National Root Beer Float Day: How to Make a Root Beer Float Cocktail & More

National Root Beer Float Day, as you might expect, is a delightful celebration of a classic American treat loved by many! This annual event pays tribute to the beloved root beer float, a creamy and fizzy concoction that has been enjoyed for generations. Today, we’re going to chat about root beer, its unique taste, and answer a couple of common questions – like how is root beer made, and what is root beer? Additionally, we’ll learn how to make a delicious root beer float cocktail and explore other root beer cocktail recipes to elevate your celebration. Let’s jump right in!

What is Root Beer?

Root beer is a carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage made from the roots of various plants, including sassafras. Its defining flavor is a rich blend of earthy, sweet, and slightly spicy notes. The drink is often served cold in a frosted mug, enhancing its refreshing qualities.

Learn More: National Root Beer Day: How to Mix Up Hard Root Beer Cocktails Galore!

A Brief History of Root Beer

The history of root beer can be traced back to colonial America when early settlers were introduced to the indigenous people’s medicinal concoctions made from various roots and herbs. These early root-based beverages laid the foundation for what we now know as root beer. Over time, the recipe evolved and included additional ingredients such as sassafras, wintergreen, anise, and birch bark.

What Does Root Beer Taste Like?

Root beer’s taste is hard to pinpoint because it’s a mix of many different flavors. It has a sweet and somewhat creamy profile with hints of vanilla, caramel, and wintergreen. The sassafras root contributes to its unique and distinctive taste, setting it apart from other soft drinks.

How Is Root Beer Made?

The process of making root beer is, unsurprisingly, a mix of science and art. Traditionally, root beer was brewed like beer, with the fermentation of sugars creating natural carbonation. However, today’s commercial root beer is typically non-alcoholic and carbonated through forced carbonation.

The basic ingredients of root beer include sassafras root, sugar or sweeteners, water, and yeast. Additional herbs and spices like licorice, vanilla, cinnamon, and anise can also be added to enhance the flavor. The roots and spices are boiled to extract their essence and then mixed with sugar and yeast. The mixture ferments for a short period, after which it is filtered and carbonated to create the final product.

What Is a Root Beer Float?

A root beer float is a classic American dessert beverage made by combining root beer and vanilla ice cream. This timeless beverage is often served in a tall glass or frosted mug. To create a root beer float, two or more scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream are placed in the glass, and then root beer is poured over the ice cream. 

The carbonation of the root beer creates a frothy and bubbly mixture, blending the sweet and creamy flavors of the ice cream with the distinctive taste of root beer. 

When Is National Root Beer Float Day?

National Root Beer Float Day is celebrated annually on August 6th. This special day honors the timeless tradition of enjoying the classic root beer float, a delightful combination of root beer and creamy vanilla ice cream – or, if you want to make yours boozy, we won’t judge!

How to Make a Root Beer Float Cocktail

While the traditional root beer float is fantastic, you can elevate your National Root Beer Float Day celebration with some spirits. This “adult version” adds a twist you’ll appreciate to the classic treat. Here’s a simple and delicious recipe to try:

  1. In a tall glass or a chilled mug, place two scoops of vanilla ice cream.
  2. Add 1 oz spiced rum and ½ oz vanilla vodka to the glass.
  3. Slowly pour 8 oz root beer over the ice cream and liquor. 
  4. Optional: Top with whipped cream and a cherry for a classic touch.
  5. Insert a straw and a long spoon, and enjoy your delightful root beer float cocktail!

Other Root Beer Cocktails to Try

If you aren’t looking to dip into the ice cream just yet, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few more cocktails you can mix up to celebrate root beer without all of the calories:

Root Beer Cocktail #1: The Root Beer Bourbon Fizz

  • 1 ½ ounces of bourbon
  • ½ ounce of fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce of simple syrup
  • 4 ounces of root beer
  • Lime slice (for garnish)


In a shaker filled with ice, combine the bourbon, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake well and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with root beer and garnish with a lime slice.

Root Beer Cocktail #2: The Root Beer Moscow Mule

  • 2 ounces of vodka
  • ½ ounce of lime juice
  • 4 ounces of root beer
  • Fresh mint leaves (for garnish)


Fill a copper mug with ice and add the vodka and lime juice. Stir well and top with root beer. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Root Beer Cocktail #3: The Root Beer Float Martini

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add 1 ½ oz vanilla or whipped cream vodka, 1 ½ oz root beer liqueur, and 1 oz heavy cream to the shaker.
  3. Shake the ingredients well until they are thoroughly combined and chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Top the cocktail with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
  6. Enjoy!

Root Beer Cocktail #4: The Root Beer Old Fashioned

  1. In a mixing glass, combine 2 oz bourbon, ½ oz root beer syrup, and 2 dashes of bitters.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and stir the mixture until it is well chilled.
  3. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
  4. Garnish the drink with an orange twist for an extra burst of flavor and aroma.
  5. Enjoy!

How to Make the Best Root Beer Cocktails for National Root Beer Float Day

National Root Beer Float Day is the perfect opportunity to elevate your celebrations by indulging in some delicious root beer cocktails. To ensure your cocktails are as yummy as they can be, consider the following tips and tricks that will take your root beer creations to the next level:

Use Fresh Ingredients

For the best tasting root beer cocktails, always opt for fresh and high-quality ingredients. Freshly squeezed citrus juices, real vanilla extract, and top-notch spirits can make a significant difference in the overall flavor and aroma of your cocktails. Avoid artificial syrups or low-quality mixers, as they can detract from the natural taste of the root beer and diminish the drinking experience.

Try Local Root Beers

Experiment with different root beer brands, especially local ones. Local root beers often showcase unique flavor profiles, as they may use regional ingredients or follow traditional recipes that offer a distinctive taste. Supporting local businesses not only adds a touch of authenticity to your cocktails but also fosters a connection to your community.

Use Locally-Distilled Spirits

Pairing your root beer with locally-distilled spirits can create a harmonious blend of flavors that represent the essence of your region. Whether it’s a craft bourbon, spiced rum, or a flavored vodka, locally-produced spirits can add depth and character to your cocktails. Check out nearby distilleries to find the perfect match for your root beer creations.

Use High-Quality Ice Cream

While some root beer cocktails exclude ice cream, including a scoop of high-quality vanilla ice cream can turn a simple cocktail into a delectable root beer float-inspired treat. 

Use the Right Glass

The glassware you use can influence the overall experience of your root beer cocktails. Tall glasses or frosted mugs are ideal for root beer floats, while classic cocktail glasses or rocks glasses work well for other root beer-inspired concoctions. Chilled glassware also ensures that your cocktails remain refreshing from the first sip to the last.

Distillery Nearby: Your One-Stop Shop for Finding Local Distilleries Near You

In conclusion, National Root Beer Float Day is a delightful celebration of root beer and its refreshing cocktails. From the classic root beer float to creative concoctions like Root Beer Float Martini and Root Beer Old Fashioned, there’s a drink for everyone. 

For the best cocktails, fresh ingredients reign supreme. We encourage you to try local root beers and pair them with local spirits, too. And remember, you can find local distilleries near you with our “by-state” directory; they’ll help you elevate your cocktails with a touch of local flair.

So, cheers to National Root Beer Float Day! Enjoy responsibly!

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