February 1, 2009

Home-made Root Beer

Ok, this post isn't exactly about gardening but it does include one of our favorite garden memories from last year. It was a hot late August day and we had just finished tending to our gardens including harvesting beans, carrots, tomatoes, greens, potatoes, dill and basal for dinner. We sat down on the bench after starting a fire (picture the fire-pit scene from my previous post without the snow and surrounded by lush gardens) and cracked open a frosty home-made root beer. Add a the sounds of songbirds and few hummingbirds zipping past. It was great.

The root beer: We think that nothing is better on a hot summer day than home-made root beer. We make ours from extract, sugar, yeast and water. There are probably a few good extracts available but we like Shank's. It takes about 10 days to make but is worth the wait.

Quick root beer: Sometimes we either want to avoid the sugar or don't want to wait to brew our own. The quick version we like is to mix sparkling water (or club soda) with root beer extract and stevia. Chill and drink. It is pretty good for a quick sugar free treat. One hint, don't add everything right to the bottle unless you want to create your own mini volcano (and a bit of a mess).

Real root beer: I have only tried this once and so far haven't acquired a taste for it. The version I tried included sassafras, licorice, wintergreen leaves, vanilla and yeast. I'm still looking for a recipe I like for "real" root beer.

I can't wait for summer.


Connie said...

I like how you set the tone for this post....I was just about ready to pull my chair up to the fire and sit down, to enjoy a sip of your homemade root beer. We'll have to try your quick version sometime. We do something similar with Club Soda, fresh Lime juice, and stevia. (and sometimes a little fresh grapefruit juice). We call it our "Fresca". :-)
I once made some REAL Gingerale, (the fermented kind) from the recipe in Nourishing Traditions...it was a little strong tasting for our liking.

Chris said...

Hi Connie- that post came about as I was riding on my stationary bike and looking out the patio window into the backyard. I started daydreaming about some of my favorite days last summer. I can't wait for our first warm spring days and another lovely evening by the fire pit (along with a homemade root beer or "Fresca"!)

Kathi said...

We used to make home-made root beer when I was a kid. I was just telling my husband the other day that we should make some this summer.

Chris said...

Kathi- I don't usually drink soda but home-made root beer is a special summer treat for us. Did you use real roots etc... or root beer extract when you made it?

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