I have to admit when I first saw this “holiday” pop up on my calendar, I thought we were celebrating an actual cow…you know…of the Black Angus-ish variety. Little did I know that the phrase Black Cow refers to an ice cream float drink.
I am from wine country Northern California and I have never heard the phrase Black Cow used for a float. Being a former 4-H girl, I was looking up beef recipes for this past at first. Ha!
I decided I needed to do some further research on this frothy subject. According to Wikipedia, it turns out that the definition of a Black Cow varies by region. For instance in some areas, a “root beer float” has strictly vanilla ice cream; a float made with root beer and chocolate ice cream is a “chocolate cow” or a “brown cow.” In some places a “black cow” or a “brown cow” was made with cola instead of root beer. In some areas, for example, Northeastern Wisconsin, “black cow” is said to mean a root beer float where the ice cream and root beer have been mixed together. Yeesh! Who knew??
It also turns out that there are a multitude of ice cream float flavors and varieties that have actual “official” names…
- Root Beer Float – Root beer plus vanilla ice cream, this this the traditional favorite.
- Brown Cow – Cola with vanilla ice cream, sometimes with a shot of chocolate syrup.
- Purple Cow – Grape soda and vanilla ice cream
- Pink Cow – Strawberry soda and vanilla ice cream
- Boston Cooler – Ginger ale and vanilla ice cream
- Snow White – Lemon-lime soda and vanilla ice cream
- Black and White – Soda water, chocolate syrup, and vanilla ice cream
- Hoboken – Soda water, pineapple syrup, and chocolate ice cream
- Beer Float – Yes…BEER! Here is a Guinness Float recipe from the Pioneer Woman
I got to thinking, “Wouldn’t it be fun to have all of the ingredients available in a “Float Bar” for people to make their own version of an ice cream float?” his woild be really fun on a warm Summer weekend. How about providing a Float Bar instead of S’Mores for your summer barbecue dessert? Adults and kids alike will have a ball creating their own concoctions.
Here is what you need for “Ice Cream Float” party
- Set up 3 stations.
- Ice cream Station – Set out enough glasses for all your guests, plus an ice cream scoop for every flavor. Vanilla and Chocolate are standards, but something like Cooke Dough, Chocolate Chip or Strawberry would be fun additions. Have a favorite ice cream? Add it to the list! You never know what wonderful float someone may come up with.
- Beverage Station – Several different flavors of soda. Root Beer and cola are “musts”, but plain soda water, flavored sparkling water and some of the exotic sparkling soft drinks would be great. Add a Stout and some cold-brewed coffee… (don’t forget the bottle opener if you are using bottles…)
- Toppings Station – Start with the basics; whipped cream and pitted cherries. The topping station is limited only by your imagination (…and available space). Sliced fresh fruit, shredded coconut, sprinkles, shaved dark chocolate, colored cookie sugar are some ideas to get you thinking. Set tall spoons and colorful straws at the end of this station so people can starting sipping their creations right away.
- Create your signature float.
- You can use the list above to get started or check out our Float Pinterest Board for some inspiration…
Consider holding a contest with a prize for the best original float. Have a blind tasting with 2-3 judges. The winner should have a unique name created for their creation! Have everyone come up with fun names and vote on the results. A gift certificate to a local ice cream shop would be a great prize.