Dozens of ways to Float
March 1, 2014 7:44 PM   Subscribe

Root Beer Float? Coke Float? Sarsaparilla Float? Oh, there's no shortage of different varieties, and the chemical process is basically the same with all of them. In terms of alcohol, a nice Guiness Float might hit the spot for St Patrick's Day. It has even become possible recently to have a 100% Yuengling Float by combining Yuengling Beer and the re-released Yuengling Ice Cream.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (43 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
We all float down here, Georgie.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:58 PM on March 1, 2014 [12 favorites]

That first link ... a recipe for a root beer float?

Anyway, this is almost timely in that I just bought a really yummy root beer (Maine Root) but a) I already drank it and b) I don't have any ice cream.

Maybe I'll go back to the store tomorrow and fix both those things.
posted by aubilenon at 7:58 PM on March 1, 2014

There are Root Beer stores in the Seattle area. My girlfriend and I were visiting a few months ago and we drove past one and it was closed. Much sadness.
posted by mlis at 8:11 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

In my neck of the woods. there is nothing like a frosted Dr Pepper (from Dairy Queen)
It is a blended float w/ DP and vanilla ice cream.
posted by shockingbluamp at 8:13 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

A Cheerwine float really can't be beat, especially if it's the only thing keeping you cool at your grandparent's un-air conditioned farm in rural North Carolina.
posted by thecjm at 8:17 PM on March 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

I had an excellent malted fluff on dark brown ale float at the What The Fluff festival a couple years ago. It was delicious, but a bit of a time bomb: Fluff + beer = lots of foam.
posted by maryr at 8:23 PM on March 1, 2014

Sherbet + sprite. Extra points for using the rainbow sherbet that comes in industrial tub sizes. Ooh, the delicious citrusy crunch!
posted by theweasel at 8:25 PM on March 1, 2014 [7 favorites]

aubilenon - if you're going back to the store anyway, I highly recommend buying a Maine Root ginger beer as well. Super strong. Yum. (Also, ginger beer + dark rum + apples = Dark and Stormy applesauce. Remember that come fall.)
posted by maryr at 8:26 PM on March 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

I've always wanted to try a float of Lindeman's framboise and vanilla ice cream. I think it would kick solid ass.
posted by Edgewise at 8:30 PM on March 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

Youngs Double Chocolate Stout + chocolate ice cream is amazing.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:37 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Vernors Ginger Ale + vanilla ice cream = the Boston Cooler.
posted by Iridic at 8:42 PM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

maryr, Maine Root ginger beer has been my fave for a while, especially for dark & stormys! But I hadn't tried their root beer until today. It's great too. The only thing keeping me from going right now is I am too full for a root beer float.
posted by aubilenon at 8:52 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

My secret recipe: 1 part honey, 1 part Hershey's syrup, 1 part Jameson in a small sauce pan. Mix them up, then turn the heat to high to burn off alcohol in the whisky (apply flame as needed).

Burn off the alcohol and mix well; then drizzle this delicious, sweet, smokey, oaky, chocolate magma over whatever: strawberries, ice cream, poundcake, waffles, marshmallows, bananas, french toast, etc.
posted by peeedro at 9:02 PM on March 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

I still order vanilla and Sprite floats just to watch the befuddled faces of the staff at DQ each season, as if this had never occurred to them before.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:09 PM on March 1, 2014

Looks like you can make one with Black and Tan Beer with Black and Tan ice cream.
posted by 445supermag at 9:09 PM on March 1, 2014

Cherry vanilla cream soda + good vanilla ice cream
posted by NoraReed at 9:56 PM on March 1, 2014

Was just introduced to Big Red soda today, from Waco, TX, well before Dr. pepper. Am pondering its float-worthiness...
posted by childofTethys at 9:57 PM on March 1, 2014

One of my favorite bars used to offer a vanilla ice cream and Framboise float (although they used a pretty low-alcohol one for it). It was amazing. And deadly.

