If you walked into an ice cream parlor in 1947 and ordered a root beer float, you’d probably end up with something quite different from what you’d get today. The root beer float, also known as a black cow float in the thirties and forties, was root beer mixed with a couple of shots of chocolate syrup and topped with vanilla ice cream. We’ve attempted to re-create the old black cow experience with this flavor. It’s a root beer–flavored ice cream with swirls of milk chocolate.


For the root beer ice cream:

  • 1 recipe Walt’s Dream (see recipe here)
  • 1 tablespoon root beer extract (see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the milk chocolate swirl:

  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream


  1. Make the root beer ice cream: Prepare Walt’s Dream according to the recipe directions. After cooling the base in the ice bath, add the extracts and stir to combine. 
  1. Transfer the cooled base to an ice cream maker and churn it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  1. While the ice cream is churning, make the milk chocolate swirl: Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it starts to bubble up. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir gently until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
  1. Transfer the base to a storage container, gently folding in heaping spoonfuls of the milk chocolate swirl as you do, softly lifting and spinning it throughout the ice cream. Be careful not to overmix. Serve immediately or harden in your freezer for 8 to 12 hours for a more scoopable ice cream.

Note: Homemade Soda Company sells a line of various root beer extracts, including a couple of all-natural ones. Sprecher also bottles an extract of their New York Times award-winning root beer, made with Wisconsin honey.