'Black Cow' Root Beer Float Day
annually on August 19th
Today we celebrate the black cow, which in many locations is simply another name for a root beer float—a drink consisting of root beer and vanilla ice cream. They are sometimes called chocolate cows or brown cows when chocolate ice cream is used in place of vanilla. In some locations, a black or brown cow is made with cola instead of root beer. In other locations, root beer and ice cream are mixed together, instead of the ice cream sitting on top.
Frank J. Wisner, the owner of Cripple Creek Brewing in Colorado, made the first black cow on today's date in 1893, after observing the snow caps of Cow Mountain the night before, and thinking they looked like ice cream scoops on top of soda. The first drinks were made by combining Myers Avenue Red root beer and vanilla ice cream. He soon began making the drink using cola. The drink became known as the Black Cow Mountain drink, and it is said that children shortened the name to the black cow.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by having a black cow! Pour root beer—such as Myers Avenue Red, the first root beer used to make black cows—into a glass, add ice cream, and then top it off with more soda. You could also buy one at a restaurant, such as at A&W, where they are particularly popular in the United States and Canada.