Kid-friendly Classic Root Beer Floats Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Classic Root Beer Floats

Recipe: Classic Root Beer Floats

Classic Root Beer Floats

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Karen Hermann/
prep time
2 minutes
cook time
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Classic Root Beer Floats

Ahhh, the classic root beer float! Some people call it a Brown Cow; we call it HEAVEN!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • pour :

    to cause liquid, granules, or powder to stream from one container into another.

  • scoop :

    to pick up an amount of food with a utensil to move it to a dish, pan, or container; utensils that can be used to scoop are spoons, dishers (small scoops used for cookie dough or melon balls), ice cream scoops, or large transfer scoops for bulk foods.

Equipment Checklist

  • Drinking cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Tablespoon


Classic Root Beer Floats

  • 3 C root beer
  • 3/4 C whipped cream or 1 C vanilla ice cream **(for DAIRY ALLERGY omit or sub dairy-free/nut-free whipped cream or ice cream)**
  • 1 C ice (optional)

Food Allergen Substitutions

Classic Root Beer Floats

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free whipped cream or ice cream in Floats.


Classic Root Beer Floats

pour + scoop

Gather your cups and ingredients. Distribute the ice, if using, and 3 cups of root beer between all your cups. Then, scoop a few tablespoons of Sweetly Whipped Cream (see recipe) or vanilla ice cream on top.

cheers + enjoy

Add any additional root beer, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to any of the cups. Say a big “Cheers!” Then, enjoy this sweet, creamy treat with your family and friends.

Surprise Ingredient: Root Beer!

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Photo by Brent Hofacker/

Hi! I’m Root Beer!

"Normally, any of you interested in your health would probably never consider soda pop worthy to include in your diet. In particular, soft drinks are singled out more frequently as first on the list of forbidden foods to avoid because they contain high sodium, sugar, unnatural sweeteners (another whole story there!), and various chemicals. Soda pop is generally viewed as a weight-increasing, tooth-rotting no-no. However, I'm a soft drink with some merit: Root Beer!"

One of root beer's early makers and the first to successfully market it, Charles Hires (hence the famous brand name), originally planned his mixture of roots, berries, herbs, and spices to be an herbal tea. As a pharmacist in the late 19th century, he was most likely familiar with the nutritional benefits of many of the ingredients in his root tea recipe. 

The beverage he created contains many ingredients long used to produce beneficial effects. Although the drink's formula may vary from one brand to another, the basic ingredients are usually: vanilla, licorice root, sarsaparilla root, sassafras root, nutmeg, anise, wintergreen, cinnamon, clove, molasses, pimento berry, balsam, cassia, malted barley, cherry bark, fenugreek, St. John's Wort, maple syrup, yucca, cane sugar, and corn syrup. We know that corn syrup is largely frowned upon where health is concerned since it is known to be bad for weight control; similarly, cane sugar is also not welcome by most nutritionally-concerned people. 

So, why is it called root beer? Before European explorers arrived in the Americas, early Native Americans made drinks and medicine from sassafras root. Then, starting in the 16th century, European migrants applied their brewing techniques to create a sassafras root beverage closer to the root beer we now drink. 

Can you imagine getting such healthy influences on your body from other soft drinks currently on the market? Having remained a beverage of choice by countless people for over a century, it does little harm (depending on the amount and type of sweetener) and has a taste that attracts a following. However, if more people knew that many of its ingredients are good for you, would it remain such a top-selling product?

Let's Learn About the United States!

