Today is the official day of the root beer float, the soda fountain classic that, according to some sources, has pleased thirsty folks since the late 1800s.
A root beer float seems to contain more than just vanilla ice cream and root beer soda. Known as a brown cow in some areas, many people find memories from their childhood brought out by the creamy vanilla and spicy root beer. This frosty drink also encapsulates a different era, when the soda fountain and (sometimes adjoining) five and dime were the stomping grounds for young people. Sodas were really made by hand, and all of the ingredients were fresh.
Nowadays, the best place to find any ice cream float is in your own kitchen or a fast food restaurant. A&W is famous for their root beer floats, and my friends and I used to run down to McDonald’s once in a blue moon to order a small vanilla shake (in a medium cup to make room for the soda) and a small soda. We’d get some funny looks, but the sweet ice cream and bite from the soda was totally worth it.
But today I’m lifting a glass to celebrate National Root Beer Float Day. Below you’ll find the basic recipe for a root beer float along with some other soda fountain favorites. Do you see any missing treats? Are there other ice cream float variations that you enjoy?
Root Beer Float
Vanilla ice cream
Root beer soda
Place one large scoop of ice cream in your glass. Fill slowly with root beer. Stir gently with a straw and drink immediately.
For a simple adult version, add an ounce of vodka before pouring in the root beer to the above recipe, or check out Three Olives Vodka for recipes using their Root Beer Vodka.