Creamy ice cream and bubbly soda are a match made in dessert heaven. Reminisce about your childhood with a trip to an old fashioned iced cream parlor or diner and stop by these New York City shops and restaurants for a taste of the good ole’ days.
Bell Book & Candle
141 W. 10th St.
New York, NY
Honest goodness — that’s what this root beer float at Bell Book & Candle is all about. As Chef John Mooney told CBSNewYork, the soda is is house brewed. “I brew and ferment the root beer on site and I use an extract because it keeps the flavor more consistent,” he said. In fact, the vanilla ice cream and whipped cream are also homemade — and topped with a cherry. This indulgent drink can be spiked with booze for a grown-up treat.
This root beer float takes you back to New York’s past, when horses roamed the streets and floppy newsboy caps were worn un-ironically. The brother-sister team behind the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain tapped into the nostalgia by painstakingly restoring an actual 1920s-era soda fountain in Carroll Gardens (check out its mosaic-tile floors and pressed-tin ceiling). Here, it’s OK to not only refer to the people making the sodas and sundaes behind the counter as “jerks,” but downright encouraged. Ice cream floats on offer include the Pink Poodle (pictured), Purple Cow (grape soda and vanilla ice cream) and Autumn Spice (ginger soda and pumpkin ice cream), or you can dream up your own.
Eddie's Sweet Shop
This root beer float is another drinking brimming with nostalgia. When you enter Eddie’s, on your right is a display case of candy; many of them the kind you got when you were a kid. Flood your senses with nostalgia as you pore over the selection; turn to your left and the original bar with original barstools and even the original cash register are all still there. Every flavor of ice cream is homemade, as is the whipped cream and all of the syrups and toppings.
Virgil's Real Barbecue
Both traditional root beer floats and root beer float-inspired cocktails can be found at Virgil’s Real Barbecue. They’re currently featuring a Blueberry Wheat Float, a mix of Shipyard Blueberry Wheat Beer and Vanilla Ice Cream, and an eccentric Vanilla Porter Float, made with Breckenridge Porter, Cointreau and Vanilla Ice Cream. These fun floats are a great addition to the Sliced Texas Beef Brisket Sandwich or the Flat Dog, two Hebrew National hot dogs, split open and grilled, served on toasted potato bread rolls.
Fernet Root Beer Float, Corkbuzz Wine Studio
A brand new addition to the dessert menu at Corkbuzz Wine Studio, the master sommelier at Corkbuzz calls this a “grown up root beer float,” and notes that customers rave about the drink. This meal-ending sweetness is made with Mug’s root beer and Fernet Branca, an Italian bitter. The Fernet root beer float is topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Corkbuzz, the classy Union Square wine bar, also offers wine classes, events and a wine club. For more boozy desserts and frozen drinks, check out our favorites for summer 2013.
Sarah Shaker contributed to this report. She is the founder of the blog Bright Lights, My City.