Saturday, 9 January 2010

Root Beer

What is root beer? It's weird tasting. Or, as M would have it, "root beery". It says a lot about this non-alcoholic drink, which some claim predates cola, that one of its key ingredients - oil from the bark of the sassafras tree - was banned as a cancer risk in 1960. Shortly afterwards, producers found a way of removing the bad stuff, although these days artificial sassafras flavouring is often used instead, complemented by a range of other flavours and spices. But there's no common recipe.

Barq's (pictured above) is unusual in making its root beer with caffeine, its other ingredients listed as carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel colour, sodium benzoate, citric acid, artificial and natural flavours and the pod-bearing plant acacia. My tasting notes read: "Refreshing, sweet, caramel, liquorice and anise flavours, a medicinal aftertaste. Like Dr Pepper without the cherries."

Barq's has been making this stuff since 1898, and people keep buying it. It's certainly sharp and refreshing, and you can't say that about every drink. But it's still weird.

1 comment:

  1. agreed. root beer is weird. although there's also a chinese version made by hey song. i wonder if the chinese made it first, lots of weird-tasting things originate from china.