Root beer is made from roots! We make a basic homemade
root beer from the roots of sassafras trees. Sassafras is easy to identify because it has three distinct leaf shapes, oval, mitten shaped, and paw shaped. It’s also has a very distinct root beer smell. Just scratch the stem and there it is!
Harvest young shoots by gently pulling or digging the entire plant out of the ground. Clean off roots and dice in to half inch to inch pieces. Boil about 1 cup of roots in to 3 cups of water to make sassafras tea! Let the roots boil for about 2 minutes and then simmer for about half an hour. Strain out plant parts, and put back in pan. Dissolve about a half a cup of sugar (or honey or maple syrup) into the sassafras tea to make sassafras syrup. Let cool. Put ice in glasses, pour in sassafras syrup to on bottom 1/4 – 1/2 inch of glass. Add club soda and enjoy!
Sassafras can be found throughout the east, and is extremely common throughout the Appalachian Mountains. It was used by native people for cooking and medicine.