Walgreens had a deal on Dog n Suds root beer today (1 L bottle $1.09) so I picked one up and I'm drinking it now.
It's doing a Proustian number on me.
Root beer floats were my favorite childhood summertime treat, whether made at home by Mom or bought someplace like Dog n Suds.
The root beer float could not be simpler. Put a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream into a glass and fill with root beer. It is best drunk with a straw.
We did not have root beer floats every day but if we were playing outside on a hot day, a Kool Aid break was likely. Kool Aid is Kool Aid. What made it great was the glasses Mom used, seemingly for this and no other purpose. They were tall tumblers made of aluminum in assorted summer pastel colors that eventually wore off in the dishwasher.
What was great about them was that, as aluminum, they got cold quickly and stayed cold, seemingly making the drink taste that much colder. For some reason they were only ever used outside on the back porch on hot summer days, which makes their memory even more special.
The alcohol most adults in the family drank at summer gatherings was beer, from the bottle. In my early childhood the brand was usually Erin Brew, from the Standard Brewing Co. of Cleveland, because my great-grandfather had been a bookkeeper there. After that it was Carling Black Label, also from Cleveland, probably because my other great-grandfather on my mother's side had sold cars for The Peerless Motor Car Co. and the president of Peerless, James A. Bohannon, also ran Carling.
By the time I was old enough to join in, most of the family was drinking Stroth's.