I’m always on the lookout for new liqueurs to make. This one stuck out for me because I’d been reading The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Elix Katz, and was intrigued by the section on making your own roots beers. I am far far too chicken to brave making carbonated beverages at home (explosions, broken glass, blindness, a lifetime in darkness, etc…) so I decided to make a liqueur instead.
It was actually pretty easy finding the ingredients. I just biked down to my local home brew shop, and they were there for sale by the ounce. Although I got some funny looks from the burly, bearded brewmeisters when I told them I was making a root beer flavored liqueur. I tucked my tail between my legs and scuttled out of there fast.
It didn’t wind up tasting all that much like the root beer I drank as a kid, but if you like strong, complex, herbal liqueurs, I recommend this one.
Root Beer Liqueur
Adapted from Serious Eats
3 cups water
1-teaspoon sassafras root bark
1-teaspoon birch bark
1-teaspoon sarsaparilla root bark
1 star anise
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 sprig mint
Peel of 1 lemon (just the zest, not the pith)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups vodka
1.) Combine water, barks, anise, ginger, mint, and lemon peel in a pot and boil until water reduces by half. Remove from heat and let steep for 2 hours.
2.) Place a sieve lined with cheesecloth over a clean pot and strain liquid into it. Add sugars and molasses to pot and bring to boil.
3.) Remove from heat, add vanilla and allow to cool completely before adding vodka.
4.) Store in a cool dark place, allowing flavors to combine for one month.