Using spices to make root beer at home

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Sassafras, sarsaparilla, cherry bark, and licorice bark are traditional ingredients for root beer making, with variations plentiful. Photo courtesy of Spice Station.

Root beer dates back to colonial times, where roots of plants made a low-alcohol beverage. Peter Bahlawanian of Spice Station describes what is needed for a traditional root beer, including sassafras, sarsaparilla, cherry bark, and licorice bark. Optional vanilla, burdock root, birch bark, molasses, honey, star anise, ginger, and cinnamon are alternatives in making your own version at home.


Peter Bahlawanian doesn’t partake in soda drinking, but has all the spices to make root beer at home. Photo courtesy of Spice Station.

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Evan Kleiman