August 6th means National Root Beer Float Day. Yes, that’s right, the power couple of the century – root beer and vanilla ice cream – get their own day.

Once upon a time there was a lonely carbonated beverage named Root Beer. This swanky soda had been living that single life ever since it was first marketed as a medicinal drink by Philadelphian Charles Hires in 1876. However, the beloved beverage contained a slight alcohol content and had to tone it down in order to survive. So this 19th century bad boy changed his ways and became known as one of America’s classic soft drinks thereafter. With this fresh start, Root Beer was ready to settle down, but it wasn’t until 1893 that it met its life partner, Vanilla Ice Cream. Who was the matchmaker behind this delicious duo? Frank J. Wisner of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Alas, the “Black Cow” was born. Yep, you read that right. The original name of the Root Beer Float was the “Black Cow”, because apparently Wisner was gazing out at Cow Mountain when he came up with this glorious combo.

Photo by Tess Wei

So, where should you go to properly celebrate this national holiday? Look no further than Philadelphia’s The Franklin Fountain. Located in Old City, founders Eric and Ryan Berley have been serving up frothy, fizzing, creamy, delicious root beer floats since the ice cream parlor’s founding in 2004. They have hands down the BEST root beer float I’ve ever had. Their root beer is homemade. I repeat, homemade. And if that wasn’t enough, they use 1920s copper pots to make their syrup.

Jessica Weigmann enjoying her Franklin Fountain Root Beer Float, Photo by Tess Wei

As you sip, slurp, and scoop up this epic creation you’re met by a spicy kick. This contrast to the creamy ice cream is thanks to a clever addition. Along with sassafras extracts and star anise oils, the Berley Brothers include cinnamon oil to give their root beer that refreshing punch – perfectly complimenting the generous addition of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (ALSO homemade). So what are you waiting for? The best root beer float of your life is waiting for you! The Franklin Fountain will not disappoint.

The float in all its glory, Photo by Tess Wei


Location: 116 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Hours of Operation: 11:00am-12:00am