Photo by JeniFoto/ (July 4th Picnic)
  • Most of the United States of America (USA) is in North America. It shares its northern border with Canada and its southern border with Mexico. It consists of 50 states, 1 federal district, 5 territories, 9 Minor Outlying Islands, and 326 Indian reservations. 
  • The country's total area is 3,796,742 square miles, globally the third largest after Russia and Canada. The US population is over 333 million, making it the third most populous country in the world, after China and India.
  • The United States of America declared itself an independent nation from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, by issuing the Declaration of Independence.
  • The Revolutionary War between the US and Great Britain was fought from 1775-1783. We only had 13 colonies at that time! On September 9, 1976, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and declared that the new nation would be called the United States. 
  • The 13 colonies became states after each ratified the constitution of the new United States, with Delaware being the first on December 7, 1787.  
  • The 13 stripes on the US flag represent those first 13 colonies, and the 50 stars represent our 50 states. The red color of the flag symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes innocence and purity, and blue symbolizes vigilance and justice.
  • Before settling in Washington DC, a federal district, the nation's capital resided in New York City and then Philadelphia for a short time. New York City is the largest city in the US and is considered its financial center. 
  • The US does not have a recognized official language! However, English is effectively the national language. 
  • The American dollar is the national currency. The nickname for a dollar, "buck," comes from colonial times when people traded goods for buckskins!
  • Because the United States is so large, there is a wide variety of climates and types of geography. The Mississippi/Missouri River, running primarily north to south, is the fourth-longest river system in the world. On the east side of the Mississippi are the Appalachian Mountains, the Adirondack Mountains, and the East Coast, next to the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • On the west side of the Mississippi are the flat Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains (or Rockies), and the West Coast, next to the Pacific Ocean, with several more mountain ranges in coastal states, such as the Sierras and the Cascades. Between the coasts and the north and south borders are several forests, lakes (including the Great Lakes), rivers, swamps, deserts, and volcanos. 
  • Several animals are unique to the US, such as the American bison (or American buffalo), the bald eagle, the California condor, the American black bear, the groundhog, the American alligator, and the pronghorn (or American antelope). 
  • The US has 63 national parks. The Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, and the Grand Canyon, with the Colorado River flowing through it, are among the most well-known and visited.
  • Cuisine in the US was influenced early on by the indigenous people of North America who lived there before Europeans arrived. They introduced beans, corn, potatoes, squash, berries, fish, turkey, venison, dried meats, and more to the new settlers. Other influences include the widely varied foods and dishes of enslaved people from Africa and immigrants from Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in the United States?

  • Education is compulsory in the US, and kids may go to a public or private school or be home-schooled. Most schools do not require students to wear uniforms, but some private schools do. The school year runs from mid-August or the beginning of September to the end of May or the middle of June.
  • Kids generally start school at about five years old in kindergarten or earlier in preschool and continue through 12th grade in high school. After that, many go on to university, community college, or technical school. 
  • Spanish, French, and German are the most popular foreign languages kids learn in US schools. 
  • Kids may participate in many different school and after-school sports, including baseball, soccer, American football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, and track and field. In grade school, kids may join in playground games like hopscotch, four-square, kickball, tetherball, jump rope, or tag.
  • There are several fun activities that American kids enjoy doing with their friends and families, such as picnicking, hiking, going to the beach or swimming, or going to children's and natural history museums, zoos and wild animal parks, amusement parks, water parks, state parks, or national parks. Popular amusement parks include Disneyland, Disney World, Legoland, Six Flags, and Universal Studios.
  • On Independence Day or the 4th of July, kids enjoy a day off from school, picnicking, and watching fireworks with their families. 
  • Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday in November when students get 2 to 5 days off school. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are popular December holidays, and there are 2 or 3 weeks of winter vacation. Easter is celebrated in March, April, or May, and kids enjoy a week of spring recess around that time.  
  • Barbecued hot dogs or hamburgers, watermelon, apple pie, and ice cream are popular kid foods for 4th of July celebrations. Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are traditional Thanksgiving foods. Birthday parties with cake and ice cream are very important celebrations for kids in the United States!

THYME for a Laugh

What did the tennis player say before playing with vanilla ice cream? 

I’d like a soft serve, please!

Lettuce Joke Around

How can you make a whale float? 

With a lot of root beer, ice cream, and a whale!

The Yolk's On You

What is a tree's favorite drink? 

Root beer!

That's Berry Funny

Why did the ice cream truck break down? 

Because of the Rocky Road.

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a house with an ice-cream sundae on top? 


That's Berry Funny

How do astronauts eat their ice creams? 

In floats!

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