A Grown-Up Twist On The World’s Favorite Float

Asked by: Miss Brandyn Jacobson PhD

Root Beer Float Recipe

Root Beer Float Recipe

Nobody can resist a glass of Root Beer Float. We just can’t get enough of it! Children and adults alike enjoy the sweet and fizzy taste of root beer combined with delicious vanilla ice cream. Surely, this irresistible float is perfect for hot summer days and for any occasion. How about adding a little more fun into your Root Beer Float by trying this recipe specially made for adults? We guarantee you’ll love it! 

A Grown-Up Twist On The World's Favorite Float

Spice it up by adding a dash of liqueur! Here’s how:

Jump to Recipe

An easy recipe for a delicious Root Beer Float features a frosty mug of root beer mingled with scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream.

The best Root Beer Float is this one because you can make it at home in less than 5 minutes!

Top your ice cream floats with whipped cream and cherries to make them extra fun.

Two frosted rootbeer floats in handled mugs, topped with whipped cream and cherries, with red and white striped straws.

It’s not hard to make a root beer float! In fact, this frozen treat is super simple to make, with just a few ingredients and very little time.

Once you understand the concept you’ll be able to make root beer floats, Coke floats, or any other type of ice cream float that you can dream up.

Do you remember the first time you had a root beer float?

I do. I must have been around 7 years old and we were visiting my grandparents in Phoenix, in the summer.

Have you ever been to Arizona in the summer? Must be why I find Sacramento so tolerable. Let’s just say it’s hot.

I still remember all of us greedy kids, still in our swim suits, having been cooling off in the pool all day, lined up in the kitchen, wide eyed as we watched my father scoop ice cream into tall glasses, and then slowly pour root beer over them.

The concoction would start to foam up and sometimes spill over (of course we would lick the sides of the glass when that happened). The foam would eventually recede a bit and we would get another dose of root beer to top us off.

Then we would poke at the ice cream with our straws until it dislodged from the sides of the glass and floated to the surface.

Sometimes my father added the scoops of ice cream to our root beers. But usually it was ice cream first, because then you could control the foam up more carefully.

If you just add a scoop of ice cream to root beer, better be ready to catch all the foam as it comes erupting over the sides!

Next to a vinegar and baking soda volcano, a root beer float is God’s gift to chemistry experiments for kids. Not that we cared at all about the chemistry.

Where does the foam come from? Little bubbles of carbonation sticking to the sides of the ice cream and attracting other bubbles until the bubbles get really big and float to the surface. (You can read all about it here.)

And why does the ice cream float? Because it’s ice cream, churned with air and composed of a lot of fat, both which are lighter than water.

Now if you really want to get all Martha on us you can make your own root beer from scratch, and serve it with homemade vanilla ice cream. In many parts of the states sassafras grows wild, and you can easily make sassafras root beer from it. If you have access to sassafras, I highly recommend giving it a go!

Do you have a favorite childhood memory about root beer floats? Please let us know about it in the comments.

  • Vanilla ice cream

  1. Spoon a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream into a tall glass. Slowly pour root beer into the glass, allowing the foam to rise and then recede before adding more root beer.

    Serve with straws and spoons.

Root beer float cupcakes from Deb of Smitten Kitchen

Root beer float cake from Joy the Baker

Where the bubbles come from

Origins of the ice cream soda

Reverse root beer float from Frozen Fix



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root beer float

What would you define as a classic American treat? Maybe something sweet like key lime pie or a sundae? Or, maybe something more savoury like a giant pretzel or tater tots? But, what about the ultimate concoction of the root beer float? In today’s blog, we talk all about the history of this ice cream drink. Plus, the science behind why it tastes so good. 

