In the mood for something cool, sweet and frothy? Here’s one delightful treat to fulfill all your cravings, a glass of cold and bubbly ice cream float! This refreshing drink goes by a lot of different names, there is the ice cream soda and root beer float. It consists of a soda or soft drink and ice cream.
History says the ice cream float has been around since back in 1874. Some of the most popular accounts say that a man named Robert Green operated a soda shop in Philadelphia and one day, he ran out of cream for his cream soda and planned to use melted ice cream instead. However, he got busy and inadvertently added the ice cream straight into the drink. Another story tells that it was ice he ran out of and used ice cream to cool the drink.
But from his own account, which was published in 1910 in the Soda Fountain magazine, he recounted that he wanted to create something to lure customers away from competitors with bigger soda fountains at the Franklin Institute’s sesquicentennial celebration, and one of his experiments was to add ice cream to soda water. The experiment indeed paid off!
Ice Cream Float Trivia
- Even the ice cream float or ice cream soda has its own day of commemoration! The National Ice Cream Soda Day is celebrated every June 20th!
- The rootbeer float is celebrated separately from the Ice Cream Soda Day! The National Root Beer Float Day is commemorated on August 6th! Now isn’t that enough reason to grab another glass?
- The root beer float’s origins can be traced back to 1893, in a mining camp in Colorado. A man named Frank J. Wisner came upon an idea when he thought that the snowy peaks on Colorado’s Cow Mountain reminded him of ice cream floating in soda. He then scooped ice cream and added it into the children’s favorite soda flavor and he liked it. He served it the following day and the drink became a big hit! He called it the “Black Cow Mountain,” but the local children shorted it to “Black Cow,” which was another name for the root beer float.
- The ice cream soda is also called “spider” in Australia and New Zealand since the contact of ice cream and the carbonated drink causes it to form a spiderweb-like reaction.
Ice Cream Float Buying Guide
Ice cream floats are usually sold in dessert shops and ice cream parlors, as an additional menu option for ice cream, or be consumed together with ice cream, for more sugar rush! Some restaurants and diners also serve this as part of their desserts or drinks menu. Want your ice cream float more adult-friendly? Infuse the drink with your alcohol of choice! So, that’s cool, sweet, frothy, and boozy!
While the terms ice cream float and ice cream soda are used interchangeably, these can still be made differently. Traditionally, an ice cream soda contains cream, flavored syrups soda water and/or seltzer, while the ice cream float’s name speaks for itself, the ice cream floats on top of the drink.
Ice Cream Float Production & Farming in Texas
Aside from the usual diners, local ice cream shops and artisan makers can serve ice cream floats, using the ice creams that are their main products.
Preservatives, Additives, and Chemicals
Ice cream floats are truly decadent with the amount of sugar in every serving; you’ve got ice cream and you’ve got soda or soft drinks. Those two ingredients already call for moderation in consumption, much more if you combine them together. It would also be better to be vigilant about the ingredients in your chosen soda or carbonated drink, as well as the ice cream. Here are some ingredients you might want to watch out for.
- Sodium Benzoate / Potassium Benzoate – This is some of the preservatives that are often used in carbonated soft drinks. This is added to food items to fight spoilage and prevent growth of mold, yeast and certain bacteria. This can also be used as a flavoring agent. The U.S. FDA has declared it to be “Generally Recognized as Safe”. However, there are studies that these substances may form benzene or a known carcinogen if combined with items like ascorbic acid, or sodium. Regulations and standards regarding the amount of potassium benzoate have already been changed to prevent this.
- Potassium Sorbate – This is also a food preservative that is used to prevent molds, yeast and microbes that has also been declared G. R. A S by the U.S. FDA)
- Maltodextrin – a polysaccharide that is commonly added to packaged foods to improve its flavor, thickness, and shelf life. This white powdery substance is derived from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat, however, it is highly processed, using acids or enzymes. Maltodextrin is considered by the US FDA to be a safe food additive and is counted in the total carbohydrate count in the food’s nutritional value. There are warnings that the maltodextrin may have a high glycemic index and might pose an issue for those with diabetes. But this substance is usually present in small amounts in food and therefore won’t have that much significant effect if taken moderately.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup – The HFCS is an artificial sugar that is made from corn syrup. Commercial producers of products usually use this, as the HFCS is a cheaper substitute to natural sweeteners. But overconsumption of items with this ingredient can be linked to several serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity, fatty liver, and heart disease.
We remember ice cream floats usually being served in tall beer mugs or transparent glasses. For those who do not have the chance to stay inside the diner or ice cream parlor, they can be served in plastic cups, or in paper cups, with dome-like lids to accommodate the ice cream or frosting.
Enjoying Ice Cream Floats
Nothing beats having an ice cream float on a hot summer day, while lounging at a dessert or snack joint, and hanging out with family or friends. Others also choose to do it even during winter! This treat can be consumed anytime and anywhere!
Ice cream floats are best consumed fresh after it is bought or procured – the ice cream is still fresh and not totally melted, and the carbonated drink still fizzy. But in case there are leftovers, it is best to follow how to store soft drinks. Store it in a dark, cool place such as the refrigerator.
Making Ice Cream Float
Want something colorfully sweet and yet so simple? Here’s a simple recipe on how to make an orange-y Ice Cream Float by Eating on a Dime!
- 1 can orange-flavored soft drink (or your soft drink of choice)
- ½ cup vanilla ice cream
- Pour the soft drink on a glass then take a scoop of the vanilla ice cream and put on top of the drink! Easy!