A Grown-up Twist on the Root Beer Float

May 19, 2008 | By | Comments (5)

_dsf0483At my last big dinner party, I served 2 dozen friends the simplest dessert I’ve ever made. Nothing more than a scoop of top-shelf vanilla ice cream doused with spicy ginger ale, the 2-ingredient concoction had guests swooning all night long. "I don’t even like ginger ale, but this is amazing," gushed one, while another has since decided to serve it at her wedding. Do I sound annoyingly self-congratulatory? Well, guilty as charged. It really was that good.

Known as a Boston Cooler, the drink has been a local favorite
in Detroit (home of Vernors ginger ale) for decades, where it was supposedly invented on Boston Boulevard. The key to success is using a really robust, complex ginger ale to play off the creamy vanilla — Vernors is obviously delicious, as is Buffalo Rock, or try a Jamaican-style ginger beer (available at www.vernors.com, www.buffalorock.com, or at well-stocked supermarkets). Cool and creamy, it’s also got a mouth-tingling bite that says, "This float is for big kids. Now go pour another."


  1. Jason Horn

    I had never even heard of Buffalo Rock until I moved to Birmingham, but it’s head and shoulders above any other ginger ale I’ve ever had (never had Vernor’s though). I actually tastes like, you know, ginger.
    But I think it was the love you put into your Boston Coolers that made them so good, Charlene.

    May 21, 2008 at 1:32 pm
  2. Maura

    Vernors is the only ginger ale I like — though it’s hard to find by me — and now I’m SO looking forward to trying this. Thanks!

    May 22, 2008 at 9:11 am
  3. Nan

    Had these for a Memorial Day bbq. Used Vernors and I was going to have another glass but all the ice cream was gone!! Light tasting and very enjoyable. Wonder how it would be with other flavors of ice cream?

    May 29, 2008 at 12:18 pm
  4. charlene

    Jason – Awww…
    Maura – Let me know what you think! It would be a great drink for a cookout.
    Nan – SO glad you tried it. I love ginger with all sorts of flavors, although vanilla is definitely tops for this sundae. For something a little more sophisticated, how about ginger ale with a bittersweet chocolate ice cream? Ginger and chocolate is such a great combo (I love chocolate bars with candied ginger, and sometimes sneak ginger into my fudge cookies). Or, for something wacky, how about ginger ale with rum and raisin ice cream? It would be like a dessert version of a Dark and Stormy cocktail, just with raisins thrown in.

    June 16, 2008 at 7:37 pm
  5. Isabel

    What a great idea! I served these root beer floats for dessert at a recent casual dinner party – which happened to take place on one of the hottest days of the year – They were a huge hit.

    July 21, 2008 at 11:07 am

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