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[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

I don't know of a more divisive soda than root beer, and I get it;"rootsy," "medicinal," and "minty" may not be what you want from a soft drink.

But I think more of us can agree that the root beer float was a pretty smart idea: tame root beer's bite with some creamy vanilla while making your ice cream experience a little more exciting.

The problem is that a root beer float is pretty hard to drink right. Start too soon and you just have wet ice cream that doesn't melt into its root beer base; wait too long and you lose the foamy head and any textural contrast that comes from the ice cream slowly seeping into the soda below.

So what if you could take the best qualities of a root beer float—its deep root beer flavor, its mellow notes of cream and vanilla, and its subtle effervescence—and make it into a scoopable dessert all on its own? One that's everything good about a root beer float with none of the downsides? Enter root beer sherbet.

This sherbet derives its flavor from root beer but its body from cream and corn syrup.* It's creamy and rich, and rather on the sweet side, but since it only has a fraction of the fat of ice cream, it's far more refreshing, just like the root beer float that inspires it.

* Yes, corn syrup, that ruinous product of modern American industrial agriculture that's killing us all. By which I mean a totally acceptable form of sugar with handy chemical properties that help resist iciness in sorbets.

Get the Recipe

Root Beer Sherbet »

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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