Aug 31, 2022

How to Make an Alcoholic Root Beer Float

Prep Time: 5 mins
A nostalgic root beer float but with an adult twist!

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I loved ordering root beer floats as a kid. The combination of creamy vanilla ice cream and fizzy root beer was the ultimate treat especially in the hot summer months. Adding alcohol can give the classic root beer float an adult twist. Spiking the rich and creamy drink with bourbon adds more complex flavors and is perfect for when you want a drink and dessert in one. I love eating the float right away so the ice cream doesn’t have time to melt and it can be eaten partly with a spoon. 

How to Make an Alcoholic Root Beer Float

Key Ingredients in This Recipe 

  • Root beer – Root beer is made from the root bark of the sassafras tree. Today the flavoring is typically artificial sassafras with notes of vanilla, licorice, sarsaparilla, nutmeg and more. For a nationwide brand I like Stewart’s root beer and for a smaller brand I like Maine Root. 
  • Ice cream – While you can certainly get creative with your ice cream flavors, vanilla is classic in this recipe. My favorite is to use a rich French ice cream made with more egg yolks like the NY based brand Van Leeuwen. 
  • Bourbon – Bourbon is a type of American whiskey made primarily from distilled corn. Not all whiskey is bourbon, but all bourbon is whiskey. While both rye and bourbon can be used in this recipe, I prefer to use bourbon.

Instructions for Making This Alcoholic Root Beer Float

Step 1: Add ice cream. 

Scoop the vanilla ice cream into a tall glass. 

Step 2: Add the bourbon and root beer. 

Add the bourbon then slowly pour the root beer over the top, stopping to let the foam settle before adding more. 

Step 3: Serve. 

Serve immediately with a straw and long spoon.

Alcoholic Root Beer Float Tips

Swaps and Substitutions 
  • For an added touch try topping the root beer float with whipped cream or a maraschino cherry. 
  • If you aren’t a bourbon fan, try swapping it for vanilla flavored vodka instead. 
To make it non-alcoholic 

Simply omit the bourbon to make a classic root beer float. 

Other variations on the alcoholic float: 

If you want to try something beyond the classic combination of vanilla ice cream and root beer, try these:

  • Vodka + ginger beer or ginger ale + vanilla ice cream
  • Hard apple cider + bourbon + caramel ice cream 
  • Vodka (plain or vanilla vodka)  + orange soda + vanilla ice cream 
  • Kahlua + coke + vanilla ice cream 
  • Spiced rum + coke + butter pecan ice cream 

Other Recipes to Try 

If you enjoy this adult root beer float, try giving these easy recipes a try: 

How to Make an Alcoholic Root Beer Float

Print Pin
Prep Time 5 mins
Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 cup root beer

Instructions:

  • Scoop the vanilla ice cream into a tall glass.
  • Add the bourbon then slowly pour the root beer over the top, stopping to let the foam settle before adding more.
  • Serve immediately with a straw and long spoon.

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