Even as mostly a vegan (so not too big on the ice cream), I'm still pro-float. I've been known to put Italian ices in wines or sherbet in beers ... (nevermind soy- or coconut-based "ice creams"). I'm feeling eager to experiment now with various combinations.
posted by darksong at 10:15 PM on March 1, 2014

I really hate to say it but actually the coffee flavors of Guiness and Bailey's have a chance to combine amicably.

Drinkers of Guiness and those that drink Bailey's not so much.
posted by vapidave at 10:18 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lemonade and bleu cheese less so.
posted by vapidave at 10:19 PM on March 1, 2014

some co-workers made a Mountain Dew float once. the foam was an unnatural green, and it was so thick it could support several quarters.
posted by bruceo at 10:58 PM on March 1, 2014

I made a float once using blood orange italian soda + ginger ice cream. So good...
posted by actionpact at 11:24 PM on March 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

OK, this is another one of those concepts whose name doesn't span the English-speaking world: what you're all describing above as a "float" is what Australians call a spider.

No idea why, but that's, ah, what it is!
posted by pjm at 12:26 AM on March 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Just try getting a pint of Guinness with anything in it in Ireland. Just try, that's all.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:07 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've seen your Australian spiders, they look quite the opposite of a delicious combination of ice cream [or sherbet] and a bubbly soda. You Australian grown-ups have named them spiders so you can have them all to yourselves haven't you?
posted by vapidave at 3:01 AM on March 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

I had a delicious spider at lunch last Friday, of Moon Dog "Jumping the Shark" cognac barrel-aged truffled imperial stout with a supremely decadent vanilla bean ice cream.

Aaaaand now I want another one.
posted by nonspecialist at 4:21 AM on March 2, 2014

any kind of soda + any kind of ice cream = instant and violent heaves for me, sorry.

Mind you, when you have access to Irn Bru, why would you adulterate it?
posted by scruss at 7:02 AM on March 2, 2014

Coke + chocolate ice cream. Yum.
posted by belladonna at 8:09 AM on March 2, 2014

Piffle. The one true float is sprite and sherbet.

But... as a connoisseur of beer floats and ice cream made with beer and spirits I will hold my tongue because I have many opinions and all of them will make people perplexed or angry and sometimes both at once, until they try my concoctions. To wit: Vanilla, milk stout, sea salt and roasted garlic.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:19 AM on March 2, 2014

You haven't had a float until you've had a bread bus--a root beer float with a big, sugary cinnamon bun stuffed into the bottom of the glass.
posted by Known Weasel at 8:42 AM on March 2, 2014

Guinness Floats are disgusting. They are the nuts and gum of hipster novelty desserts. I like thick creamy bitter Guinness. I like thick creamy sweet ice cream. Together they are, well, not good.

The classic way to get booze into an ice cream dessert is a parfait. Never seen one with soda water in it, but there's no reason it wouldn't work. Bourbon, some sort of sweet liqueur, soda, ice cream. Should be good.
posted by Nelson at 9:09 AM on March 2, 2014

Milk Stout Nitro makes a good float.
posted by Foosnark at 9:22 AM on March 2, 2014

scruss: "any kind of soda + any kind of ice cream = instant and violent heaves for me, sorry.

Mind you, when you have access to Irn Bru, why would you adulterate it?

One day I would love to try an Irn Bru, even if I do have all the soda machine in Left4Dead 2 modded to look like their machines.
posted by Samizdata at 9:39 AM on March 2, 2014

I'm a non-drinker by nature, so my esoteric semi-prefab float of choice would be Moxie and a nice honey-sweetened dense gourmet ice cream not made by motherfvcking stupid evil Nestlé.

Outside of the realm of the predigested assembly of store-bought ingredients, though, I stick to French sodas made with my own homemade syrups and plain, unsweetened heavy cream. Yum.
posted by sonascope at 10:02 AM on March 2, 2014

Hmmm... 99% of the ice cream floats I've ever had was made with Coke and Sprite, this being the way that floats are commonly made in Hong Kong cha chaan teng.
I did try one with coffee-flavoured porter, though.

