Treating Yourself Right

Beat the heat with this sweet treat

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 11.19.47 PM

It’s time to open up your taste buds to the cold, refreshing taste of a root beer float.

The sweet, refreshing taste of an ice cream float has floated around since the late 19th century. Although the primary inventor of this beverage cannot solely be identified, there are numerous theories as to how this chilling beverage transformed into a summertime favorite.

The history of ice cream floats traces back to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1872. According to an article on, George Omar Guy, a soda jerk at the time, “absentmindedly mixed ice cream and soda in 1872 and then served it up to happy customers.”

Other stories may tell you about another contributor to the beverage: Phillip Mohr of Elizabeth, New Jersey. According to an archive, Mohr also created the ice cream and soda combination in 1872 after a customer of his confectionary store complained about the temperature of his sarsaparilla soda.

The archive claims the customer said, “Phillip, if your soda was as cold as your ice cream, it would be all right.” In response, Mohr supposedly responded, “I can fix that.” He proceeded to place a spoonful of ice cream in the glass, thus creating the combination that this country could never forget.

Although these stories and individuals could claim to be the first to ever mix ice cream and soda together, the traditional root beer float, consisting of root beer and vanilla ice cream, can be traced back to 1893 and a Colorado man named Frank Wisner.

Wisner was commonly known around the area as a gold mine operator and owner of a bar on the side.

According to a narrative about his story, the idea of this mixture popped into Wisner’s head when he was walking around his mining operation on Cow Mountain in the moonlight.

The story claims that the combined glow of the full moon with the snowcapped mountains reminded Wisner of vanilla ice cream. Inspired by this sight, Wisner immediately rushed back to his Cripple Creek Brewing building and added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to his popular root beer.

He initially called his beverage a “Black Cow Mountain,” later shortening the name to a “black cow.” This “black cow” was reportedly a huge hit in the area and it later developed into the modern day root beer float that is enjoyed all around the world.

Even though the exact origin of ice cream floats or root beer floats may never be definitely determined, it is evident that the contributions of these three pioneers started a tradition and flavor that still lives on strong today.

Check out this short tutorial on how you can make yourself one of these sweet treats.


I had a really good time working on Assignment 5. Although it was a little difficult to work with some of the shots at times, I found a way to figure things out, like I have all semester long, and I pushed my way through it. Overall, I was pleased with my piece and it turned out just how I anticipated it to. I also enjoyed writing my news story with a thematic approach or style, as I traced the history of ice cream floats and root beer floats. It was exciting and enjoyable for me to demonstrate how this wonderful tradition has developed into an American favorite.

I ran into one big problem during this assignment, and it was with my lavaliere microphone. At first, I was using my personal lavaliere microphone during the assignment, but suddenly, it stopped working. Thankfully, I had brought the additional one that we received in class, so I was able to use that for the rest of my work. With this microphone, however, I did struggle using it at times because the cord is not very long. When I had to shoot the wide shots of myself, the microphone could not reach to the top of my shirt, so I had to clip it to the bottom of my shirt in order to pick up my voice. Evidently, that is why the overall quality of my voice within some of the shots may vary since it depended on whether the cord would reach my collar or not. Still, I tried my best to keep the audio levels consistent and I believe that I did a good job making sure that I was heard clearly throughout the entire video.

Aside from that, it was rewarding to see my piece slowly come together as I finalized all of my shots and checked them over to make sure that they appeared how I wanted them to. From start to finish, it was a fun assignment! I guess it didn’t hurt that I was motivating myself with a root beer float on the side…

Also, it was a good experience introducing Olivia Schmitt to some of the work that I have been doing this semester in this course. As a broadcast journalism major herself, I was even able to give her a little tease of what is to come for her future at this school!

Ultimately, I enjoyed making a “how-to” video for the first time ever. It was definitely a different style of video that I was able to practice getting a feel for, and I think that I developed as a videographer from the assignment. I’m looking forward to the new challenges and experiences that I have ahead.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.