Friday, August 5, 2011

Root Beer Float Day

Today we celebrate National Root Beer Float Day.  This is a special day for me as it brings back many fond memories of my childhood.  Root beer is a carbonated drink made from the root of the sassafras plant.    While all countries have some form of root beer drink, the name root beer is rarely used outside of the United States and Philippians.

There are hundreds of manufactures of root beer, however my favorite is Barqs. (pronounced barks)  The Barq’s company originated in New Orleans, Louisianna.  It was started by two brothers, Edward and Gaston.  Later, Edward moved to Biloxi, Mississippi and started his own branch, and it was there that my grandfather started working for the company.  Growing up I remember going to my grandparents home on the coast and seeing wooden flats full of barqs rootbeer in bottles stacked in the garage.  They didn't have canned drinks back then.  On warm summer nights my grandfather would ask my father if he wanted a black cow.  Black cow is another name for a root beer float.   My brother and I would just stand there and drool.  We weren't allowed to have root beer as it was a "grown up" drink.  I would watch as my grandfather dipped vanilla ice cream in a tall glass then pour the root beer over it the foam rising to the top nearly spilling over the edge.  My brother and I would sit there like puppies begging for table scraps just hoping they would cave in and give us a little taste.  But as we heard the metal clink on the bottom of the glass, we knew once again the taste of the magical drink was not to be had.

Now that I’m a "grown up” Barq’s root beer is all I drink, and the taste of a root beer float is just as magical and delicious as I always imagined it would be.

Making a root beer float is very easy.  The first thing you have to decide is foam content.  Some folks like alot of foam, while I on the other hand like minimum foam.  To achieve this small amount of foam, I simply pour cold root beer in the glass first, them plop a scoop of vanilla ice cream in.  If you like lots of foam, simply scoop in the ice cream first, and then pour the root beer over it. 

Whatever brand of root beer you like, grab some vanilla ice cream, a can of root beer, a tall glass or mug, and enjoy a ice cold float on this hot summer day.

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