I'm starting to fancy the idea of making sparkling wine floats... now if only I can get off my derrière and get myself the sparkling wine...
posted by Tsukushi at 10:11 AM on March 2, 2014

I should add, in a sudden fit of nostalgia, that my blue collar Baltimore grandmother never used the word "float" in this context in her life. When she was feeling like I, and by association, she, deserved a little treat, she would interrupt my obsessive reading of the underwear and electric belt pages in her well-worn replica edition of the 1902 Sears Roebuck catalogue, calling down the basement stairs to my leopard-printed lair, "Hey Joe-B! You wanna have a brown cow?"

This would break my fixation on ink drawings of men in mustaches and I'd clomp excitedly up the steps, because both soda and ice cream were persona non grata at home, and we'd only get ginger ale and ice milk floats in the recovery phase of a stomach flu.

"Can I have a white cow instead?"

"Lemme see," she'd say. "Yep, I have a bottle of 7Up in here."

A brown cow was vanilla floating in either cola or root beer, a white cow was vanilla in 7Up or cream soda, an upside-down brown cow was chocolate ice cream in a clear(ish) soda, and so forth.

"You know what would be funny?"


"A pink cow. You should make a pink cow sometime!"

Sometime, though, was then, because she had grenadine on hand, and so I got my surreal pink cow, catching me completely by surprise, and a lifetime of obsession with grenadine and nonalcoholic pink drinks, which is why my relaxing beverage of choice remains the peculiar Parisette.

In the pandemonium of adulthood, a little grenadine is my route back to a small kitchen in a small house on the unglamorous eastern side of Baltimore, with the strata of blue menthol in the air and someone always listening, watching out for every detail.
posted by sonascope at 10:19 AM on March 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

When I was a kid we could walk a couple blocks down the street to a Shaw's. My float invention at the time was thin mint ice cream and 7up.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:38 AM on March 2, 2014

My particular regional float of choice would be vanilla ice cream with Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale.
posted by ndfine at 11:24 AM on March 2, 2014

Sorry, the plain 'ol Coke float is by far the best of all floats. Root beer and sarsaparilla tie in a close second, unless it's nasty root beer, in which case I would rather just drink some crappy creme soda since it'll taste about the same. All the other frou-frou is just silly.

Sarsaparilla owns root beer, btw.
posted by wierdo at 12:50 PM on March 2, 2014

My wife likes this drink made with coffee ice-cream and ginger ale. She claims it's a New England (more specifically Rhode Island) thing and everyone calls it a "Horse's Neck". Both the name and the ingredients sound vile to me and I think she is making up the whole thing.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:33 AM on March 3, 2014

I haven't heard of that combo, but coffee milk is most certainly a Rhode Island thing.

(I'm from VT and live in BOS, so maybe a horse's neck is a drink in RI, but it's just an oddly chosen noun up north.)

(Horse's Neck could easily be a place name - perhaps a local restaurant/dairy bar made it?)
posted by maryr at 7:24 AM on March 3, 2014

When I worked at Dairy Queen we hated making root beer floats — root beer foams so much worse upon contact with ice cream than any of the other sodas, it's ridiculous. (That Mr. Misty stuff doesn't foam at all, bless it. You wanted a Mr. Misty float? We loved you!)

*sploosh root beer into cup*
*scoop off foam, splat into trash can*
*sploosh root beer into cup*
*scoop off foam, splat into trash can*
*sploosh root beer into cup*
*scoop off foam, splat into trash can*
*peer into cup to check liquid level*
*sigh disheartenedly*
*sploosh root beer into cup*
*scoop off foam, splat into trash can*
*sploosh root beer into cup*
*scoop off foam, splat into trash can*
*sploosh root beer into cup*
*scoop off foam, splat into trash can*

We hated making Blizzards more, but it was a toss-up.
posted by Lexica at 9:21 PM on March 4, 2014

I found the origin of the Horse's Neck! It's a mixed drink made with ginger ale.
posted by maryr at 6:08 PM on March 15, 2014

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