Mama’s Gunna Make Some ROOTbeer!

After a brief water kefir kick, I have switched back to using a ginger bug for natural sodas. Mostly because I liked how absolutely explosive fizzy the ginger bug makes drinks. Kefir grains just weren’t my favorite. So I have re-started my ginger bug.

Somewhat unrelated, Trevor’s mother was visiting us from Portland, Oregon this last week for Trevor’s birthday. While she was here, I took her over to Columbia Historic State Park for a visit to see our famous gold-rush local history. For anyone who hasn’t been, Columbia is a teeny tiny town off of CA-Highway 49 and is full of shops selling leathers, furs, moccosins, old fashioned sarsaparillas, gold-rush memorabilia, 1800’s inspired clothes, and….

sassafras tea.



Of course, this has a sassafras “flavoring” because true sassafras root is illegal to consume in the United States. The original Sassafras root was banned in the 60’s because it contains a substance called saphrole, which was found to cause cancer.

But anyhow— the whole house smells of glorious rootbeer because of this one little bag of sassafras tea! So my plan is to boil some of this sassafras tea with some sugar and then cool it and add in some strained ginger bug to make a homemade rootbeer. Since it smells so much like old fashioned rootbeer, I don’t see how it couldn’t work. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it tastes pre-bottling.

I will also post a recipe and sources for ingredients tomorrow!

If only someone would invent smell-o-vision…

10 thoughts on “Mama’s Gunna Make Some ROOTbeer!

  1. Late happy birthday to Trevor. Let us know how your sassafrass turns out. Fun adventure. I will get to ginger bug one of these days. :0)

  2. I buy real sassafras root bark off of eBay & Etsy as I have no access to live trees for my family’s root beer. We make it once a month using the ginger bug method. It truly is awesome!!!!

    • I have seen it for sale at various online herb stores, but they say it is for topical use only… probably because of the carcinogenic oils present in the sassafras root and bark. Sure does smell good though! My recipe will include more sarsaparilla root to give the rootbeer flavor, but I suppose you can always throw in some sassafras flavoring.

      • Sassafrass is illegal as a food additive because the equivalent of 3 gallons of root beer a day for a few weeks MIGHT increase your risk of cancer(found through administering large doses of pure saphrole extract to lab rats). Brew away! I think a proper ratio is 3-5tbs per gallon of water, but I could be remembering incorrectly. I have recipes and more experiments on my site.

      • Thanks for reading and for the comment! Sarsaparilla root is a great alternative to sassafras root anyway and I personally rather not risk drinking a carcinogenic oil, so this batch will include a sassafras “flavoring” and the next will be sarsaparilla only.

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