How Now Brown Cow?

May 30, 2011

Author Notes: When we were kids, there was the occasional trip downtown to the soda fountain at the Wasson's Department Store. But for a kid growing up in the suburbs, the real summer treats were the trips to the root beer stands.

Everyone had their favorite--the original A & W, the Mug & Bun, and there was Dog and Suds. The root beer floats (brown cows) were so much better than the black cows (cola floats) but the allure of the soda fountain was all of the extras...whipped cream, jimmies (the chocolate sprinkles) and syrups.

So I've tried to combine the joys of those 2 experiences into one nostalgic treat. If you have the time to make your own ice cream, please do so. Preferably on the patio while playing horseshoes or badmitton.

Serves: 6


  • 1.5 quarts vanilla ice cream
  • 3 pints root beer
  • 1 cup Pappy's Saffafras tea concentrate, divided
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • real whipped cream
  • chocolate jimmies
In This Recipe


  1. To make root beer syrup: Melt1/4 c. brown sugar and 1/4 c. of sassafras tea concentrate over medium high heat. Boil until liquid is reduced by half. Mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.
  2. Rinse soda glasses or mugs and place in freezer to frost.
  3. Mix 2 scoops of softened vanilla ice cream with 2 T. of sassafras tea concentrate, form an ice cream ball that is no bigger than the circumference of your glass. Place 2 balls into a ziploc bag, return to freezer. Repeat so that you have 2 balls for each person.
  4. When ready to serve, remove mugs and ice cream from freezer, pour root beer over ice cream (allow a lot of room for foam). Top with whipped cream, drizzle with root beer syrup and sprinkle on some chocolate jimmies.

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