Ever wondered what a "sarsaparilla" is while watching classic cartoons/westerns?
Well, I wanted to know myself. I did manage to try one from a local grocery store(which I will review in the future), but I wasn't satisfied. Why? It tasted too much like root beer to me, and so i decided to make my own Sarsaparilla without using the same ingredients that would be used for root beer(sassafras, licorice root, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, wintergreen, clove, etc.).
It turned out really well, and this, along with my cream soda, has been my tastiest soda to date.
It's a short list of ingredients, and I'm finding with certain things this is best.
3 tbsp. Sarsaparilla(about 1 oz.)
1x 6 in. Vanilla bean-cut into many small segments
3 Cardamom seed pods
2 cups of sugar
1 tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. Ale Yeast
1 gallon of water.
Bring 1/2 gallon of water to a boil in a stock pot with Sarsaparilla, vanilla bean and cardamom.
Let simmer about 20 minutes. Stir in the honey, and then remove from heat. Let steep another 20 minutes, covered. Stir in 2 cups of sugar until dissolved, then add 1/2 gallon of water to the brew. Let cool to 90 degrees.
Scoop about a little bit of brew water out into a small glass or coffee mug, add yeast and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
While letting the yeast get to work, strain the brew into another vessel. Add yeast, stir well, and bottle.
Remember to stir your brew as you bottle to ensure the most even distribution of yeast.
Bottle and let sit for about 36 hours(more time for cooler climates, less time for hotter climates).
The resulting brew was sweet, herbal, slightly spiced(from the cardamom), and very refreshing.
My daughters enjoyed the soda quite a bit, and a friend's children also each drank a bottle with no complaints. I didn't strain my batch incredibly well, so I got a few swigs that resulted in root pieces in the mouth, but it's not unlike getting some "tea shake" in your mouth if you're a loose-leaf tea brewer.
Sarsaparilla is entirely different than any root beer you've ever had before, and making it for yourself will allow you to experience it as an entirely new entity separate from it's more popular cousin.