Содержание
  1. What is a Root Beer Float?
  2. Its History
  3. Variations 
  4. The Science Behind It
  5. About the Author
  6. Is a root beer float called a black cow?
  7. Root Beer Float Ingredients
  8. Root Beer Float Preparation
  9. Watch it here!
  10. Recipe Variations
  11. Know Your Ingredients!
  12. Bar Accessories
  13. The History 
  14. The Rise in Fame
  15. The Perfect Pair
  16. See What Others Think
  17. Tags
  18. Blog posts
  19. June 29 2023, by JoshLevi Soriano 50 Best Gifts For Gamers This Christmas
  20. June 21 2023, by JoshLevi Soriano 21 Best Low-Cost But Amazing-Looking Beer Glasses On Amazon
  21. June 20 2023, by JoshLevi Soriano 18 Best Budget-Friendly But Beautiful Wine Glasses On Amazon
  22. What does a root beer float taste like?
  23. Why do they call it a root beer float?
  24. How does a root beer float work?
  25. What goes first in a Rootbeer float?
  26. What is the gas in root beer float?
  27. What is the difference between a black cow and a Rootbeer float?
  28. Why do they call it a black cow?
  29. How did the black cow get its name?
  30. What was a black cow?
  31. When was the first root beer float created?
  32. What is the difference between a float and an ice cream soda?
  33. Do root beer floats taste good?
  34. Why does root beer float taste good?
  35. Is a beer float good?
  36. What comes in a black cow?
  37. What is a black cow at A&W?
  38. Who invented the Brown Cow?
  39. What is Pepsi and milk called?
  40. Why is a spider drink called a spider?
  41. What is the best ice cream float?
  42. Are root beer floats bad for you?
  43. Are root beer floats fizzy?
  44. Is Brick a solid liquid or gas?
  45. Why You’re Going to Love this Root Beer Float Recipe
  46. Ingredients in Homemade Root Beer Floats
  47. How to Make a Root Beer Float
  48. Tips for Making the Best Root Beer Float
  49. What is the History of the Root Beer Float?
  50. Fun Root Beer Float Variations
  51. What Is the Best Root Beer for Root Beer Floats?
  52. More Homemade Ice Cream Desserts
  53. Ice Cream Flavors to Make at Home
  54. Ingredients
  55. Instructions
  56. Notes
  57. Yield:
  58. Serving Size:

What is a Root Beer Float?

A root beer float is a kind of ice cream soda. This chilled beverage consist of ice cream in either a soft drink or a mixture of flavoured syrup and carbonated water. Our type occurs when root beer and vanilla ice cream are used together. Other names for this include: “black cow” and “brown cow”.

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Its History

On a particularly hot day, Green ran out of ice for the flavoured drinks. Instead, he used vanilla ice cream from a neighbouring vendor. Thus, inventing a new drink.

Green’s own account of the tale states that while operating the soda fountain he wanted to create a new treat to attract customers away from vendors with larger fancier machines. After some experimentation came the birth of the first ice cream float. During the celebration, he sold vanilla ice cream with soda and a choice of 16 flavoured syrups. 

Eventually, soda fountains began selling ice cream. Green’s will instructed that “Originator of the Ice Cream Soda” must be engraved on his tombstone. 

A Grown-Up Twist On The World's Favorite Float

The birth of the root beer float has a more contentious origin with three claiming for the title: Fred Sanders, Philip Mohr, and George Guy (on of Robert Green’s employees). But, it is Frank J. Wisner who gets the official recognition. Owner of Colorado’s Cripple Creek Brewery, Wisner created the first root beer float August 19th, 1893. 

Variations 

The definition of a “black” or “brown” “cow” root beer float varies depending on the region. For example, a traditional float is made with strictly vanilla ice cream. If chocolate ice cream s used instead it is a “chocolate” or “brown” cow. In other places, using cola instead of root bear makes it a “black cow”. Meanwhile, in Northern Wisconsin and Illinois, “black cow” refers to when a portion of the vanilla ice cream and root beer are mixed together. Then, you continue filling the glass with scoops of ice cream and soda. 

A Grown-Up Twist On The World's Favorite Float

The Science Behind It

Have you ever wondered what create the foam that tops a root beer float? Well, here is the science behind it!

