The main ingredient in root beer was traditionally sassafras root, but the essential oil of sassfras was found to carcinogenic in mice in the 60's. Safrole, an oil extracted from sassafras is apparently also used in clandestine MDMA (ecstasy) synthesis. So no sassafras anymore. Most recipes I've seen seem to use sasparilla, but most of the root beers I've tasted taste much more like birch and vanilla.
Based on earlier taste tests with different roots and spices, I'll start by trying:
- vanilla bean
- lemon zest
This first batch was a good start! A bit of tweaking is still necessary, and I want to try using yucca or something else to replicate the thicker creaminess of my favorite root beers but the taste is already pretty close!
Caroline got back from enjoying the Animal Collective & Danny Perez performance piece at the Guggenheim just in time to taste the uncarbonated root beer liquid and Stephanie finally got to taste a bottle of our ginger beer.