Ice Cream Experiment

Something magic happens when you mix root beer with vanilla ice cream.  A root beer float occurs, a rich and creamy transcendent flavor package that is more than the sum of its parts.

Well, it seems like that to me, but I really like root beer floats.

So when my daughter and I came in from playing this afternoon, I agreed when she said it was time for root beer floats.

But then disaster struck.  While we had plenty of ice cream (Dryers Vanilla Bean), there was no root beer to be had.

We had other sodas around the house, but the failed experiments of youth flooded back to me.

Sure, when you’re young, you think that if root beer tastes great with vanilla ice cream, then other beverages must as well.

So you try Coke, and it is okay, but the carbonation is too sharp and the flavors don’t meld quite right.  Then there is lemon-lime in the form of 7-Up or Sprite, but the faux citrus flavoring doesn’t mix as well as you would wish with the vanilla.  And the less said about diet sodas or ginger ale mixed with ice cream, the better.

So it was with some trepidation that I inventoried the soda reserves in our refrigerator.  The usual suspects were there, Coke, Diet Coke, ginger ale, Sprite… but then I spotted something a little different, a soda that did not exist in my youth.

Mountain Dew Code Red!

Could this cherry flavored soda succeed where others had failed?

It certainly had potential.  Like root beer, the carbonation in Code Red is more subdued than colas.  And the flavoring was something different.

And so we set out to create the Code Red Float.

Two tall glasses

Two scoops of ice cream in each

Half a can of Mountain Dew Code Red in each glass

The results looked promising.

Warning: Experimental Drink!

Warning: Experimental Drink!

The mixture foamed up like any good root beer float ought to, with a thick and creamy foam.  When stirred with a straw, the harsh red of the drink mellowed into a happy summer shade of pink.

That left only the taste test.

I shouted, “ARE YOU READY?” which got something of an eye roll from my daughter, but she said she was.  I let her choose her glass and we gave it a try.

Pretty good.

The cherry flavor of the Code Red mixed well with the vanilla bean ice cream, forming a different flavor, a light cherry cream akin to something in the middle of a chocolate candy.

We drank up.

My daughter was less enthusiastic about the remaining ice cream.  But she isn’t big on the left over ice cream in a root beer float either.  I, on the other hand, did what I have done since I was a child, which was slurp every last bit of ice cream loudly through the straw until the glass was empty.

Experiment Complete

Experiment Complete

The remaining foam in the glass even had the same tenacious nature that a root beer float leaves, a concoction that is just short of caulk if left to dry in the glass.

And so our experiment was declared a success.

But I’m still putting root beer on the shopping list.

10 thoughts on “Ice Cream Experiment

  1. mbp

    Your post brings me back to a half remembered drink from my youth called “cream soda” which was specifically designed to mix with ice-cream. I haven’t seen it on sale in over 30 year but I can still remember the exquisite taste and texture. It had a roundness of taste that quite literally rolled off the tongue. Wikipedia even has an article on it so I amn’t dreaming but it doesn’t seem to be available here in Ireland any more.


  2. Bhagpuss

    Cream Soda was widely available in the U.K. in the 1970s and certainly hung on into the 1980s. Not seen it for a loooong time. Wasn’t Cresta (of the famous “It’s Frothy, Man!” Bear commercials) a form of Cream Soda too?

    I can still vividly remember the first time I ever had an “Ice Cream Float”. It was in the cafe of the Weston Super Mare mini-golf course and iwould have been maybe 11 or 12 years old, soaround 1970-71. It was an almost supernatural event. The chemical reaction of Coca Cola to vanilla ice-cream was spectacular and the taste was almost as good.

    Never tasted as good afterwards, although it was always enjoyable enough. I think it was the sheer weirdness of being served what looked like a science experiment.

    Funnily enough, I can also still remember the first time i ever tasted Root Beer. It’s a deeply unpopular drink in the U.K., always treated with both suspicion and derision and frequently spat out with loud disgusted noises.

    As a reader of American comics and comic strips from the age of 6, and American novels from just a few years later, I was theoretically familiar with Root Beer (it comes up particularly often in “Peanuts” I seem to recall). I first encountered it in actuality in a McDonalds in London (I remember my first encounter with the legendary McDonalds pretty clearly too – made a special trip across London when I was passing through just to visit one of the first McDonalds to open here, God, but the 70s was a different world…).

    Never had a Root Beer Float, though. Root Beer is very, very much an acquired taste and I find it hard to imagine it would be enhanced by the scummy residue of effervescing ice-cream. If I get the chance, I’ll give it a try, all the same.


  3. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I haven’t looked for cream soda in a while, but it used to be fairly common in various forms, including red and blue off-shoots.

    I’m not a huge fan of root beer. It is a sweet drink that kids like. The problem is that once you realize that it tastes like tooth paste, it is tough to drink it again. But putting it over vanilla ice cream, of that I never tire.


  4. Changling Bob

    I find that root beer doesn’t taste of tooth paste, but of the bright pink mouthwash that dentists have on their crazy moving chair after you’ve had your teeth polished or whatever.


  5. Mick

    In Australia, these are called spiders. My personal favourite was a Sarsparilla Spider………mmmm, lip smacking. Thanks for the memories.


  6. theerivs

    I will now have to shave my head, and wear robes to follow you as a disciple. I love Dew:Red. I have never thought of this. Kudos to you sir.

    I do Orange soda, and Vanilla Ice Cream. It’s like a dreamcicle.


  7. ~*Sam*~

    I am currently sitting here with a cream soda float (Fanta Cream Soda), which I find quite funny. I was trying to find out if the foam that forms is from some sort of Chemical reaction, when I came across this post. Another experiment you should try is classic orange pop. It tastes just like an orange creamsicle, a flavour that never gets old.


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