A root beer float consists of three forms of matter:

  • Solid: the scoop of ice cream.
  • Liquid: the root beer.
  • Gas: what’s released when the ice cream and the root beer combine. 

How the foam happens: 

When the carbonated root beer comes into contact with the ice cream, carbon dioxide bubbles release. Likewise, the soda frees air bubbles trapped in the ice cream. What’s more, the fat in the ice cream coats these bubbles. Thus, protecting them and allowing them to expand. Therefore, creating the huge heads of foam you see on root beer floats.

About the Author

Lydia B.

Lydia B. is a Marketing Coordinator and Music Club Coach for Gooroo, a tutoring membership that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers Math, English, SAT, Coding, Spanish tutoring, and more.


Is a root beer float called a black cow?

Wisner, owner of Colorado’s Cripple Creek Brewing, created the drink after realizing that the snowy peaks on Colorado’s Cow Mountain reminded him of ice cream floating in soda. He combined root beer and vanilla ice cream, and called it the “Black Cow”, or more popularly known today as a root beer float.

Root Beer Float Ingredients

  • 2 scoops French vanilla ice cream
  • 1 oz Bourbon 
  • 1 oz Root Liqueur
  • 3 — 4 oz Root beer

Root Beer Float Preparation

  1. Put two scoops of French vanilla ice cream and into the glass. 
  2. Measure the bourbon and root liqueur and pour.
  3. Add the root beer to the top of the glass and pour slowly for it to become foamy
  4. Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry
  5. Drop a straw into the drink and serve.

A Grown-Up Twist On The World's Favorite Float

Watch it here!

Recipe Variations

The fun doesn’t stop here, as we’ve put together several versions of the Root Beer Float for you to enjoy! 

  • Deep Fried Root Beer Float— Say what? Yes, you read that right. Using root beer in making the batter, surprise yourself with this delicious funnel cake recipe. 
  • Smokey S’mores Root Beer Float-Another interesting twist to the classic float, this recipe contains chocolate and vanilla ice cream, chocolate chips, torched marshmallows and more that’ll surely be a delight to your taste buds! 
  •  If root beer and vanilla ice cream isn’t enough, then make a sweeter chocolate ice cream float! In some cases, Brown Cow may also refer to floats that uses Cola instead of Root Beer. 
  • Root Beer Float Smoothie-With Greek yogurt, bananas, coconut milk and a few more additions, you can now easily turn your classic Root Beer Float into a smoothie. 

Know Your Ingredients!

The secret to every great root beer float is carefully-picked ingredients which make the best combination of the recipe. 

  • French vanilla ice cream — Regular vanilla ice cream usually does not contain egg yolks. On the other hand,  French vanilla ice cream does, which contributes to its sweet taste and , and its flavor goes better with root beer. 
  • — Originated from the US, Bourbon is basically the American Whiskey.  This spirit is distilled and barrel-aged, and is made of at least 51% corn. 
  •  distilled from sugarcane that mimics the taste of root teas, the origin of root beer. 
  • — The star of this recipe, this soft drink may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic, thus there are also recipes for root beer float that can be enjoyed even by children. 
  • Whipped cream — Surely, we’ve all seen this widely-used topping on many desserts and drinks. Here’s an easy whipped cream recipe for you to get started.
  • — By cherries we mean Maraschino cherries, the type of cherries that are used as garnish in cocktail drinks. 

Bar Accessories

Of course, you can’t just make an awesome float without proper equipment. Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Ice Cream Scoop-As the name implies, it is used to scoop ice cream but it can also be used to scoop other ingredients in your everyday recipes. 
  • — Used to measure the amount of bourbon and root liqueur. . This jigger is used in several cocktail mixes and thus is a bar must-have. 
  • Whipped Cream Dispenser -You wouldn’t want your whipped cream to be all over the place, so a whipped cream dispenser can help you control and design your whipped cream in whichever direction you want.
  • -Root Beer Floats are usually served in these tall glasses to prevent the drink from spilling, keep the whipped cream in place and still look pleasing to the eye.
  • — Not necessarily required, but paper straws make it easier for you to drink your float while adding points to the overall appearance of your Root Beer Float. If you’d rather have a more eco-friendly and reusable alternative, then you can also try

The History 

The existence of this wonderful drink is all thanks to Frank J. Wisner, owner of the Cripple Creek Cow Mountain Gold Mining Company. The idea of creating the drink came to Wisner one night in August 1893, after witnessing the snow-capped Cow Mountain-which looked a lot like vanilla ice cream-glimmer under the moonlight as he was thinking of new ways to serve soda water to the townsfolk.  

