This recipe doesn’t really have you cooking with booze, but we do call for preparing with booze, and there is cooking. Of course, if you want to be really lazy, you can completely omit the cooking part, but we highly suggest going all out for this grown-up root beer float.

What makes it grown up is a hard root beer by Milwaukee beverage producer Sprecher. They make an old-fashioned, non-alcoholic root beer that’s delicious, but it’s their hard root beer that we love. It tastes a lot like the PG stuff, but has the added of benefit of being boozy. In fact, it’s almost scary how much it tastes like a premium bottle of good old-fashioned root beer, so be careful with this stuff. If you can’t find Sprecher in your local liquor store, you can always use a thick coffee stout or your favorite porter.

In the spirit of being adults, we make our own ice cream. You could buy a plain pint of vanilla, but this float is even better with a spiced chai ice cream, made from scratch. The spices in our recipe perfectly echo the spices in the root beer. If you want to be lazy, but also appear un-lazy to friends and family, make the ice cream from scratch but use four teabags instead of two and omit everything else from the steeping phase of the recipe. This will give you less to shop for and will simplify the process.

Root beer float

Grown-Up Root Beer Float

For the ice cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
2 chai tea bags
3 green cardamom pods
10 black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
½ vanilla bean
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt

Combine 1 cup of the cream and 1 cup of milk in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Turn off the heat and place the tea bags in the cream, along with the cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla bean, ginger, and salt. Let the tea and spices steep for fifteen minutes, then strain.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar, whisk in the cream. Add the mixture back to the saucepan (make sure you’ve rinsed or wiped out the spice remnants) over medium heat, and whisk continuously until the mixture reaches 165 degrees (use a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the remaining cup of cold cream to reduce the temperature. Refrigerate the mixture until it is cold, then spin in an ice cream maker.

To assemble the float:
Pour the root beer in a glass. Add a scoop or two ice cream. Eat. Or add the ice cream first. Do you really need directions for putting together a root beer float?