Float Away

Ice cream in root beer, beer and...port?

Drinking a classic ice cream float has a certain Norman Rockwell-innocence, but it shouldn't be relegated to nostalgia: Today's savvy chefs and bartenders are making the treat even better with grown-up flavors. Sip, slurp or scoop these any way you like.

Root Beer Inspired by good old-fashioned diner food, BLT Steak pastry chef Jessica Goryl added a classic float ($9; pictured) to the summer menu. But this one's special: She makes all the ingredients from scratch. Her root beer is more herbal and less carbonated than store-bought brands, and perfect poured over her rich, homemade vanilla-bean ice cream. BLT Steak, 8720 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-360-1950 or bltrestaurants.com

Beer When made with smooth, dark Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and Scoops' gelato, the Golden State's beer float ($8) is the root beer float's doppelganger. It might not be for sweet tooths, but with hints of coffee and dark chocolate, the malty stout makes a perfect foil for creamy brown-bread gelato. The Golden State, 426 N. Fairfax Blvd., Mid-City; 323-782-8331 or thegoldenstatecafe.com

Port Downtown wine bar The Must tops vanilla gelato with locally made San Antonio Winery ruby port and a splash of cream soda ($7). After it swirls and foams in the small glass, the fruity concoction verges on milkshake, but it's sweet fun. The Must Bar, 118 W. 5th St., Downtown; 213-627-1162 or themustbar.com