One of summer’s most refreshing treats is the root beer float. Better known in some locations as a “Black Cow”.
We aren’t sure who actually invented the idea of mixing root beer with a luscious scoop of vanilla ice cream. There are two stories as to how the root beer float got started. The first is in 1874, Philadelphia, PA. Robert McCay Green ran an ice cream shop in Philadelphia and ran out of ice cream early in the day. He was able to buy some vanilla ice cream from a friend but there wasn’t a lot of it. In order to stretch out his limited reserves, he mixed it with root beer, and the root beer float was born.
The second story goes… Frank J. Wisner stood at the back window of his shop one night in Cripple Creek, Colorado. His day was done and he was enjoying the evening looking out over the mountains where the miners he served with various treats worked. The moon was reflecting on top of one of the mountains and he suddenly got an idea. He ran back into the shop and pulled out his children’s favorite soda, Myers Avenue Red Root Beer. He added a scoop of ice cream – the snow capped mountain – and served up his new invention the next day. He never stopped serving it there after. He called it, the “Black Cow Mountain”.
Well, whichever man it was that concocted the root beer float, we are glad they did. Who knows, there may be other claims as well but it doesn’t really matter, there’s no royalty payments involved here.
Maybe the best thing about National Root Beer Day is that A&W gives out free root beer floats! FREE! A&W got its start in 1923 and has been serving great tasting root beer ever since. Perhaps the only thing better is getting a little ice cream added to it and getting both for FREE!
The root beer float even smells good as a candle.
How to celebrate – Go to A&W and get a FREE root beer float! If you can’t find a root beer float, see if you can find a scented candle and at least enjoy the aroma. It is a little known fact that you can get a root beer float at McDonald’s. It is not on the menu but if you ask, they will fix it. Or better yet, make your own!