in Homer, Anchor Point.

Fresh dinner rolls made without the addition of dairy. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Baking for everyone

Dinner rolls skip the dairy, but not the flavor

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: ‘Tis the Season

The Kenai Community Library has always been one of the stars in the crown of the community.

Homer News Ben Mitchell, left, serves spaghetti to helper Pat Wells in the kitchen at a past Share the Spirit spaghetti feed. (Michael Armstrong/Homer News file)
Looking to share some holiday spirit? Here’s how

Share the Spirit serves the Homer community by donating food, essential needs and Christmas presents.

Appease your child’s picky palate with these tasty Tater Tots. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tots to be thankful for

Two years ago, I spent the entirety of Thanksgiving Day in my green rocking chair, cradling my newborn son.

File
Minister’s Message: Keep in step

Sometimes it takes going half way around the world to learn how to “keep in step” as I journey.

Shelli and Mike Gordon pose in October 2011 at their Halibut Cove, Alaska, home in an Alaska Gothic version of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting. (Photo courtesy of Mike Gordon)
‘Dagnabit’ features tales of ’80s wild Alaska

Gordon’s second book also tells of Ruben Gaines, creator of Chilkoot Charlie.

Before boiling, this handmade pasta is rolled, cut and tossed in flour to keep from sticking. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Pasta by hand

Learning one of the most important task of the Italian kitchen: making the pasta.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
The Great Thanksgiving dessert debate

Our holiday gathering is going to be smaller than it sometimes is, and it was argued that we didn’t need two desserts.

Dianne Spence-Chorman’s “Fig Study” is one of the works showing in the Homer Council on the Arts “Fun wtih 5x7” show through Dec. 22, 2021, at the gallery in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
‘Fun with 5×7’ offers affordable art

HCOA annual art show presents art in a variety of media, all in 5x7 format.