Root Beer Floats: Many Restaurants Are Doing it Wrong

I love a root beer float and firmly believe that Dallas restaurants should be serving more of them — especially in the summer. Floats make perfect desserts when the weather is hotter. They're lighter than a massive slice of cherry pie and much more cooling. You haven't lived until you've walked into a bar filled with cocktail drinkers, ordered a float and slammed it down as you finish. People will stare. They'll also be a little jealous.

The only thing keeping me from adhering to a strict one-a-day root beer float regimen is that so many restaurants in Dallas jack up the assembly. A well-made float is a thing of great pleasure; a botched float is just cold soda and ice cream.

Root beer floats should be served in the same glassware that's approved for root beer on its own — a tall mug with thick sides that has spent the perfect amount of time in the freezer. Mugs left in the freezer for days collect frost and ice, detracting from the texture and flavor of the float, but the mug still needs to be thoroughly chilled. Pint glasses should be avoided because they don't look as cool and warm too quickly.

The biggest affronts to float assemblage are the hammer-heads who put the ice cream in the glass first, and then try and pour root beer over the top. The results are always the same — about an ounce of root beer in the bottom of the glass and seven inches of creamy head to work through. Instead, fill a glass halfway with root beer and then add two scoops of ice cream. Serve it with a straw of adequate length and a spoon for ice cream retrieval.

The best part of any root beer float (even the poorly made ones) is the final sip. That last big swig of root beer turned creamy and viscous with melted ice cream is so delicious I could subsist on it exclusively. I'm not the only one with the craving. Root beer milk is a thing, apparently. But I'll still take mine with plenty of ice cream.
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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz