Never much of a root beer enthusiast, I distinctively remember how surprised I was after my first sip of a root beer float. My 10-year-old taste buds delighted in this familiar, yet unfamiliar, concoction, and if I remember correctly, I went back for seconds. Whatever it was about the sole taste of root beer that I didn’t like was somehow disguised when poured over vanilla ice cream.
Root beer still never makes it into my grocery cart. Yet on a hot spring or summer evening there’s something refreshing about that ice cream and root beer mix. Luckily, I found Lic’s Deli and Ice Cream, a local and regional diner-style restaurant, satisfies my sporadic float cravings. Although some places fancy up the beverage with whipped cream and cherry toppings or even a splash of bourbon (Bobby Flay’s recipe, www.foodnetwork.com), Lic’s keeps it simple with only two essential ingredients: vanilla bean hand-dipped ice cream floating in bubbly A&W Root Beer soda (they also give you what’s left in the Root Beer bottle).
The taste is so smooth and classic — much like the 1950s ambience at the friendly diner that produces it — and the almost harsh aftertaste from the carbonation is diluted by the soft, creamy vanilla treat. Although the diner takes requests for any of their ice cream flavors, Downtown shop Assistant Manager Lindsay Folsom says the old-fashioned vanilla and root beer is a Lic’s staple. Compared to other restaurants in town, she adds, “we’ve probably sold it the longest.”
For Lic’s Deli & Ice Cream locations visit www.licsdeliandicecream.com.