Root beer floats are a classic summer favorite treat that consists of root beer, vanilla ice cream, and optional chocolate syrup or other toppings. Traditionally, this delightful dessert is made by scooping vanilla ice cream into a tall glass, then pouring the root beer over it and letting it fizz and mix with the ice cream, then it’s eaten with a spoon or sipped through a straw.
Since its inception, there have been other variations of the float created, such as the coke float and many others, but the original is the tried-and-true favorite soda and ice cream delicacy.
So, if you’re a root beer float fan, come with us as we check out how the root beer float came to be, some fun facts about the root beer float, and how to kick up your root beer float a couple of notches for the ultimate creamy, fizzy treat.
History of the Root Beer Float
This iconic dessert came to be when the owner of Colorado’s Cripple Creek Brewing, Frank J. Wisner, took notice of the snowy peaks on Colorado’s Cow Mountain and how they looked like ice cream floating in soda. The very next day, which was August 19th, 1893, he set out to bring this idea to life with root beer and vanilla ice cream. However, it wasn’t called a root beer float right from the get-go, as Wisner originally called it the Black Cow.
Fun Facts About the Root Beer Float
For the root beer float lovers, here are some fun facts about your favorite creamy, fizzy delight and its famous ingredients.
Even though the root beer float was created on the 19th of August, August 6th has officially been declared National Root Beer Float Day.
The first ice cream soda was sold in 1874.
Although the root beer float has gotten around since its creation, this staple summer dessert is almost exclusively a North American treat.
A drink called small beer was the predecessor of root beer, and it was favored by both George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
Charles E. Hires was the first person to make and sell root beer in the US, and originally called it Root Tea. However, by 1876, he had changed the name to root beer and then presented his drink at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, the celebration of America’s 100th birthday.
Not only has the root beer float been called the black cow, but also the brown cow
There is a drink called the reverse root beer float, which is made with root beer ice cream and vanilla soda.
A&W, which stands for Allen and Wright, is the number one brand of root beer sold in America.
Roy Allen of Allen and Wright first purchased the root beer formula from a pharmacist in Arizona, then began manufacturing it in June of 1919. However, his partnership with Wright didn’t begin until 1922.
How to Jazz Up Your Root Beer Float
Although root beer floats are perfect just the way they are, there are a few ways that you can take it above and beyond the standard ice cream soda, which also includes some boozy variations of this fun favorite. For example, something as simple as adding whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top can dress up and amp up the flavor of a root beer float. You can also turn this fun concoction into an adult dessert with the addition of bourbon, vanilla vodka, rum, or any other complementary liquor.
Creamy Vanilla Root Beer Float
Another great way to dress up the average root beer float is to add in some French vanilla creamer and a little bit of club soda.
Smoky S’Mores Root Beer Float
This fun take on the root beer float consists of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, chocolate chips, smoked sea salt, graham crackers, and some charred or torched marshmallows to go on top.
Banana Root Beer Float
To make this fun and boozy variation, all you need is a banana peeled and cut lengthwise, ice cream, hot fudge, bourbon, and of course root beer. Top with whipped cream, confectioner’s sugar, and chocolate shavings for a fun, fancy, and fruity root beer float.
Boozy Root Beer Float
For a pumped-up flavor infusion and a bit of booziness, this root beer float recipe calls for ginger infused vodka, vanilla and cinnamon ice cream, and a dash of bitters along with the root beer.
Grown Up Root Beer Float
Another boozy root beer float variation, this one calls for vanilla bean ice cream, hard root beer, and maraschino cherries.
Root Beer Float Smoothie
For a fun and healthier way to have a root beer, why not try it as a smoothie? Do this by using a banana, plain Greek yogurt, coconut milk, and the McCormick Root Beer Concentrate.
Chocolate Root Beer Float
Add more of a flavor profile to your root beer float by using chocolate ice cream in place of vanilla, then add some chocolate syrup to it to create a chocolatey root beer delight.
Chocolate Root Beer Milkshake
Take your chocolate root beer one step further and make it into a creamy milkshake. Blend with ice, then add whipped cream and sprinkles on top for the ultimate milkshake experience.
This root beer float variation goes beyond chocolate or vanilla ice cream; instead, use birthday cake ice cream. Top with whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and an ice cream sandwich cookie with a wedge cut out of it so it fits neatly onto the rim of the glass. Fancy and fun!
Root Beer Floats for All!
So, no matter what your taste preferences are, there are many different variations of this classic treat that will expand your root beer float horizons, and we hope that we’ve inspired you to try some of them, or to even create one of your own!