At this new Lincoln Park diner, Brad Rubin is serving barrel-aged root beer, plus milkshakes, phosphates, and egg creams made with refurbished antique equipment.
'root beer' on Serious Eats
I like to think of root beer as the gateway beverage into the big, bad world of booze. Even though it's a big leap from A&W to Fernet Branca, there's definitely a connection between what makes a good root beer and what makes a good alcoholic beverage. This homemade root beer liqueur has more in common with an aperitif than it does with a soda, because the sugar is dialed back and the root-and-bark goodness can shine through.
Until I was 13, I was convinced that root beer was alcoholic. I couldn't believe that my otherwise responsible dad would offer me sips of his root beer. Being a quite conservative child, I would always refuse.
After Sprecher Root Beer was recommended to me by a Wisconsin native, I was curious. It didn't place too highly in a Serious Eats taste test of regional root beers. Did the recommender's Wisconsin upbringing bias his taste for a hometown favorite? Maybe Sprecher is the Dan O'Brien of root beer, anxiously awaiting the next taste test to win gold. Needless to say, I was intrigued.
We get many packages delivered to SE world headquarters. But this was officially the first time that 100 pounds of root beer arrived. Have you ever signed for that much root beer? We hadn't either! It was fun. After trying all the national brands we could get our paws on, we ordered 22 small-batch brands from across America through Galco, the Los Angeles-based soda warehouse and store. Here's a rundown of our ten favorites.
Not everyone loves root beer. Some people really can't stand it. The medicinal, wintergreen, anise-y punch—it's exactly why others love it so much. Remember ordering it as a kid and thinking, how cool, they didn't even card me!...? Flavors can range anywhere from super sweet and cola-esque to herb-crazy, with notes of juniper, wintergreen, vanilla, bark, and licorice. We set out to find the best root beer in America, starting with 11 widely available national brands.
Combine sugar, yeast, root beer extract, and cold water in a large jug, shake the jug, let it sit for a few days at room temperature, and cool it in the refrigerator—ta da, homemade root beer! Basically. For more detailed instructions, check out this video from Howcast.