National Ice Cream Soda Day
annually on June 20th
This is a day dedicated to ice cream sodas, also known as ice cream floats, which are drinks consisting of ice cream in a soft drink, or in flavored syrup and carbonated water. There are innumerable variations of the drink that can be made by changing the flavor of either the ice cream or the soft drink. Which variations are the most popular depend on where in the world you go. Most likely, Robert McCay Green invented the ice cream soda in 1874, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the semicentennial for the Franklin Institute. It is believed that Green ran out of ice for the cold drinks he was selling, so he used some ice cream from a nearby vendor, thus creating the new type of drink. By Green’s account, the ice cream soda’s creation was no accident, but something he worked to create so that it could be used to lure customers away from a bigger, fancier soda fountain, to his own. There are other accounts of how the ice cream soda was invented, but the story of Green is the most prominent. It didn’t take long for the ice cream soda to gain in popularity, and it was served at soda fountains across the country.
How to Observe
This is the best day all year to drink an ice cream soda. Being that there are so many types to choose from you may want to try a few. Some of the most famous are:
- Root beer float - traditionally made with vanilla ice cream and root beer soda. They may also be known as a "black cow" or "brown cow", and are popular at A&W Restaurants in the United States and Canada. They can also be made with chocolate ice cream, or the ice cream and soda may be mixed.
- Chocolate ice cream soda - made with chocolate syrup, a few scoops of chocolate ice cream in a tall glass, unfiltered carbonated water, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry. For many years it was available at soda fountains and Dairy Queens.
- Black Cow - another type of "black cow" that uses cola.
- Boston Cooler - made with Vernor’s ginger ale and vanilla ice cream. The drink has nothing to do with Boston, as it was started in Detroit. It is blended like a thick milkshake, and can also be known as Vernor's float.
- Snow White - made with 7UP or Sprite and vanilla ice cream.
- Purple Cow - made with grape soda and vanilla ice cream.
- Sherbet Cooler - made with orange and watermelon sherbet, vanilla syrup, and seltzer water.
- Helado Flotante - made with coke and lemon sherbet. The is the most famous ice cream soda in Mexico.
- Orange Float or Orange Whip - made with orange soda and vanilla ice cream.
If you want to get even more adventurous you could try some of these ice cream sodas.