Sometimes referred to as a “black cow,”root beer floats are one of the quintessential drinks of summer. Creamy vanilla ice cream surrounded by aromatic and effervescent root beer, this combination is hard to beat. Satisfyingly sweet and refreshingly smooth, root beer floats offer a brief and blissful respite from the sweltering heat of summer.
My son loves root beer floats and if they’re on the menu, he will order one over any other dessert, even his beloved chocolate cake. Due to the mess involved in devouring a root beer float, the thought of producing them at home has never appealed to me. What kind of mess you ask? A level 5 mess. The kind of stickiness that occurs when a very enthusiastic 7-year-old digs through a frosty pint as though on an excavation and then proceeds to suck up the remainder with a straw; half the liquid escaping his mouth and spilling onto the table.
Within five minutes time, half of the float is on his shirt, hands and all over the chair. He gets up from the table, arms outstretched like a zombie and begins to walk towards me, whining about how sticky he is. I back up slowly with my hands positioned in a “stop” sign, as though I am trying to calm a rabid animal. I quickly search my abyss of a purse for handy wipes, once in hand, I turn toward my lovable little beast and begin to wipe him with the fury of woman gone mad. I know I have about 15 seconds to clean him before he begins to pull away and stomp off whimpering. Phew, mission complete, child is mess free, peace is restored and we can go on with our evening.
I thought I could kill two birds with one stone and serve a root beer float flavored ice cream my son could get excited about, while at the same time reducing the mess by half. Win-win. What was the response from my sweet 7-year-old boy when I presented him with this fabulously brilliant treat? “Cool mom, where’s the root beer?” “Argh,” I mumble, while smacking myself on the forehead with the palm of my hand, I guess you can’t win them all.
This recipe makes a wonderful silky, smooth, creamy root beer float flavored ice cream without the use of artificial extracts. The aroma in your house from reducing your root beer will send you into orgasmic delight. Move over Coco Chanel, “Root Beer Reduction Perfume” is where it’s at. Every time someone walked into the kitchen, they commented on the sensational aroma. My son said it smelled like cake, my husband said it smelled like root beer (like most men, a very astute comment indeed) and I stated the kitchen smelled like marshmallows.
Your house will smell amazing, with notes of vanilla, marshmallows, licorice and other root beer aromatics. To make a completely organic version of this ice cream, try Blue Sky Organic Root Beer. Serve in mason jars with whipped cream, crushed Oreos or crumbled graham crackers.
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- ⅛ cup of sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
- 1 vanilla bean (seeds removed, bean discarded)
- 4 bottles of root beer (48oz)
- Place 36 oz of root beer in a large pot over medium to medium-high heat. Reduce until ½ cup remains. Do not allow to boil, a strong simmer is plenty. This process took me about an hour.
- In a separate pot, heat milk, cream and sugar over medium heat until it simmers, then remove from heat.
- In a small bowl whisk your egg yolks
- Pour about ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks and whisk.
- Add the egg mixture to the milk and stir. Place the pot back onto the stove top, over medium heat and stir constantly until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in your vanilla, vanilla innards, the reduced root beer (1/2 cup) and your last bottle (12oz) of root beer.
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. (We left our mix overnight)
- Pour into your ice cream maker and make according to your ice cream manufacturers instructions.