#FrozenFriday: The Art of the 'Adult Root Beer Float'

The Adult root beer float lineup

A familiar taste envelops your tongue, coating it in a delicious spice from a chilled, refreshing root beer. While your taste buds are frazzled by the soda, it then hits you: a sweet, thick vanilla cream blankets the flavor with a smooth wallop. You close your eyes, blissfully accepting the sweet delectable treat; and just when you thought that it was the end, you get a snap of cinnamon as the final kiss to the experience.

Yeah, I’m talking about the generation-spanning root beer float. Your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents had shared this wonderful treat together like old lovers did -- back when they watched drive-in films, or sat at the red and silver diner, sharing a single glass with two striped straws.

The classic root beer float, although today is viewed as a treat for the young, is a drink the 21st-century adult can still enjoy with a very adult twist -- spiking it with their favorite liquor.

Although you might think, “uh, it’s an adult root beer float, what could be so difficult about it?” I must answer with: Yeah, it’s not hard, but choosing the right alcohol and the right amount of each ingredient makes all the difference.

The Alcohol of Choice

Adult root beer float liquor choices

We’re firm believers that a spiked drink means the alcohol accentuates the drink as an added bonus -- we don’t want our spiked root beer floats tasting like a jar of whiskey with ice cream.

So picking the right liquor makes a difference between overpowering the flavor, or adding to it. Here’s our quick guide to what works for a float:

    • Spiced Rum: It adds to the zing that a root beer float naturally brings, so why not take it further?
    • Kahlua: Delicious and sweet, BUT can be overpowering. We recommend half the dosage for this, Doctor.
    • Vodka: Perfect as a very subtle liqueur that blends into the root beer.
    • Vanilla Vodka: Even better than the standard vodka for the flavored aspect helps with the root beer sweetness.
    • Whiskey: My personal preference is to use Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey, and double the dosage as it has the perfect dark spice to give a good punch to this float. (or as I like to call it, this is the grandfather fisticuffs version).
    • The Lazy Method: Sometimes when you’re too tired to prepare or go out to the shop to buy all the ingredients, you can purchase the pre-spiked root beers. There are many brands out there like Not Your Father’s Root Beer or the Coney Island Root Beer. Just throw some ice cream on it and you’re all set!


Serves for 2.


Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Yield: 2 Servings

  • 2 cans of root beer
  • 2 fluid oz. (4 tablespoons) of your alcohol of choice
  • 4 scoops of your choice of ice cream (preference of vanilla / coconut)
  • 6 pinches of cinnamon

Adult root beer float pouring



  1. Pour half of a can of root beer into each of your two large mugs*. Use a beer layering spoon to minimize foaming by pouring directly on the spoon. Add two tablespoons of the alcohol of choice into each cup. Stir to ensure that the root beer and alcohol are well mixed.
  2. You’ll be preparing two scoops of ice cream per mug. But before you drop them in, cover each scoop with a small sprinkle of cinnamon so that you’ll get the flavor throughout the glass.
  3. Drop the two scoops of cinnamon-sprinkled ice cream into each glass while ensuring that you be careful to not overfill or splash the soda too much. To prevent splashing tilt the mug and drop the ice cream along the side so it could slide with ease.
  4. Pop open the second can of root beer and split it between the two mugs, topping off the adultified root beer floats with a delicious brown froth.
  5. Take the last remaining two pinches of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the froth as the final touch.
  6. Enjoy!

Adult root beer float close up view

*Tip: Place your desired mug or drinking vessel into the freezer at least two hours before serving for an even chiller treat!
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