National Black Cow Day Date in the current year: June 10, 2024

National Black Cow Day National Black Cow Day is celebrated annually on June 10. This unofficial holiday doesn’t have anything to do with actual cows; it was established in honor of an ice cream float beverage known as a root beer float and sometimes also referred to as a black cow.

A root beer float is one of the many types of ice cream float (ice cream soda), a beverage consisting of ice cream in soft drink, served chilled. The soft drink can be substituted with carbonated water mixed with a flavored syrup. A root beer float is made with root beer, as its name suggests, and several scoops of vanilla ice cream.

The history of the ice cream float dates back to 1874. The beverage was invented by Robert McCay Green, a flavored drinks vendor, during the semicentennial celebration of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One particularly hot day Green discovered that he had run out of ice. To solve the unexpected problem, he borrowed some ice cream from a fellow vendor and started adding it to soda instead of ice. This is how a new drink was born.

According to Green’s own account, he was operating a soda fountain and needed a way to lure customers away from a competitor with a more impressive soda fountain. He experimented a little and finally came up with the idea to combine flavored ice cream and soda. The new drink quickly became a hit, and the rest is history.

Although it is Green who is typically credited as the inventor of the ice cream float (his will even instructed to engrave the phrase “Originator of the Ice Cream Soda” on his tombstone), other people including Green’s employee George Guy, Philip Mohr and Fred Sanders have been credited with inventing the beverage as well.

The root beer float, also known as a black cow, is one of the most popular variations of the ice cream float. It is believed to have been created by Frank J. Wilsner, owner of Cripple Creek Brewing in Colorado, in 1893.

Although the names “root beer float” and “black cow” are typically used synonymously, there are slight differences in regional use. For example, in some localities, only floats made with vanilla ice cream are referred to as root beer floats, while in others, floats with other ice cream flavors also qualify. In some places, a root beer float made with chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla ice cream is known as a “brown cow” or “chocolate cow”.

And then there are places where the term “black/brown cow” refers to an ice cream float made with vanilla ice cream but with cola instead of root beer. Finally, in some regions, such as Northeastern Illinois and Northwestern Wisconsin, a black cow is a root beer prepared in a particular way: some root beer and vanilla ice cream are mixed together before adding several scoops of vanilla ice cream into the glass and topping it off with root beer.

The origin of National Black Cow Day is unclear, and it is not even the only holiday dedicated to the root beer float! There’s another holiday celebrating the beverage called National Root Beer Float Day. It is observed annually on August 6 because Frank J. Wilsner supposedly sold his first root beer float in August.

How to celebrate National Black Cow Day? Well, the answer is simple: treat yourself to a glass or two of refreshing root beer float. Don’t forget to snap a picture of your drink first and share it on social media with the hashtag #NationalBlackCowDay to spread the word about the holiday.

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National Black Cow Day, root beer float, black cow, food days, observances in the United States