Whether you call it pop, soda or a soft drink, today’s popular sweetened carbonated beverages aren’t what they started out to be. Traditional recipes for drinks like root beer, vanilla cream soda and cherry and ginger ales were made from extracts of flavorful botanicals and were often offered in pharmacies for their reputed health benefits.
Subtly sweetened with cane sugar, early soft drinks were dubbed ‘soft’ because they were a safe and natural alternative to hard alcohol. In addition, they weren’t fortified with the mega-doses of high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavorings and preservatives that their canned and bottled stand-ins feature today.
It’s still possible to enjoy the soft drinks of yesteryear with their complex aromas, beneficial flavors and unique appeal. You can make them yourself at home while controlling the amount of sugar in the final mix. You’ll also be saving a fair bit of change over the purchase of commercial soft drinks, and you won’t need to endlessly schlep all those bottles and cans
Recipe #1 Homemade Root Beer
- Total Time: 4 hours 5 mins
- Hands-on Time: 5 mins
Create a rounded, mild and homemade root beer using the beguiling flavors of sarsaparilla root, licorice and anise.
- 1/2 cup Frontier Cut & Sifted Indian Sarsaparilla Root 1 lb
- 1 teaspoon Frontier Organic Cut & Sifted Burdock Root 1 lb
- 1 teaspoon Frontier Organic Cut & Sifted Licorice Root 1 lb
- 1 teaspoon Frontier Cut & Sifted Wild Cherry Bark 1 lb
- 1 teaspoon Frontier Cut & Sifted Birch Bark 1 lb
- 1/4 teaspoon Frontier Herbs of Italy Seasoning Blend 0.80 oz.
- 1 Frontier Organic Fair Trade Certified 3″ Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks 0.85 oz.
- 1 Frontier Organic Whole Vanilla Bean 1 bean
- 1 Frontier Organic Select Grade Star Anise 1 lb
- 3 Frontier Organic Hand Select Whole Cloves 1.40 oz.
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
1. Combine all ingredients except the brown sugar in a stock pot.
2. Bring pot to boil, stir and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Turn off heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Cover and let mixture steep until cool, approximately 3 hours.
4. Strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve, then through one or more coffee filters into a clean, sterile jar. Store concentrated extract in refrigerator for up to three months.
To mix Use a 16 ratio of concentrate to sparkling water for a subtly sweet beverage. Adjust the ratio for more or less sweetness according to your personal dietary preferences and desired taste.
Substitute vanilla ice cream for the ice in the sparkling water for an outstanding root beer float.