HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Does Texas recognize the Root Beer Float?

On a cross-country trip in 1977 I stopped at a Dairy Queen. When I asked for a root beer float, the woman behind the counter didn't know what I was talking about. They had root beer. They had ice cream. She'd never heard of combining them. "Where you from?", she asked.

I haven't been in Texas (or a Dairy Queen) since, so could someone who has tell me; is this a real cultural quirk, or was she an isolated case?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Heh heh. If you'd asked for a Dr. Pepper float the gal might have embraced you and said, "Yew betcha, hun!"

    But seriously, I don't think root beer is a big deal down here. Dr. Pepper is the most popular Coke. And I have fond recollections of my grandma making me Coke floats back in the seventies.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Perilagu Khan

      "Dr. Pepper is the most popular Coke"

      Interesting to see in use an American regional dialect, which I have heard of, but had not previously experienced.

      I find it interesting that "Coke" is capitalized in this usage.

      1. re: FrankJBN

        Well I wouldn't want to associate Dr. Pepper with cocaine. ;)

    2. Definitely an isolated case.

      1. Definitely an isolated case. Go to Texas now and stop into a Sonic Drive-In and ask for a float. They'll even make you a float with ice cream inside a slushy!

        1 Reply
        1. re: PotatoHouse

          That sounds good. I'd probably like Sonic.

        2. I was just intrigued by the title/ question of your thread. Obviously, things have changed since you had that memorable experience in 1977. 1977??? After checking out your post and the replies, I did a Google search for Texas and Root beer float. No shortage of hits- pages of them, with Texas locations mentioned from east to west. One Google hit caught my eye, especially. "How to make a Root Beer Float, and other Texas Delights." The website itself, texascooking.com, actually uses the heading, "Traditional Texas Food: articles about Texas' most famous foods." and finally gets into the specific piece, "Keeping it Cool." A picture of a classic Root beer float is off to the side of the article.
          Check it out at your leisure: http://www.texascooking.com/features/...

          1. hmmm I was in Texas in 1977 but I don't think I ever asked for a root beer float. We generally make them at home. Not sure how long they have been in the state but there is A&W down here, so I'm going to say yes.

            1. It may have been due more to the times than the place. I think ice cream floats had mostly fallen out of fashion in the 70s, except for a few areas that still had oldstyle soda fountains. (And old fashioned folks like us who still ordered them.) I remember not seeing a malted milkshake anywhere for years. But retro-style Americana has made a big comeback since then, and the popularity of those soda-fountain standards has spread beyond the novelty market and back into the mainstream again. That's how it seems to me, anyway. Purple Cow, anyone?

              4 Replies
                1. re: gaffk

                  Dairyette on Ferguson Rd in Dallas makes them with homeade root beer and in frosted mugs!

                2. re: eclecticsynergy

                  I just made The Chew's version of a purple cow yesterday. I like it way better than a root beer float!

                  1. re: eclecticsynergy

                    Malts are still common in Texas. I much prefer them to milkshakes, and I do love a tasty milkshake.

                  2. In regards to root beer floats and regions - this summer I was in upstate New York, and saw a group of older women order root beer floats at McDonald's. McDonald's has root beer and soft serve, so it's not like it couldn't be done, but I don't know if it's some off menu secret that you can order at any McDonald's or just in certain places.

                    1. Go to Red Robin for a root beer float; they treat you right! I don't know anything about Texas except we got great steaks there when passin' through Abilene.