There’s just nothing quite so refreshing and fun, and speaks of summer than a chilled mug of root beer. Add some vanilla ice cream and it gets even better. And since today is National Root Beer Float Day, I thought it would be fun to toast the event and lift a tall one in celebration!
Although as a “soda” drink root beer is only about 3% of the market these days, it is still the only soft drink that’s distinctive taste suits the addition of a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, thus the invention of the root beer “float.” It’s rare you hear anyone requesting a Mountain Dew or a Dr. Pepper float, but I suppose it has been tried.
It as never ceased to amaze me all the wondrous food combinations, delightful drinks, medicinal herbs and plants that people have discovered to provide the world with palatable dishes and healing remedies. What incredible things have been uncovered by boiling roots, herbs and flowers. Everything for life is right here.
As for root beer it is a decidedly North American beverage and is produced in every state in the U.S. The idea of brewing the root of a sassafras plant goes back to the 18th century when farmers used the technique for family gatherings. In the 19th century, Charles Hires, a dentist, introduced his own “commercial brew” at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition…calling it root tea. Needless to say it wasn’t too marketable so to attract sales to the local coal miners, he changed the product to root beer and the rest is history. During prohibition years the non-alcoholic version was very profitable!
Today there are as many recipes for this delicious drink as there are ingredients with which to make it. A unique taste for everyone’s preference. Mine? Well, I grew up not far from an A & W Root Beer “stand” and nothing else quite beats that taste for me. Guess it has to do with the memories attached. Poured into a frosted mug and it’s summertime all year round. No A & W nearby? Make your own!
Here’s to summer! Cheers!