A few days ago, while talking about mundane business issues, I learned that today, August 19th, was the birthday of that famous childhood delight, the 'black cow', what would later be called a root beer float.
If you are not up on your carbonated beverage lore, root beer hails from the root of the sassafras tree or the sarsaparilla vine. When the root mixture is mixed with water, sugar and yeast, it is sweetened and the yeast generates carbon dioxide and carbonates the water.
Are you running out to buy some sassafras now? Good luck. It's been outlawed since 1960 due to pesky issues like causing cancer in rats so now people use sassafrol, without the oil that is considered dangerous, or ginger, birch bark, dog grass, who knows what else. No one is really sure because root beer recipes are closely guarded secrets.
If you want to make your own, there are two methods; natural and forced carbonation. Obviously our ancestors used the natural method and put brewers yeast in a bottle but today we have dry ice so in a soft drink emergency you can make root beer in 20 minutes. Basically, if you don't have your own ingredients you can just buy root beer extract, mix it with sugar and water (to taste) in whatever container you have. Then you (carefully) add dry ice and cap it. If you are using a gallon jug, unscrew the cap a little every few minutes so it doesn't blow up. Seriously, it will blow up. In 15 minutes it should be a carbonated delight.
Our root beer float science experimentalists, Angela and Jackie from the Regus office in Folsom. They are both awesome and invited me over for the root beer float. What? An office building that throws root beer float parties for tenants on the birthday of root beer floats? Told you they were awesome!
Or you can do it the way George Washington did and it will take about 7 days.
The history of root beer
The ice cream soda seems to have been invented in 1874 by Robert Green of Philadelphia, who ran out of ice and substituted vanilla ice cream to keep soda cold but, like anything, it is not without controversy. Even its descendants were mired in controversy - for example, because root beer used yeast and a fermentation process it was considered a controlled substance, like more controlled forms of fermentation delights such as Pabst Blue Ribbon. Thus, those ice cream sodas could not be sold on Sundays, so they instead slapped a bunch of stuff on ice cream and called them 'Sundaes.
The "black cow", the first root beer float, is attributed to Cripple Creek, Colorado on this day in 1893. Frank J. Wisner, it is said, owner of the Cripple Creek Cow Mountain Gold Mining Company, had also been making sodas for local people but he wanted something for kids to enjoy also so he mixed ice cream with his favorite root beer and the legend was born.
Learn more about ice cream: "Of soda fountains and ice cream parlors" by Kay Houston at "The Detroit News".
Learn more practical science:
How to shoot someone in the face (a special effect for movies, not for real)
The Mens Guide To Dating Geek Girls V 1.0
The Science Of Relationships: Keeping The Magic Alive
Practical Science - Bugs Bunny And Beer
Go Green By Switching To Fruit Power
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Thinking 'I Can Do Better' Really Can Improve Performance, Study Finds
- Brain Cancer: Why Glioblastoma Is So Difficult To Treat
- Benign Bacteria Block Mosquitoes From Transmitting Zika, Chikungunya Viruses
- Some Celiac Disease May Be Due To Viruses
- Can A New Rule Trigger A Second EU Referendum? Petition 4 Millon Signatures, Nearly 12% Of Total Votes Cast
- How A Former Naturopath Can Help Unravel The Trickery of Alternative Medicine
- Little To No Association Between Butter Consumption And Chronic Disease Or Total Mortality
- "Are you proposing pseudo-positive/negative eugenics? As my boss always says, don't point out a..."
- " Media Silent as Concealed Carrier Stops Mass Shooting in Progress at a South Carolina Nightclub..."
- "Thank you for your support - but since the comment you refer to was advocating the shutting down..."
- "Instead of ND, substitute DD, and you have a whole other basket of charlatans - and that comment..."
- " Some parts from my second response to Nina Teicholz article ( http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj..."
- The Relationship Between Alcohol and Happiness
- Psst…NRDC Stoners: Your Endocrines Are Disrupted
- College Kids Mostly Blow Off Food-Label Use, Study Finds
- Blue Birds Aren’t Blue, and This is How They Fool You
- ‘Vaxxed’: The Film That No One Saw
- Vice President Joe Biden Threatens the Scientific Community
- Consensus statement: Environmental toxins hurt brain development, action needed
- New anti-cancer strategy mobilizes both innate and adaptive immune response
- Aging population is growing ranks of cancer survivors
- UK government should fund media campaigns that promote quitting, not films that promote smoking
- Report: A host of common chemicals endanger child brain development