But what on earth is a root beer float? Come to think of it, I don't really know what root beer is either.
When it comes to ice cream in a cone I can never get past my childhood favourite of orange choc-chip. If I am trying to appear rather more adult and sophisticated I go for a good quality vanilla, Kapiti is my favourite.
It's the carbonated beverage made from sassafras root.
It can also be uncarbonated: when I was little, my dad would buy a block of the root extract, mix it with water and sugar in a huge tub, and my brothers would bottle it up in empty ginger ale bottles. Uncarbonated, and delicious!
For a root beer float, put a couple scoops of ice cream of your choice in a tall glass, and add root beer to "float" the ice cream.
My Ohioan parents also called this concoction a "black cow", but I suppose only someone from Ohio would know why...
 Origins The ice cream soda was invented by Robert M. Green in Philadelphia, PA, in 1874 during the sesquicentennial celebration. The traditional story is that, on a particularly hot day, Mr. Green ran out of ice for the flavored sodas he was selling and used vanilla ice cream from a neighboring vendor to keep his sodas cold. His own account, published in Soda Fountain magazine in 1910, states that while operating a soda fountain at the Franklin Institute's sesquicentennial celebration in Philadelphia in 1874, he wanted to create a new treat to attract customers away from another vendor who had a fancier, bigger soda fountain. After some experimenting, he decided to combine ice cream and soda water. During the celebration, he sold vanilla ice cream with soda water and a choice of 16 different flavored syrups. The new treat was a sensation, and soon other soda fountains began selling ice cream sodas. Green's will instructed that "Originator of the Ice Cream Soda" was to be engraved on his tombstone. There are at least two other claimants for the invention of ice cream soda: Fred Sanders and Philip Mohr. Regardless of its origins, the beverage quickly became very popular, to such a degree that it was almost socially obligatory among teens, although many adults abhorred it. According to legend it was banned, either entirely or on holy days, by some local governments giving rise to a substitute treat the ice cream sundae. As soda was marketed as a miracle cure, it was often considered a substance that required oversight and control like alcohol, another controlled substance that could not be served or purchased on Sundays in many conservative areas. Many soda fountains had to figure out a way to turn a profit on Sundays when selling soda was considered illegal. The solution was to serve ice cream on these days, as it is merely a food product and not a controlled substance. Soda fountains then coined the term "Sundaes" for the ice cream concoctions that they served on "soda's day of rest".  Variations Variations of the ice cream soda are as countless as the varieties of soda and flavors of ice cream, but some have become more prominent over the years than others. Sometimes, people who are allergic to milk use sherbet instead of ice cream.  Chocolate Ice Cream Soda This ice cream soda starts with approximately one ounce of chocolate syrup, then several scoops of vanilla ice cream in a tall glass. Unflavored carbonated water is added until the glass is filled and the resulting foam rises above the top of the glass. The final touch is a topping of whipped cream and usually, a maraschino cherry. This variation of ice cream soda was available at local soda fountains and nationally, at Dairy Queen stores for many years.  Root beer float Root beer float, a type of ice cream soda. Also known as a "black cow" or "brown cow", the root beer float is traditionally made with vanilla ice cream and beer, but can also be made with other flavors. In the United States and Canada, the chain A&W Restaurants are well known for their root beer floats. 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 2008, the Dr Pepper Snapple Group introduced its Float beverage line. This includes A&W Root Beer, A&W Cream Soda and Sunkist flavors which attempt to simulate the taste of their respective ice cream float flavors in a creamy, bottled drink. The origin of the name "black cow" has always been of interest to food and beverage experts and allegedly dates to August 1893 in Cripple Creek, Colorado. The only source of this story is the great grand nephew of Wisner, who has popularized it through advertising on his soft drink products and website.[unreliable source?] Frank J. Wisner, owner of the Cripple Creek Cow Mountain Gold Mining Company had been producing a line of naturally flavored, naturally carbonated premium soda waters for the citizens of the then booming Cripple Creek gold mining district. He had been trying to create a special drink for the children of Cripple Creek and came up with an idea while staring out at his properties on Cow Mountain on a moonlit night. The full moon's glow on the snow capped Cow Mountain reminded him of a dollop of vanilla ice cream floating on top of his blackened Cow Mountain. As he told the story later, he was inspired by this view to hurry back to his bar and add a big scoop of vanilla ice cream to the one soda water he produced that the children of Cripple Creek seemed to like best - Myers Avenue Red root beer - and served it the very next day. The drink was an instant hit. Originally named "Black Cow Mountain", the local children shortened this to "black cow". Wisner was known to say many times in his later years that if he had a nickel for every time someone ordered a black cow, he'd have been a rich man.
I know someone who got run over by a moose
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in his back yard. He went to the same music camp I went to in Colorado--but the event happened in Anchorage where he hailed from (he didn't die--it did--but he had some major cracked ribs I believe . . .). Maybe the ice cream is his revenge invention?
is what we call a 'spider' here. Fizzy drinks and ice-cream together has never held any appeal to me, I much prefer them separately.
In my younger days we used to laugh hysterically at any TV mention of 'root' beer, or people saying they were 'rooting' for someone to win a game. The word holds an entirely different meaning where I come from.
There is a drink called sarsparilla that's a slightly different formula than root beer...
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Not quite as tasty to my palate but then by then I'd long been conditioned to root beer. It should also be noted that some like a very sweet root beer, such as A & W's or Henry Weinhard's, while others prefer a sharper-spiced root beer, such as Barrelhead (the old recipe) or some of the 'micro-brew' root beers. I'm normally in the sharper-spiced camp, but anyone who hasn't tried one owes themselves a Henry Weinhard's. The recipe uses honey instead of sugar to sweeten it and it is EXCELLENT!