ROOT Beer Ice Cream Float · GF (1 quart ice cream)

Sassafras is the original “root” in Root Beer, but has fallen by the wayside in modern recipes. You can read more about why here.

But what makes this recipe unique is that it utilizes both sassafras and birch bark (in the form of a liquor called “ROOT”). Having two different “roots” in the recipe makes for a truly unique and intense root beer experience. I developed this recipe specifically to use ROOT after the bartender at Table 310 went through hell and high water to acquire a bottle for me.

sassafras bark

So to make this, you’ll need to find sassafras bark (pictured above) and ROOT (pictured below).

I purchase sassafras at the Farmers’ Market, so check your local markets or health food stores in your area. If you find someone selling the essential oil, it is not intended for human consumption, do not use it. This recipe can only be made from organic sassafras bark.

ROOT is a reproduction of a prohibition era Root Beer recipe from a super rad group called Art in the Age. Do not substitute Root Beer Scnaps, etc; their harsh, chemically flavor will absolutely derail this ice cream. The recipe really hinges on using ROOT. Check out the “store locator” on their site to find some near you.

Art in the Age Root

ROOT ice cream
12 oz cream
12 oz milk
3, 4” sticks of Sassafras bark
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
8 egg yolks
5 ounces sugar
5 ounces brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 oz ROOT
the zest of 1 small orange

For the Float
1 bottle of micro-brewed Root Beer for every 2 servings
1 shot of ROOT for every serving
Black tea poached orange slices to garnish

In a medium pot, bring the milk and cream to a boil together with the sassafras and vanilla bean. When the mixture begins to simmer, shut off the heat and cover with a lid. Steep at least one hour and up to three.

After you’ve finished steeping, whisk the yolks with the sugars and salt in a medium bowl.

Bring the milk/cream mixture back to a simmer. Once the mixture is nice and hot, shut off the heat and remove the sassafras. Use a spatula to scrape off all of the heavily flavored cream that will cling to the sticks of sassfras; likewise scrape out the vanilla cream from inside the vanilla pod.

Now, whisk some of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, a ladle-full at a time, until the egg mixture is quite warm. Then whisk it back into the pot of cream.

Stir over medium heat until the anglaise thickens (“coating the back of a spoon” being the popular description of done-ness). Immediately strain into a large bowl. Stir in the ROOT and orange zest.

Cool in an ice bath, refrigerate for 24 hours, and churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions and freeze for several hours before serving.

To make the float

Fill a tall Pilsner with a few scoops of ROOT ice cream, pour a shot of ROOT over it, then top it off with Root Beer. Garnish with black tea poached orange slices if you like and serve with a straw.

We haven’t done a proper photo shoot for this float yet, but in the mean time, here’s a snapshot Mr. BraveTart enjoying a Pilsner of it at Table 310 over the weekend.

a tall pilsner of root beer float


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Any questions?

Jul 06, 2011 ·  3:43 PM

This looks fantastic!!

 · Kelly ·

Jul 06, 2011 ·  9:44 PM

That is so cool! I don’t have root beer floats too often but everytime I do I enjoy them very much.

 · Emily @ Life on Food ·

Jul 07, 2011 ·  5:43 PM

@Kelly, thanks so much! It’s really nice to have a boozy treat that’s so innocent and nostalgic at the same time. A fun dichotomy.

@Emily, I think what I love most is how homemade ice cream melts a little faster and makes for a creamier, foamier float. Yum.


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