HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Are you making a specialty food? Tell us about it

root beer floats

marymac Oct 5, 2012 08:45 AM

This isn't cooking, per se, but it's very annoying. When I make root beer floats the ice cream turns to ice crystals. What am I doing wrong? Thanks, Mary Mac

  1. todao Oct 5, 2012 05:08 PM

    You're not doing anything wrong except, perhaps, selecting an ice cream that is closer to ice milk than ice cream. All ice cream products contain a certain amount of water and the lower the fat content of the ice cream the greater is its likelihood to form ice crystals in your float. However, if the root beer is cold, the glass is cold and the ice cream is cold you're gonna get some amount of ice crystals, regardless of how hard you try not to.

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao
      marymac Oct 5, 2012 05:25 PM

      Mmmmm...think I'll put ice cream in a cold glass and add room temperature rootbeer. Maybe that'll work.

      1. re: marymac
        todao Oct 5, 2012 05:41 PM

        That's what I normally do. I don't like drinks too cold. They seem to lose their refreshing qualities when they're too cold.

        1. re: todao
          marymac Oct 6, 2012 09:08 AM

          Ahhhh....much better, thanks all!

    2. sunshine842 Oct 5, 2012 10:35 AM

      I remember going to the Dog 'n' Suds drive-in and having them bring root bear in icy mugs -- you could see ice chips floating in the root beer -- the mug was so cold that it froze paper-thin layers of rootbeer at the edges of the glass, that then broke free and floated into the root beer (ahhh....so good on a hot muggy night!)

      I think it's the same thing -- the ice cream freezes a little bit of the rootbeer...and it's one of my favorite parts.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842
        marymac Oct 5, 2012 01:01 PM

        That could be it! I use frozen beer mugs for my floats.

        1. re: marymac
          Hank Hanover Oct 5, 2012 03:46 PM

          Even at the old A&W Root Beer stands of long ago when they served floats or just root beer in frosted mugs, that didn't happen. They served soft serve ice cream so I doubt that it is the quality of the ice cream.

          Some of the ice might come off the mug but it wouldn't seem like it had turned the ice cream to ice crystals.

          1. re: Hank Hanover
            marymac Oct 5, 2012 04:06 PM

            No, it shouldn't. It wasn't just a little. Every bit of ice cream was a piece of ice. I have never had that happen.

            1. re: marymac
              sunshine842 Oct 6, 2012 02:40 AM

              ah -- I've only ever seen it as just a light crust. Didn't realize you meant it was all frozen!

              Richer ice cream might be an answer (less water/skim milk = lower freeze temperature)

      2. biondanonima Oct 5, 2012 09:36 AM

        I think it's because the ice crystals in the ice cream form "nucleation" sites for the root beer to grab onto - similar to the principle of seeding melted chocolate with tempered chocolate to temper it.

        1. iluvcookies Oct 5, 2012 09:29 AM

          What ice cream are you using?

          2 Replies
          1. re: iluvcookies
            marymac Oct 5, 2012 10:30 AM

            I'm using Edy's.

            1. re: marymac
              iluvcookies Oct 5, 2012 11:57 AM

              I'm inclined to agree with sunshine842 below... the root beer is freezing a little. But you could try it with a denser, higher fat ice cream to see if the texture improves.

          Show Hidden Posts