School is ending, vacations are being planned, pools are being filled and tackle boxes are being prepared for an all-day adventure. But how will you treat yourself this summer? Root beer floats may be the perfect refreshment for those hot, sweltering days ahead! Root beer, a naturally caffeine-free soft drink, has a sweet flavor both children and adults can’t get enough of. So what makes root beer so good? It’s main ingredient, sarsaparilla, has a memorable flavor – and potential health benefits!
That’s right, Looney Tunes’ character Yosemite Sam loves his “sasparilly” drink, was actually made from a root, something people probably won’t think about – considering he spent so much of his time hunting that rascal rabbit. But root beer is also made out of 15 other roots and herbs, too – hence the name, and it can also be made into an alcoholic drink for those of legal age. Need another reason to try a delicious root beer float with sarsaparilla? Celebrate National Root Beer Float Day on August 6, when you can drop by A&W restaurants and get a free root beer float!
Sarsaparilla vs. Root Beer
Did you also know that if the sarsaparilla root had never been discovered or created, root beer probably won’t exist? So if root beer mainly exists because of sarsaparilla, what exactly is it? That’s right, drinking this soft drink has its advantages. Sarsaparilla is known to be a medicinal herb and has been said to relieve stomach discomfort, aid digestion and promote healthy skin. It is rich in probiotics, organic acids and electrolytes.
There are actually two different types of root beer – sarsaparilla root beer, which is made only with one ingredient. You guessed it – sarsaparilla. Then there’s what most people consider regular root beer, which contains sarsaparilla in addition to other ingredients such as cinnamon, clove, licorice, vanilla, and wintergreen.
Old-fashioned root beer tends to have a softer aftertaste than sarsaparilla. There are reasons to believe that the main reason root beer was created was because some people didn’t like the sharp taste of sarsaparilla by itself.
If you know someone doesn’t like root beer or sarsaparilla but would still like its benefits, sarsaparilla is also available in capsules and tablets.
Root Beer Float Recipe
If you are wanting to make a homemade root beer float with root beer or sarsaparilla alone, follow these simple instructions:
- Organic vanilla ice cream
- Sarsaparilla or root beer – We recommend Virgil’s Root Beer, a natural micro-brewed soda with a vintage-feel, available at Whole Foods and Walmart.
- Whipped cream
- Place 2-3 small scoops of ice cream in a tall glass
- Add enough sarsaparilla or root beer to fill the glass
- Top with whipped cream
- Serve with long spoon or straw
To make an adult (alcoholic) root beer float, follow the same recipe above but add a shot of bourbon (or vodka, or Whisper Creek Sipping Cream). The other option is to use alcoholic root beer, such as the brand Not Your Father’s Root Beer. Because, why not? You deserve a root beer break!
What’s your favorite way to try root beer? Have you ever tried straight sarsaparilla root beer? Check out more root beer fun facts here, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Photo by Raúl Nájera on Unsplash