Jump to content

Root Beer Escapades


Recommended Posts

So a friend of mine started brewing beer at work.  It seemed like a lot of fun so I thought I'd try it out.  Trouble is I dont drink.  A ship in bottle builder that doesn't drink!...shocking I know.  So I turned to root beer.  I didn't want the old McCormick concentrate though I wamted real root beer.  So I dove through the web trying to find a good root beer recipe. 


After seven awful batches I concluded that all of the recipes on line are complete garbage.  I tried ones with cinnamon, some with lime juice, raisins, licorice root and winter green.  They were all horrible.  So I went to the very basics.  Sasafrass, sugar and water.  What I got was a great tasting very sweet root beer.  It was different.  It was root beer but sweeter. 


As I dug around learning about root beer I found some interesting things.  First off was the FDA study in the 1960's.  Sasafrass root was known to be an ingredient in drugs so to stop the drug problem the FDA loaded up some rats on Sasfarole an oil found in sasafrass.  The rats got cancer and they labled it a carcinogen.  Never mind to get the equivelent reaction in a human they would need to drink fifty gallons of root beer a day.  Root beer companies had to find ways get the sasforole out of sasafrass or go with a different recipe.  What I found was the big root beers like Barqs and A&W actually use sasparilla and not sasafrass.  Which makes me wonder if sasparilla became the new staple in root beer after the 1960's.  Its easier to use than having to refine sasafrass.  


Thats what made mine unique.  I bought sasafrass online which I was surprised they could sell but it provided a slightly different flavor.  With quiet a few more tests I found a recipe that really tasts great. 


1 quart water

1/4 cup sasafrass

1 tablespoon sasparilla

1 table spoon vanilla

3 cups sugar

2 quarts sparkling water


Put quart of water in stove and heat it, add s asafrass, sasparilla and vanilla.  When it come to a boil turn the heat down and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Drain it through a strainer to get the root chuncks out.  For really clear root beer strain through cheese cloth.  While its still hot add the sugar and stir until it dissolves.  Let it cool in freezer for an hour or so then add the sparkling water for carbination. 


Other carbonation methods work too.  You can boil it in 3 quarts of water if carbenating in another way.  I found the sparkling water method works for me.


So thats my old school root beer.  Let me know if you have a good recipe I'm willing to try them out.  Its been a lot of fun and there's nothing like modeling ships with a home made glass of root beer.  


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sarsaparilla is made with an extract from a vine in the genus Smilax. Here in the Southeast, there's a species of Smilax locally known as "greenbriar". It is literally a plague o'er the land, since it grows from spreading rhizomes. It's a never-ending battle to keep my yard cleared of it.

Chris Coyle
Greer, South Carolina

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
- Tuco

Current builds: Macchi C.200 Saetta

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...