A Grown-Up Twist On The World's Favorite Float

The Rise in Fame

Having been loved by generations, the popularity of the Root Beer Float has significantly increased over the years. It seems to be a favorite amongst the citizens of US, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Specifically, the top five States that has shown the most interest in the drink are Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska, Idaho, and Utah.  In celebration of the National Root Beer Float Day, gave away free A&W root beer floats last August 6 to everyone who dropped by their diners. 

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The Perfect Pair

Because of its incredible taste, it’s not surprising that Root Beer Float goes well with many dishes. From everyday favorites-like mac and cheesefish and chips-to sweet treats-like and fruits, Root Beer Float just makes any meal a lot better. Why, even for movie nights will be perfect for this drink! 

See What Others Think

Went to Carl’s bc I was craving a root beer float and the lady said “sorry we dont make those anymore” Luis said “so you got ice cream right now?” She said “yes” he said “does your soda machine work?” she said “yes?” He said “girllll if you don’t make that root bear float LMAO

— xok.rr (@_dntFollowNunez) September 8, 2019

— Noele (@NoeleAlder) September 5, 2019

A Grown-Up Twist On The World's Favorite Float

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What does a root beer float taste like?

The root beer float is a classic, and remains a favorite today. There’s just something about a scoop of ice cream that makes it the perfect complement to this polarizing soda, which tastes of vanilla, anise, and bitter sarsaparilla.

Why do they call it a root beer float?

The once-in-a-lifetime idea was born when Wisner noticed that the snowy peaks on Colorado’s Cow Mountain looked like ice cream floating in soda. The very next day (Aug. 19, 1893) he combined root beer and vanilla ice cream, creating what he called the “Black Cow.” Of course, nowadays it’s known as the root beer float.

How does a root beer float work?

24 related questions found

What goes first in a Rootbeer float?

Spoon a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream into a tall glass. Slowly pour root beer into the glass, allowing the foam to rise and then recede before adding more root beer. Serve with straws and spoons.

What is the gas in root beer float?

In a root beer float, you combine the liquid root beer with the solid ice cream, which creates bubbles. These bubbles are trapped CO2 gas being released outside of the pressurized environment in which they were forced into the water.

What is the difference between a black cow and a Rootbeer float?

The definition of a black cow varies by region. For instance, in some localities, a «root beer float» has strictly vanilla ice cream; a float made with root beer and chocolate ice cream is a «chocolate cow» or a «brown cow». In some places a «black cow» or a «brown cow» was made with cola instead of root beer.

Why do they call it a black cow?

How did the black cow get its name?

What was a black cow?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Black cow or Black Cow can refer to: A root beer float.

When was the first root beer float created?

Owner of Colorado’s Cripple Creek Brewery, Wisner created the first root beer float August 19th, 1893.

What is the difference between a float and an ice cream soda?

Don’t get confused by the terms «soda» and «float.» They’re often used interchangeably. Traditionally, sodas contain syrups and cream, while with a float the ice cream «floats» on top of the soda water.

Do root beer floats taste good?

Everyone loves a root beer float—it’s a classic drink made with high quality root beer and rich vanilla ice cream. Of course, a mug of root beer tastes incredible by itself, but this ice cream drink is the best way to cool off after a hot day.

Why does root beer float taste good?

As usual, science comes to the rescue to explain the foamy goodness that tops an ice-cold root beer float. When carbonated root beer comes into contact with the ice cream, carbon dioxide bubbles are released. Likewise, the soda helps to free air bubbles trapped in the ice cream.

