We live in the future. Mostly everything that had been imagined in the middle of the 20th century already exists, from robots that vacuum our homes to portable video communication devices to the ability to push a button to dispense food. You can also pull down a lever to dish out something to eat — in this case, a dessert. All you have to do is grab the handle.
There are 16 handles at the aptly named frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles, which has let customers extrude their own choice of frosty desserts for the past few years — not that frozen treat dispensers haven’t been around for decades. But their latest flavor is a bit indicative of our “futuristic” times: Like the 1930s’ vision of entire courses of food coming in pill form, 16 Handles has eliminated the prep time of making a root beer float by combining all its tastes in a single frozen yogurt flavor, aptly named Frosty Root Beer Float (112 calories for 4 oz.). The result is a tasty and creamy treat with the flavor of root beer. Additionally, if you opt for the recommended topping of vanilla clodhoppers — vanilla fudge-coated graham wafer clusters — it becomes a crunchy dessert you can sink your teeth into.
Final Verdict: 3.5 (out of 5) stars
When you’re from the future (like us), you can fabricate almost any taste you can imagine. What 16 Handles has done in their rendition of a root beer float is a very balanced blend of the original’s two main ingredients, root beer and vanilla ice cream. Both tastes are there, although I’d say it’s more float than root beer; the sassafras taste that defines root beer is a bit mild in this offering, which is something I wish I tasted more of. As for the float part, 16 Handles does a good job of making their nonfat vanilla taste more like ice cream, without that cultured tang you get from other fro-yo places. Not that that’s a bad thing; it’s just an observation. When you’re trying to simulate a root beer float experience with frozen yogurt, the float component should be more like ice cream — and it is.
As for the optional recommended topping of the vanilla clodhoppers, I wasn’t a big fan. Whether or not I’m trying to make shortcuts to the root beer float experience, I just think too much chewing and crunching takes away from enjoying a soft and creamy dessert. Of course, that’s my personal opinion. If you’re into crunchy toppings, have at it. If anything, at least chewing is something you can do to pass the time while you’re waiting for flying cars to be ubiquitous.
Erik Trinidad is the author of Fancy Fast Food: Ironic Recipes with No Bun Intended, based off his popular food humor blog, fancyfastfood.com.