I learned last night that I'm not a Root Beer Float fan. As a die hard Brooklynite, I guess I'm more of an Egg Cream gal. Besides, I'm an ice cream purist on principle. Given the choice, I'd always prefer to have the ice cream without the root beer.
My parents' friends served Root Beer Floats and store bought (!) red, white, and blue mini-cupcakes at their fireworks viewing party. My kids were turned off by the ice cream flavor and didn't even want to try the floats. But they had no problem inhaling the cupcakes.
To be fair, the Root Beer Floats they served were a bit unconventional -- they substituted coffee almond fudge ice cream for the classic vanilla. Also, they skipped the requisite whipped cream and maraschino cherry.
The classic recipe is as follows:
1/2 pint vanilla ice cream
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
1/2 cup whipped cream
4 maraschino cherries
Place 1 scoop of ice cream into each of two tall glasses. Pour root beer carefully over the ice cream. Add another scoop and repeat. If possible, repeat again....And again and again! Top with whipped cream and maraschino cherries.
There are other, more sophisticated variations too. Bobby Flay concoted this adult version, which calls for bourbon:
1 pint vanilla ice cream
2 bottles very cold old-fashioned root beer
Splash bourbon, optional
Freshly whipped cream
Place a few scoops of vanilla ice cream into 2 tall float glasses. Pour the root beer and bourbon, if using, over the ice cream and top with a dollop of whipped cream.
After a few of those, you're sure to be seeing fireworks!