Is a beer float good?

Look. Beer floats are awesome. They’re frothy, refreshing, damned tasty, sinful, and give you the ability to literally chew your beer.

What comes in a black cow?

2 Tablespoons chocolate syrup. 8-10 ounces root beer. 1-2 scoops vanilla ice cream. Whipped cream and a cherry for garnish (optional)

What is a black cow at A&W?

Introduction: A&W Black Cow — Home Edition

Who invented the Brown Cow?

It was a hit and by 1893 Hires’ root beer was bottled and distributed commercially, and is still available today. The root beer float (also sometimes called a Brown Cow) was invented Frank J. Wisner of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Wisner owned the Cripple Creek Cow Mountain Gold Mining Company, as well as a local tavern.

What is Pepsi and milk called?

Milk coke has been tried since the beginning of soft drinks. From 1976 to 1983, the popular show “Laverne and Shirley” featured Laverne (Penny Marshall) drinking Pepsi and milk.

Why is a spider drink called a spider?

What is the best ice cream float?

7 Fine Floats

  • Purple Cow: Vanilla ice cream + grape-flavored soda.
  • The Nutty Professor: Caramel Butter Pecan ice cream + ginger ale.
  • Black & Tan: Salted Butterscotch ice cream + cola.
  • Mocha Joe: Espresso Mocha ice cream + seltzer water.
  • Cocoa Creamsicle: Chocolate ice cream + orange-flavored soda.

Are root beer floats bad for you?

Are root beer floats fizzy?

At its simplest, a root beer float is just two ingredients: root beer, and ice cream. But something about the dairy in the ice cream makes the fizz of the root beer Stay. And that is the magic of this kind of float. That fizzy-creamy combination.

Is Brick a solid liquid or gas?

Why You’re Going to Love this Root Beer Float Recipe

A Cool, Creamy Classic: Zippy root beer and vanilla ice cream in a frosted glass mug is the best way to enjoy an ice cream float.

It’s Super Easy to Make: You really just need two ingredients and a couple of mugs to make a root beer float for you and a friend. Optionally, add some whipped cream and a cherry on top!

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No Waiting: I strongly urge you to take the time to let the glasses frost in the freezer, but other than that, you can make root beer floats in just a few minutes.

Save Money: A root beer float at an ice cream shop will put you back $6 or more. Here, you can make them for just a fraction of that cost.

a bottle of a & w root beer, a container of vanilla ice cream, a bowl of stemmed maraschino cherries, and whipped cream on a marble counter, viewed from above.

Ingredients in Homemade Root Beer Floats

Root Beer — Of course, we can’t make a root beer float without a bottle of root beer! To make two floats you’ll want to have about 16 ounces of soda. Feel free to use your favorite brand of root beer. I think each has its own special flavor, and you can sometimes find small-batch root beer from local brewers that are super tasty.

Vanilla Ice Cream — The classic flavor for ice cream floats is vanilla. It really enhances the spicy sweetness of root beer to create a delicious creamy drink. You should try a root beer float with homemade vanilla bean ice cream, or easy no-churn vanilla ice cream. You can pick up a carton of your favorite ice cream at the store too.

Garnishes — These are optional, but I like to top all of my ice cream desserts with whipped cream and maraschino cherries! I put this combo on floats, sundaes, and milkshakes too.

a 6 photo collage showing the steps to make a classic root beer float

How to Make a Root Beer Float

  1. Place two glass beer mugs in the freezer and let them sit for at least 20 minutes so that they are cold and frosty.
  2. Remove the mugs from the freezer and fill them each with 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream.
  3. Top each mug with about 8 ounces of root beer, taking care not to overfill the glasses.
  4. Pipe or dollop whipped cream on top of the floats.
  5. Then add a maraschino cherry garnish.
  6. Serve immediately, and with a straw.

These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, please see the recipe below.

closeup view of a root beer float in a frosted mug.

