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Root beer quenches thirst in the summertime
Classic, cold beverage ideal no-bake dessert
Liberty Candy Company owner Karen Ching tops off a classic root beer float with a cherry. The Flowery Branch store serves a root beer float with IBC root beer, homemade ice cream, whipped cream and cherries. - photo by J.K. Devine

After returning from a family vacation at Lake Burton in Rabun County, 3-year-old Mary Laura woke up Saturday morning and told her parents they “had to get to the candy store.”

Geary and Melissa Bush complied with their oldest daughter’s request. The Gainesville couple put Mary Laura and her 2-year-old sister, Emma Ann, in their family car to make the short trip to Liberty Candy Company in Flowery Branch. And to Geary Bush’s welcome surprise, he was treated to a memory and taste from his own childhood — the classic root beer float.

“I always enjoy root beer floats,” the 34-year-old father said after sipping down the beverage outside the store Saturday morning.

Bush explained his own father gave him his first taste of the iconic cold beverage.

“I was 3 or 4 years old when I had it,” he said, adding since then he “always” liked root beer floats.

Liberty Candy Company, on the corner of Main Street and Church Street in Flowery Branch, added the root beer float to its menu recently. It is a combination of ice cream and root beer topped with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

The best part about this drinkable dessert is it does not require any baking, making it an ideal no-bake dessert.

No-bake desserts have increased in popularity over time for one obvious reason — no oven is necessary. Hungry consumers no longer have to wait for the oven to heat up and the dessert to bake before devouring a dessert.

With the root beer, the drinkable dessert is made in less than two minutes.

“Make sure you have extra root beer on hand, ’cause as soon as you drink it down, you can add more in and create that wonderful foam again,” Liberty Candy Company owner Karen Ching said.

Tasting the classic root beer proved to be an “absolutely fantastic” mid-morning snack for Bush.

“It’s a good mixture of the creamy ice cream that gets crispy in the root beer,” he said. “And it has the flavorful taste of root beer.”

The root beer float is not just for Saturday mornings and afternoons.

“You can also make it an after-dinner drink,” Ching said. “You can put a shot of Kahlua in there.”

Twice a year, Liberty Candy Company collaborates with Growlers on Main to create a special version of the tasty treat. Liberty Candy Company creates its own ice cream and whipped cream while the growler company adds in its root beer on tap.

Liberty Candy Company, which specializes in chocolate treats such as fresh fudge and nostalgic candy, adds IBC root beer to its float during the rest of the year.

Baker Amanda McGee is always looking for new ways to create fun and tasty desserts for her 6-year-old son, Charlie. Luckily, she found a simple solution.

The busy mom sticks chocolate Reddi-wip in the freezer and lets it sit for an hour. The result is a treat tasting similar to chocolate ice cream.

“And it’s only like 30 calories,” said McGee, who runs Papa Sam’s Sandwich Shop in Oakwood with her father.

The homemade cupcake baker also points out the usefulness of Pinterest, which can offer several no-bake options for busy parents. In fact, she found a few recipes on the website, including a recipe for a Nutella Cool Whip popsicles and an Oreo “dirt” cake.

She also mentioned her mother’s famous no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies.

But Ching said if you were really looking for the best no-bake dessert, it’s as simple as a trip to your favorite bakery.