Boozy Root Beer Float with Root Beer-Mint Ice Cream
*Exciting update! The folks at Art in the Age who make Root liquor were pretty thrilled about this root beer float, so they offered me the chance to give some goods away to you. Much as they would love to give a bottle of Root, The Man forbids it, so they put together a box of Root swag for one lucky (US-based) winner.
It includes an Art in the Age logo tee, Root mug, coaster set, soap, tote and shot glass. If you want it, leave a comment below. Bonus entries for tweeting this giveaway and following @saltyseattle and @artintheage on twitter- just comment that you follow/followed. Winner selected at random on Wednesday, October 5th.
It is going to be very difficult for me to contain my excitement about this subject matter, but I will do my best. I can only hope that my enthusiasm is infectious enough that you catch it too and we both get the pleasure of having such a joyous disease.
Let’s talk about the olden days. Now would be a good time to put on a pair of bloomers and borrow a cap gun from a little kid. Also, take a nip off your flask. You’re going to want to finish it by the end of this post so you can refill it with this stuff.
Back when I was a kid, I never lived far from the Nevada border, whether at home in California or Idaho. This proved very useful in acquiring Everclear, which many of us remember fondly by its other name, moonshine. In junior high we could always count on someone’s sympathetic older brother to buy it for us by the case, which we would then distribute amongst the approximately 10% of the school population who weren’t Mormon. If the older brother charged us double, we would make back our money and then some by repackaging it into pints from liters and tripling the markup. Sometimes we’d even add a little water since it was so strong no one could tell the difference.
Vice Principal Houston always suspected me of being up to no good, and I remember one time she smugly escorted me to my locker, had me open it for her, then she proceeded to confiscate a batch of brownies I had baked for friends that day. She overlooked the fifth of Everclear sitting just below the brownies, no doubt assuming it was water. Whoever had given her the tip about my locker failed to identify the specific contraband, because the brownies were as pure as Mormon undergarments, meant only to help us cleanse our palates of the firewater’s after burn.
Junior high was a lot like prohibition for many of us. We wanted to drink even though we weren’t supposed to, so it made sense to get the most bang for our buck. That translates to high alcohol swill that had about as much finesse as an elephant pimp. My personal trajectory totally changed once I drifted closer to legal age. Suddenly a brave new world of wine and bourbon embraced me into her oaky arms.
Prohibition was an equally-dark period for many a wayward socialite. Prior to that time, root beer tended to be alcoholic, made in the backyard stills of enterprising pioneers. Once the temperance movement hit, root beer conglomerates like Hires took the corner on the market and the true splendor of boozy root beer was lost to the world. Until now. Art in the Age, a community of free thinkers and artistic innovators based in Philadelphia, brought back the old recipe. Here’s the story of their Root Liquor:
A friend introduced me to Root last month and I considered a life of polyandry just so I could marry it. I ordered a bottle the instant I could steady my fingers enough to click “buy” and I’ve been making root beer floats and sweet memories ever since. Art in the Age also makes Snap, which tastes just like ginger snaps, and Rhuby, which is based on rhubarb. If there is someone on your holiday shopping list who is impossible to shop for, consider your task easy this year. I WISH this had been my gateway drug back in the day- I’m sure I would be president by now if that was the case.
Last week I cleaned my freezer out of every last drop of ice cream and I was forced to make more so that I could enjoy another precioussssss root beer float. The chocolate mint in the yard threatened to strangle my still-green heirloom tomatoes, so I whacked some back for culinary use. I coupled the mint with syrup made from reducing Root, and whipped the whole thing into an ice cream custard that could make a eunuch orgasm in five seconds flat.
I am going to share that recipe with you. You are going to be my best friend. And then, together, arm-in-arm, we are going to solve the problems of the world while skipping drunkenly along in the happiest stupor two souls have ever known.
Root Liquor and Mint Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
*note- When making ice cream, mise en place is especially important. Mint scrambled eggs are just gross, people. Be sure to have your egg yolks cracked and ready, ingredients measured, an ice bath waiting, and a strainer and whisk out for the several times you’ll need them.
- ¼ c Root liquor + 2 tablespoons (divided)
- 2 c packed mint leaves (use chocolate mint if you have it)
- ¾ c granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1.5 c whole milk
- 1.5 c heavy cream
- 8 egg yolks
- In a small saucepan, heat ¼ c of Root liquor over medium heat for 60 seconds. Add the mint leaves, sugar, salt, 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Immediately remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the remaining milk and cream in a medium mixing bowl set over an ice bath.
- Strain the mint leaves and return the infused milk-cream mixture to the saucepan. Heat it to just before boiling, then whisk some of the hot milk into the egg yolks, working very quickly to avoid curdling. Pour the egg yolks back into the saucepan, whisking vigorously.
- Heat the custard over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it thickens to the consistency of maple syrup and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat.
- Pour the custard through a strainer and into the milk bath set over ice. Stir until cool, then allow to chill completely in the refrigerator overnight.
- The following morning, add the remaining two tablespoons of Root liquor and churn in an ice cream maker according to its instructions.
- The coup de grace occurs when you make a root beer float out of this ice cream by scooping some into a glass and dousing it in Root. Enjoy!