Tips for Making the Best Root Beer Float

Use quality ingredients – When making root beer floats at home, you’ll want to make sure you are using high-quality ingredients for the best outcome. Use homemade or high-quality ice cream, and be sure to use a root beer that you enjoy drinking.

Chill out – It’s very important to start with chilled ingredients. Keep the root beer in the fridge, and the mugs and ice cream in the freezer until you are ready to make the floats.

Lighten it up – Diet root beer can be used if you want to reduce the calories in your dessert.

Pour slowly – This is the trick to making the best root beer float! Adding soda to ice cream too quickly will cause your float to foam up too much. Take your time, and pour slowly.

What is the History of the Root Beer Float?

The credit for creating the Root Beer Float is given to the owner of a brewing company in the Colorado mountains, Frank J. Wisner.

Frank is said to have been inspired by nature and designed the root beer float to feel like snow-covered mountains.

This happened back in 1893, which means that we have been enjoying root beer floats in America for almost 130 years!

a root beer float in a clear frosted mug, with a red and white striped straw.

Fun Root Beer Float Variations

Chocolate Root Beer Float — Use scoops of chocolate ice cream in your float instead of vanilla for an extra decadent treat. A drizzle of chocolate syrup is a must too.

Frozen Root Beer Float — For a slushy treat that kids will love, combine root beer, ice cream, and ice cubes in a blender and pulse until icy.

Hard Root Beer Float — For adults only, pick up a few bottles of alcoholic root beer and make some super creamy cocktails.

What Is the Best Root Beer for Root Beer Floats?

You truly can use any type of root beer to make a root beer float, but I suggest choosing one that has lots of rich, spicy flavor.

Commonly available brands include A&W Rootbeer, Barq’s, and Mug.

Look for six packs of bottled root beer too. These are a bit more expensive but typically super delicious. IBC, Dad’s, Sprecher, and Stewart’s are all good choices.

More Homemade Ice Cream Desserts

You can turn a few scoops of vanilla ice cream into so many tasty treats! Try some of our easy desserts that can be made with store-bought or homemade ice cream.

Ice Cream Flavors to Make at Home

We have so many ice cream recipes here! When you’re ready to get out your ice cream maker, we have you covered. Here are some of our favorite flavors, and any of them would be delicious in an ice cream float:

a root beer float in a clear frosted mug, with a red and white striped straw.

Our Favorite Ice Cream Making Tools:

Note: Each of these links will take you to the exact product on Amazon. As an Amazon associate, I earn a little from each qualifying purchase.

Did you make this Homemade Root Beer Float recipe? Leave a Comment Below letting us know what you thought and if you added any additional add-ins.

Prep Time

Chilling/Freezing Time

Total Time

Ingredients

  • 6 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 16 oz root beer
  • ¼ cup whipped cream topping
  • 2 maraschino cherries

Instructions

  1. Place two beer mugs or milkshake glasses in the freezer for 20 minutes. 
  2. Place 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream in each mug. 
  3. Top each mug with 8 oz of root beer, making sure that the mug does not overflow. 
  4. Pipe or dollop whipped cream topping on top of the root beer float. 
  5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry. 
  6. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Keep the ice cream in the freezer until just before ready to scoop. The root beer will melt the ice cream quickly. 
  • Make sure the root beer is chilled before using. Cold ingredients will help prevent the ice cream from melting too quickly. 
  • Technically, all you need for a root beer float is vanilla ice cream and root beer. You don’t have to top your root beer float with whipped cream and a cherry, but I think it’s a fun way to take your root beer float to the next level!
  • I used two 16 oz beer mugs, which was the perfect size to fit 2-3 scoops of ice cream and 8 oz of root beer. Depending on the size of your glasses, you may need to adjust the amount of root beer and ice cream in each glass. 
  • I personally like to add the ice cream first and then pour the root beer on top of the ice cream. This way, you will know when to stop pouring the root beer and there is less mess. However, you could pour the root beer first and top with scoops of ice cream if you prefer.
  • Yield:

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving:

    23g

    14g

    0g

    7g

    Spread the Ice Cream love!

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