Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reverse Root Beer Float

That's right, root beer ice cream in vanilla cream soda. Eat the ice cream by itself and it tastes just like a traditional root beer float in creamy frozen form. Add a couple scoops to a glass and pour some cream soda over it, and you've got your favorite childhood treat—only this one plays mind games on you. The flavor flip never ceases to confuse your taste buds, up until the very last slurp. 

The secret ingredient is root beer extract. I bought this 4 oz. bottle on a recent trip to Philly at the Spice Terminal in Reading Terminal Market. (Side note: Why are there no spice shops in DC?!) This particular extract comes from Shank's Extracts in Lancaster, PA. You can buy it online through their website for $2.29 (which is about a third of the price I paid for it). If you've seen it at grocery stores, let me know where in the comments.

And of course, cream soda. I actually picked up these fancy bottles at Sweet Green in DC's Logan Circle, but most grocery stores carry some variety.


Yield: 1 quart

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons root beer extract
OPTIONAL: Cream soda for reverse root beer floats

Root Beer Ice Cream

In a medium saucepan, combine whole milk, heavy cream, and sugar over medium heat and stir frequently.  In a separate bowl, whip the egg yolks. Just before it comes to a simmer, gradually add about half of the cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, stirring continuously. Gradually pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Continue to stir until the liquid forms a thick custard that coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Cool the custard in the refrigerator or using an ice bath. Stir in vanilla. Stir in root beer extract. Whip the custard with a whisk to incorporate some air—this will improve the ice cream texture. Pour the custard into the ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Reverse Root Beer Float

Add one to three scoops of ice cream into a glass. Pour cream soda over it. Add a straw. Enjoy!


  1. Very cool idea! I never knew that they sold Rootbeer Extract.

  2. Despite the fact that I don't like root beer, this ice cream was really good (my current favorite in the freezer)!

  3. ahhhh!! i love this!! the root beer extract has an adorable bottle.

    an upcoming project of mine is to make root beer and ice cream... all from-scratch root beer float! :)

  4. Thanks, everyone! Lyndsay, let me know how the homemade root beer turns out. This extract bottle actually had a recipe for it on the side.

  5. I love this idea! I've been hearing a lot about root beer extract lately and I really want to get my hands on some!

  6. I love the thought of rootbeer ice cream! That float looks awesome!

  7. Now I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for some root beer extract! If I find it, I'm in big trouble lol

  8. hi jessica! i will totally let you know how it goes... hopefully i'll have time to do that in the next while...

    looking forward to your next ice cream experiments! :)

  9. I'm making this tonight - pretty excited about it. I tell people that the ice cream maker my roommate got for her birthday was the best gift any of us had received - the best one we've made so far is a tie between carrot cake ice cream and maple ice cream (which was absurdly good - http://www.chow.com/recipes/13519-maple-ice-cream).

    Thanks for sharing!! :)

  10. Hi Beth, Glad to hear it! Let me know how it turns out.

  11. McCormick makes root beer extract. I found some at my local supermarket.

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